World Renowned Chef Opens 5 Star Restaurant To Feed The Homeless & Fight Food Waste

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Finally, thanks to the internet we are becoming aware of just how much food is being wasted on a regular basis. Supermarkets are throwing out astronomical amounts of unsold food that is actually perfectly fine to eat. When the amount of homeless people who don’t always have access to food, and the many families that are struggling every day to put food on the table to feed their children, is this really the option that we have come up with? To simply throw the food in the garbage because it cannot turn a profit?

In the U.S. alone, $165 Billion is wasted on food every. Single. Year. When the UN estimates that solving the world’s hunger problem would cost a measly $30 billion in comparison, we can clearly see that something is very wrong here. The unsold food from the supermarkets might not be the answer to solving world hunger, but it certainly paints a picture of where our priorities are, and at least shows us that this has to change. Two men were arrested in the United States in 2016 for taking this food and trying to feed the hungry.

Thankfully, as awareness towards this issue continues to be raised we are seeing a number of groups organizations and even countries doing something about it. France has made it illegal for supermarkets to throw away unsold food, forcing them to find other, more beneficial options for their perfectly fine food. Others are taking that food that would otherwise be garbage and feeding the hungry.

World renowned chef, Mossimo Bottura, for example has opened up a 5 star restaurant called Refettorio Ambrosiano in Milan, Italy in 2015 that accepts donations of unsold food from supermarkets and utilizes volunteer work from professional chefs who want to donate their time to help feed the poor and hungry. Why should the homeless people only be fed soup when there is so much more food available that would otherwise be thrown out? These chefs prepare gourmet meals and the guests are served rather than having to wait in line. Bottura says this is as much about treating those less fortunate with dignity as it is about feeding them. Check it out!

Refettorio Ambrosiano has served more than 16,000 meals, and saved 25 tons of food surplus from the landfills. As Bottura says, this is a revolutionary idea! Hopefully other chefs and restaurateurs will be inspired to follow suit and encourage their local supermarkets to donate to initiatives such as these.

Check out Bottura’s book of recipes Il Pane E Oro, here, and donate to this cause to end food waste and feed the hungry.

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Huge food company to eliminate food waste, halve plastic use

Obviously, cutting food waste is both a moral and environmental imperative. Still, when I read Paul Hawken’s Drawdown, I was surprised to see reducing food waste listed as the #3 solution to climate change, right after greener refrigerants and scaled up wind energy. Yet it continues to get considerably less attention than renewable energy or fancy electric trucks.

Things, however, might be changing. And just like the recent flurry of corporate commitments on single use plastics, we’re beginning to see similar efforts to cut back on wasted food too. The latest comes from Cranswick, one of the largest food companies in the UK and a specialist in fresh, frozen and deli meats as well as pastry products. According to Business Green, the company is promising to become a “zero food waste” company by 2030 at the latest.

But that’s not all, as part of a plan that Cranswick is calling “Second Nature”, the company is also promising to purchase 100% renewable energy starting next month, to halve its plastic use by 2025, and to also achieve 100% recyclable packaging by the same date. This is good stuff, and builds on energy efficiency efforts which have already seen a 20% reduction in energy consumption per tonne of product manufactured since 2008.

Specifically, it’s worth noting, a plan like this will have an out-sized impact because much of Cranswick’s products are meat- or animal-products based. And as Derek previously noted, meat waste is the worst waste because its production is so much more energy and resource intensive in the first place.

Now, I wonder if Cranswick is also down with efforts to promote more plant-centered diets too. They wouldn’t be the first meat-centric company to start looking at that possibility.

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How to waste energy, New York Style

New York City is such a paragon of green goodness; as I write this, the Mayor is preparing to sue big oil companies for their role in climate change. But nobody seems to be really serious about green building. The latest demonstration of how one can design to waste energy is Thomas Heatherwick’s latest condo design that mucks up either side of the High Line in Chelsea. According to Dezeen,

Newly released renderings show windows made of glass panels that slant at the top, bottom and sides to create the curved shaped that appears to bulge between the masonry walls – resembling insect eyes.

The problem with those insect eyes is summed up in a tweet that I cannot improve on. I thought Herzog and De Meuron’s tower at 56 Leonard, with all its jogs and floor to ceiling glass, was “almost an intellectual exercise in how much extra surface area can you design into a building.” But this is worse, an exercise in figuring out how to do build a window that does everything possible to maximize heat loss and air leakage.

The view down the high line515 West 18th Street/ Related Companies/via

Every time you break a window up into smaller panes, there are spacer bars that separate the double glazing but that act as thermal bridges. The mullions are thermal bridges. Every pane is sealed with a gasket that is a possible source of leaking. Bulging it out on an angle complicates the joint and becomes a possible leak. It is just every single thing you shouldn’t do in a window, in a design that is repeated endlessly. And wow, does it screw up the high line, a bunch of insect eyes staring at you as you walk.

