Have you ever pondered how much waste is generated when we do our grocery shopping? From the large plastic bags at the checkout counter (which you’ve likely replaced with a reusable alternative) to the plastic produce bags, plastic containers for bulk items, and plastic packaging for all of the processed and portion snacks we love.
Not only are we perpetuating the plastic waste, but we typically only have a choice to buy food in bulk. For example, say you want to make a recipe for savory chicken with thyme. Your choice is to buy a plastic container of thyme or a VERY large bunch of it – enough to make the chicken recipe for a banquet party (which goes bad before you can come up with enough recipes to use it up!).
Not only does 23% of food waste end up in our landfills, but a high percentage end up in our oceans threatening marine life. Consumer’s packaging may be used only once, but it truly lives for ever, polluting our environment.
We need more choices when grocery shopping so we can make a difference in our destiny.
The zero waste grocery store trend is only just starting in the U.S.; so far there is only one completely waste free store in the U.S., In.Gredients in Austin, Texas.
East Berlin introduced the no package store when Original Unverpackt opened.
It may take a cultural change for some to get over their germaphobia, but in the long run, it will greatly impact our future for the better. Together, we can turn this tide against food waste.
Would you shop at a supermarket without packaging?
Snact is just starting to ramp up their new business using food that would otherwise be thrown away, such as apples that are deemed too small for supermarkets as well as other fruits that would otherwise be thrown away. A bit of pulping and a lot of drying later, they turn into snacts.
GrowUP Urban Farms uses aquaponics to produce sustainable plant and fish growth to supply city businesses with nutritious food. They lower the environmental impact of agriculture by building and operating farms that take unused urban space and use it to grow produce. Through the use of aquaponic technology and protected cropping, they can produce a year-round harvest of fresh, leafy vegetables and fish.
Sounds like 2 very responsible businesses that are lead by young entrepreneurs who decided to take action and make a sustainable difference in the world.
‘Waste’ is actually a resource
Talking about human waste is not the best of topics, but it is incredibly important. Around 2 billion people still use latrines that are not drained sanitarily, or simply do their business out in the open. This waste ends up contaminating water and making millions of people sick. It is estimated that diseases from poor sanitation is responsible for the death of around 700,00 children every year, and many more are permanently affected by these diseases.
Enter the Janicki Omniprocessor:
This machine can take human waste, which is a feedstock that you can actually get paid to take off someone else’s hands, and transforms it into desirable things: Pure, drinking water, excess electricity (the machine powers itself and can send excess power to the grid), and sterilized ash.
Now for the best part, see Bill Gates take a swig of this ‘sanitized’ water:
Would you be brave enough to drink this water knowing what it’s source was?
Last year University of Engineering and Technology (UTEC) in Peru created a billboard that filters 100,000 cubic meters of air every day, benefiting residents and workers in a 5-block radius. The University has installed its first air-purifying billboard near a construction zone in Lima, a city that’s famous for having the worst air quality in all of South America.
Take a look at what they did:
The purifying process is continuous, uses 100 percent recyclable water and consumes little energy, the team says – roughly 2.5 kW (2,500 watts) per hour.
UTEC continues to change the world using technology with billboards – most recently – to produce clean water.
What great ideas do you have that can make a big impact on the quality of our resources?
- First façade system in the world to cultivate micro-algae to generate heat and biomass as renewable energy sources.
- Structural glass photobioreactors used as external cladding elements and dynamic shading devices.
- Fully integrated in the house´s building services system to harvest, distribute, store and use the solar thermal heat on site.
Since commissioning the innovative SolarLeaf façade in April 2013, it has been monitored for its technical and energy performance as well as for its acceptance with users. The intermediate results are promising: the system is generating a net energy gain. Additional research programs are investigating the viability of a full integration of the system on a larger district scale, as well as the creation of a way that the high-value biomass may be converted into pharmaceutical and food-supplement products.