Every day all over the world, households, businesses and manufacturers throw away material as ‘waste’, often with little thought as to what happens next! Taking food waste as an example, one third of all food that is produced goes to waste and in the UK this is associated with around 25 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions.
What if we could design waste out of the process? Turn coffee grounds into fuel, leftover bread into beer? There are some amazing innovations being created to take materials that would otherwise have gone to waste, and use them to make something great! Here at Beagle we’ve sniffed out some great innovations that do just that!
One thing is for sure across the planet, we love coffee. Worldwide we drink over 2 billion cups a day, and 95 million of this is in the UK! If you start to think about the amount of coffee grounds that are used as a result, it’s pretty scary! After all the effort that goes into producing coffee, it seems crazy that we use the grounds for just a matter of moments, and then throw them away!
This is where Bio-bean comes in. They work with companies all over the UK to explore innovative ways of extending the usefulness of what was previously a waste material. This includes logs and pellets made from coffee grounds that can be used as a sustainable fuel source, burning 20% hotter and longer than kiln-dried wood, and contributing 80% less greenhouse gases than if the grounds ended up in landfill to decompose.
Speaking of coffee, the possibilities do not end there! Berlin-born brand Kaffeeform collects coffee grounds by bicycle from cafes and roasteries across Berlin, and uses them to create their coffee cups and keep cups. There are multiple sizes to choose from and they are great to drink from - we love their keep cup! Kaffeeform is also a great example of an entirely local supply chain that sources raw materials and manufactures its product all within Germany, keeping the environmental impact as low as possible.
MacRebur CEO Toby McCartney was working with a charity in Southern India supporting pickers on landfill sites when the idea for his innovative use of plastic came about. Toby saw some workers putting plastic waste into a pothole, covering it in diesel and setting it alight to create a plug for the pothole. Thinking that there must be a better way, the idea for MacRebur was born!
Taking plastic waste that would have otherwise gone to landfill or been incinerated and using it to build roads, not only does the plastic avoid landfill, the roads are also stronger and longer-lasting. MacRebur’s alternative asphalt mix reduces the use of fossil fuels in our roads, and each tonne contains the equivalent of 80,000 plastic bottles!
We all love a bit of new stationary, but in a world that’s turning more and more digital, it can sometimes be hard to feel justified in buying yet another new notebook. With many of us still loving the traditional ways, Remarkable have you sorted!
Ahead of the curve in many ways, they have been innovating on ways to use rubbish for over two decades. Their range of notebooks, pens and pencils fully embraces the closed-loop design process, using a whole range of things that end up in the bin such as coffee cups, plastic bottles and waste paper. We love that they are an eco brand that have been doing what they do best for nearly 25 years, and that has never been more important than now!
Ending with a favourite of ours, if you haven’t tried Toast Ale yet, where have you been!? Bread struggles from the same ugly fate as many foods with its short shelf life, resulting in a third of it ending up unnecessarily being wasted. That’s where Toast comes in! They take bread that would otherwise have gone to waste, and use it to make delicious, golden brews!
Not only this, Toast is a Social Enterprise with all of their profits going to charities helping to fight the problem of food waste. One of the things we love about them is that since the beginning, they have openly shared their recipe and encouraged people to brew their beer at home. They do this because they recognise that the important thing isn’t selling more beer, but encouraging people to use food waste for something good! If this sounds like your thing, then keep an eye out on our social media channels as we will be giving away some of their beer in the coming weeks!
We live on a planet with finite resources, and so often these resources aren’t used to their full potential. By keeping these resources in circulation and giving them a new life, we can find great new uses for them and stop waste causing harm to our environment. That’s what we call a win win!
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