Rendering 515 west© 515 West 18th Street/ Related Companies

Now it should be noted that Heatherwick is not an architect, so we should always spread the blame around; in this case, the architect of record, according to the permit application, is SLCE Architects, which “believes in providing sophisticated design which adheres to the client’s program, remains sensitive to the site’s context and ultimately results in a successful building with regard to functionality, time constraints and budget.” They do not mention anything about sustainability or environment.

But if the Mayor was serious about climate change and sustainability, he might consider a few changes in the building regulations to prevent this kind of thing.

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Waste Management to give some employees $2,000 in bonuses following tax bill passage

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A worker empties garbage from a Waste Management trash bin in Seattle.

Waste Management said Wednesday that it will give $2,000 in special bonuses to about 34,000 employees.

The company said the cash bonuses will be given to its North American employees who are not on a bonus or sales incentive plan, including hourly and other employees.

The news comes after other companies have made similar announcements, citing the passage of tax legislation that slashes the corporate tax rate to 21 percent from 35 percent.

CEO Jim Fish said in a statement the company wanted to pass on the tax benefit to its employees.


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Britain is frantic now that China won’t take plastic waste

For 20 years, China has essentially been the UK’s plastic dump. Now that door is closed and nobody knows what to do.

China doesn’t want the world’s garbage anymore. For the past twenty years, it has imported enormous quantities of waste plastic from countries including the United States, the United Kingdom, and Japan. But last year, it announced it would no longer do so. The ban on imported plastics went into effect on January 1, 2018. The Guardian reported:

“Last summer the Chinese government announced it intended to stop the importation of 24 kinds of solid waste by the end of the year, including polyethylene terephthalate (PET) drinks bottles, other plastic bottles and containers, and all mixed paper, in a campaign against yang laji or ‘foreign garbage’.”

This change has come as a huge blow to the UK, in particular, which used to ship two-thirds of its waste plastic to China. Since 2012 the UK has sent more than 2.7 million tonnes of plastic to China.

Recoup, a UK-based charity working to promote recycling levels in the UK, blames the government for not taking action when it should have. An article in the Guardian says there were indications in 2008 and 2012 that the Chinese market may eventually be restricted, but the UK never did anything about it. Indeed, it’s acting as if it were blindsided by the announcement. Environment minister Michael Gove admits he doesn’t “know what impact it will have” and hasn’t “given it sufficient thought.”

Now, the ban has taken effect and city councils are scrambling to figure out what to do. Already the trash is piling up. Simon Ellin of the UK Recycling Association told the Guardian:

“You can already see the impact if you walk round some of our members’ yards. Plastic is building up and if you were to go around those yards in a couple of months’ time the situation would be even worse.”

Apparently some recyclers stopped shipping their plastic to China in the early fall, for fear it wouldn’t arrive before the deadline.

Officials are talking about needing to build more incinerators, but these are not a sustainable solution. Louise Edge of Greenpeace told BBC:

“Incineration is the wrong answer – it’s a high-carbon non-renewable form of generating electricity. It also creates toxic chemicals and heavy metals. If you build incinerators it creates a market for the next 20 years for single-use plastics, which is the very thing we need to be reducing right now.”

Nor are landfills logical. Plastic waste piles up, does not shrink, occupies valuable space, and leaches toxic chemicals.

The UK government is right to feel frantic at this moment, but this enormous change could also be viewed as a great opportunity to turn things around, to take a drastically new approach to dealing with recyclables. Some ideas:

— The UK could insist on a much more lucrative bottle return system, where customers are rewarded generously for returning containers for reuse and companies are rewarded for using reusables.

— It could introduce a sliding scale tax on plastic packaging based on how easy or difficult an item is to recycle. (This is a suggestion from the Commons Environmental Audit Committee.)

— It should encourage shopping with reusable containers by opening zero-waste bulk food stores across in every city, much like Bulk Market is doing in London right now.

— It could be the daring first nation to ban all single-use plastics outright. Imagine that!

Rather than panicking and chasing short-term solutions, Britain should think deeply about what kind of circular economy, unsullied environment, and clean cities it wants to be known for. At the very least, Michael Gove has one thing straight; he told BBC that the UK must “stop off-shoring its dirt.” The China solution was convenient while it lasted, but now it’s time to face the consequences of our convenience addiction.

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Food Waste Tool matches leftovers to recipes

Between calls for plastic-free aisles and the very real prospect of a tax on single use plastics, the UK seems to have gotten a bee in its bonnet recently about ocean plastic pollution.

Now it seems that food waste is getting similar attention too. And that’s a very good thing. According to Project Drawdown, reducing food waste ranks third in terms of potential among all possible ways to cut climate emissions.

From toast ale (made from old bread) to a massive food waste feast in Trafalgar Square, this concern has taken many forms in the UK so far. The latest move comes from supermarket giant Tesco, which has released a neat little online Food Waste Tool for the holidays. Simply type in the ingredients you’ve got left over, and the tool will match those ingredients with recipes for you to try out.

Of course, supermarkets encouraging consumers to take responsibility for their waste is always in danger of being greenwash. Given the massive amount of food that’s trashed before it ever reaches a shopper, efforts like these must be combined with an aggressive push to cut waste at every level of the supply chain. But from selling more ugly produce to (if we must) using food waste to generate electricity, there are many things that supermarkets can—and are beginning to—do on this front too.

So a Food Waste Tool is a welcome addition to the arsenal. It just can’t end there. Now go check what’s in your fridge, get creative, and chow down. And feel free to share your leftover recipes in the comments below.

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Alternative fuel for home heating reduces emissions and recycles waste: Researchers say wood pellet fuel is a win-win that outperforms traditional fuels

Image: Alternative fuel for home heating reduces emissions and recycles waste: Researchers say wood pellet fuel is a win-win that outperforms traditional fuels

(Natural News)
Wood pellets not only look cool, but they’re also doing great things for the environment. According to a study conducted by the University of New Hampshire, utilizing wood pellets as your primary source of home fuel cuts greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by more than half, compared with fossil fuels and natural gas.

“Wood pellet heat is a new and growing heating alternative in the U.S. and has been proposed as a climate-beneficial energy source to replace fossil fuels. However, little work has been done to assess this claim,” the researchers said.

“The opportunity for switching to wood pellet heat is particularly great for the Northern Forest region of northern Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and New York, which is home to more than two million people who live in rural communities, larger towns, and small cities surrounded by the largest intact forest in the eastern United States.”

Here are other notable results from the study published in the journal Energy:

  • Pellets from sawmill residues were shown to have the highest GHG emission benefits over fossil fuel and propane.
  • Pellets made up of 75 percent pulpwood, and 25 percent sawmill residue created benefits.
  • Shifting existing harvest of pulpwood volume to pellets helps the climate.
  • Market situations that either expand or diminish harvest levels have a significant effect on the outcome.

According to the Department of Energy, at least 48 percent of the energy used at home is expended for heating and cooling. An average home in the U.S. will use 42 percent of its energy for space heating, as opposed to six percent for air conditioning. Heating water also uses a significant amount of energy at 18 percent. For heating, specifically, natural gas and heating oil (fuel oil) are used; in rural areas, propane is also used.

These sources are part of a group called “fossil fuels” – non-renewable resources that come from prehistoric plant and animal matter. The Energy Information Administration reports that fossil fuels have been the main energy source in the country for over a century. Currently, the majority of homes in the country, including newer homes, use fossil fuels as their main source of energy. This widespread use of fossil fuels makes it the primary source of GHG emissions as well, with 75 percent of total emissions.

Wood pellets are good alternatives to fossil fuels and can result in reduced overall emissions – a study estimates this to lower emissions by 93 percent compared to coal. Additionally, these materials use wood waste – excess materials from other wood products like bark, sawdust, wood scrap and paper mills. This reduces emissions further and recycles the material as they do not go to landfills but are reused as fuel. (Related: The Best Alternative Heating Methods for Your Home.)

A study made by the University of Florida indicates that wood can be a viable alternative energy source. Aside from being inexpensive, wood fuel carry fewer environmental risks than fossil fuel. A separate study noted that wood pellets and its derivatives are carbon-neutral, which means that these pose no significant increase in the atmosphere, as long as another tree is planted in place of those that were used in the production of the fuel.

Save energy at home, even if you’re home

Here are some tips from the Department of Energy to help you reduce your energy consumption and help you save on expenses:

  • Soak up some sun – Open your windows during the day to let sunlight seep in and naturally heat your house. Close them at night to trap the heat, and keep out the chill of the night sky.
  • Cover up (your windows) – If you have drafty windows, weatherize them by covering them up with drapes or by sealing the frames.
  • Set your temperature right – Make sure you properly adjust your thermostat whenever you’re home or away. This will save you at least 10 percent of expenses for heating and cooling.
  • Have your house checked – Regularly have your heating system inspected to see if they function or need repair. Additionally, you can have your home inspected for air leaks so you can save up on heating costs.

Learn how wood pellets can help you save up on gas bills on

Sources include: 1 2 1 2 1 2



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This Innovative, Eco-Friendly Cup Is Made Entirely From Coffee Waste

By  Amanda Froelich Truth Theory

Goodbye, environmentally hazardous paper cups. Hello, HuskeeCups! Because the ceramic alternatives are made entirely from discarded coffee husks, they are recyclable, reusable and chip-resistant. This means we can all have our coffee and enjoy it, too.

Coffee husks are a byproduct of the milling stage of coffee production. Because it has little to no economic value, the husk is usually discarded. However, this is incredibly wasteful. HuskeeTech estimates that for every coffee lover, 6.6 pounds of husk is wasted every year. To reverse this, the Australian company developed the HuskeeCup.

If java lovers were to use the HuskeeCup, more than 1.35 million tons of husk would be prevented from going to waste each year. The concept is so refreshing, it makes sense why the product’s Kickstarter campaign raised over $110,000 in funds for the initial manufacturing of the cups.

Saxon Wright, a co-founder of the company, is well-aware what it takes to produce coffee. As part owner of Pablo & Rusty’s Coffee Roasters, a coffee supplier based in New South Wales, the coffee entrepreneur wants to do his part to reduce husk waste. “With mountains of beautiful organic material piling up around us and no sustainable way to deal with it, we asked ourselves the question, ‘What can we do with this?’” he wrote on Kickstarter.

After months of hard work, which included consulting with industrial designers and engineers, the vision to turn coffee husks into dynamic cups paid off. The HuskeeCup has several desirable features. To begin with, it retains heat. The product is also available in several sizes and designs. Coffee lovers can order the elegant pleated design, for instance, or the one-size-fits-all saucer for eating-in… The options abound! Another great feature is that the HuskeeCups are dishwasher-safe.

“By using coffee husk in the creation of HuskeeCup, we are recycling hundreds of tons of waste material from the production of coffee,” Wright said. “Our dream is to realize sustainability for cafés and home users while achieving zero waste at the farm. HuskeeCup is the first step in fulfilling this mission.”

Despite these great features, the concept for the HuskeeCup is not yet finished. Inhabitat reports that the company has plans to eventually use carbon-capturing microbes to produce the bio-polymer that binds the husk material. We look forward to that unveiling.

What are your thoughts? Please comment below and share this news!

Read more: Eco Friendly Beer Company Bid To Give Back To The Ocean With Biodegradable Ring Pull

Image Credit: Kickstarter, huskeeCup

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Don’t worry about perfection when it comes to zero waste

Zero waste expert Lindsay Miles tells people to start wherever they can, that actions are like ripples in the fight against plastic packaging.

Last December, a woman named Lindsay Miles gave a TedX talk in Perth, Australia. Miles is the founder of a blog called ‘Treading My Own Path: Steps Toward a Sustainable Lifestyle,’ and she spoke about her transition to zero waste living.

What I liked about Miles’ talk is how she starts out describing the way she used to live — and it sounds remarkably how many other green-minded people live. She shopped occasionally at the farmers’ market, took reusable bags to the grocery store, bought ‘green’ products for her home, was a devoted recycler. She describes her mindset at that time in the present tense:

“I marvel at how ridiculously over-packaged everything is in the supermarket, as I pile those same over-packaged things into my trolley. I wonder, Why doesn’t somebody do something about that? But of course, I recycle. I recycle everything. My recycling bin is always full. I feel a little bit guilty about all that waste, but my guilt just seems to melt away as soon as my recycling bin is collected.”

Then Miles came across the Plastic-Free July challenge, which we’ve covered here on TreeHugger. It is a month-long challenge to avoid all single-use plastics. For Miles, this was a revelation. Never before had she realized how much plastic there was in her home, particularly the kitchen and bathroom.

After using up the items in her home, Miles began replacing them with alternatives packaged in glass and metal. These materials are much heavier than plastic, making the quantity of superfluous packaging more noticeable than ever.

Eventually, this led to her embarking on a zero-waste journey — an ongoing quest to do away with “single-use everything” and packaging altogether. She now chooses items that are built to last, that can be reused and repaired. She has no trash bin in her home and generates minimal recycling. She points out in the talk that there’s a reason why “recycle” comes at the end of the “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” rhyme that every child is taught:

“I’d always thought responsibility ends with recycling, but it’s a terrible place to stop.”

Zero waste living has improved Miles’ life. She eats more real food, supports local independent businesses, has learned new skills and found ways to embrace creativity. She has connected with a community of likeminded people. Most importantly, she has realized that we can all do something about this problem. We don’t have to wait around for “somebody to do something about it” because we all are somebody.

She encourages people not to get too hung up on perfection, but to do what they can. Realize that actions are ripples that change an important story. For too long we’ve believed companies telling us that “convenience” has to be disposable, but that’s not true.

Every time we shop, we can decide to perpetuate the problem or to be a part of the solution. Miles’ talk is inspiring, showing that ordinary individuals can really make a difference.

Visit Treading My Own Path for further ideas on how to go about reducing household waste. Watch the TEDx talk:

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