Food Waste vs Plastic Waste- which is worse?
After a recent meal, we had to make this decision🤯
We had a nice brunch this Monday.
But we overestimated the amount of food that we could eat.
And ended up with a lot of leftover food.
We asked the restaurant for takeout containers.
And they gave us small plastic boxes.
I am not even sure what kind of plastic are they.
And then the question popped up- food waste vs plastic waste?
Which is the lesser evil?
Should we just throw away the food?
This will prevent more plastic from being added to the ecosystem.
But would they compost the food or throw it with garbage?
In which case it would end up in a landfill.
Creating more pollution.
Or should we use this plastic to pack the food?
And put more plastic in the ecosystem.
We ultimately ended up packing the food in those boxes.
We washed the boxes at our home and put them to reuse.
We are not sure how long they will last.
And if our decision was the right one.
I am sure you also face these conflicting decisions.
What is your decision-making mechanism?
If the restaurant had a tie-up with one of these 3 startups, we would not have to worry about this.
1 kg of plastic for every 3 kg of fish…That’s the amount of plastic in our oceans right now. Plastic takes years to degrade and till then it sits in some part of nature, which in most cases is the oceans. Every year, 100,000 marine mammals are killed because of plastic. We aren’t even counting the sea birds and other creatures. And this plastic comes from packaging, furniture, building material, toys and many other sources.
Alternative 1…Spanish startup Feltwood wants to replace plastic in all of these industries and many more. It has developed a patented technology to manufacture biodegradable industrial materials using vegetable waste. Vegetable waste is agricultural waste or part of the veggies like lettuce or artichokes that we don’t consume. Feltwood converts this into resistant, useful and versatile materials for different sectors.
The vegetable waste is 100% biodegradable, recyclable, compostable and so are the products made out of it.
This puts the vegetable waste to good use and prevents it from polluting the environment.
They don’t use any plastic, adhesives or binders which might harm the planet.
Just like plastic… this can be moulded into different shapes and sizes. This allows it to be used in a wide range of products, from toys to furniture. It can be a great replacement for wood too and can be painted, cut or machined like it. Feltwood can manufacture the final product or they can offer the license of the technology to other manufacturers.
The wealthier the nation…the more waste it creates. People in wealthier nations believe that everything is disposable and the recycled goods would actually be recycled. Well, in reality, the ‘recyclable’ waste is filled up in containers and transported to some country in Asia or Africa- who don’t have the means to recycle them. Danish people are no different. In fact, Denmark is the highest producer of municipal waste per capita in the EU.
Alternative 2…According to recent research, more than half of Danes (55%) would prefer to buy a food product that contributes to less food waste and food loss. And kleen hub wants to provide them with the means to do that. It has created a return system of stainless steel containers to reduce plastic and plastic-coated packaging in the food sector.
kleen hub partner restaurants can lend reusable stainless steel boxes and coffee mugs to their customers.
This replaces the compostable or plastic food containers.
Customers can borrow the boxes for up to 10 days and incur no cost if they return them on time.
Some numbers…kleen hub has partnered with 40+ restaurants in Denmark and is planning to expand to Sweden next. They have estimated that in its lifetime, a kleenhub coffee cup can save up to 58.7 kg of CO2 by replacing the disposable single-use packaging.
Plastic is not bad… Yep! You read it right. It has revolutionized various industries, right from healthcare to aviation. If not for plastic, how would we have prevented ourselves from COVID? The gloves, the masks, the PPE kits, the nasal swabs, the face shields, everything is plastic. But we are paying a huge cost for it. All of these items eventually end up in oceans and landfills and will pollute the planet for years to come.
Alternative 3…Evo & Co. is a group of brands focused on ending plastic pollution. And it’s doing that through a couple of ways- creating awareness campaigns and offering sustainable alternatives to single-use plastic. They started in 2016 in Indonesia and their first product was an edible cup called Ello Jello, which was made from seaweed. You can eat the cup once you finish the drink. Fast forward 6 years, they have 3 brands running under them-
Evoware- manufactures biodegradable alternatives to single-use plastic products using seaweed.
Evoworld- helps manufacturers and distributors to offer plastic alternatives to consumers.
Rethink- a collaborative movement of individuals, communities and businesses to encourage people to modify their consumption habits.
Not just slogans…To raise awareness through their Rethink campaigns, the company provides a set of reusable products called the Rethink Kit, which consists of reusable cutlery, straws and bottle. By using 1 Rethink Kit, a person can reduce an estimated 362 plastic straws, 1277 plastic bottles, 107 plastic cutlery and 700 plastic bags.
🙋Trivia of the week
Hinkley is a small southern California community in the Mojave Desert. Since the 1950s, utility company Pacific Gas & Electric has operated a natural gas pumping station.
Until 1966, the company used a chemical called chromium 6 to prevent rust. The toxic chemical eventually seeped into Hinkley’s water supply.
In 1993, X -- a divorced, unemployed single mother -- became an activist for clean water after she spoke out against the said company.
She became instrumental in building a case against PG&E, alleging the company contaminated the town’s drinking water. In 1996, the case was settled for $333 million -- the largest ever paid in a direct-action lawsuit at the time.
Needless to say, a movie was based on this incident. Can you name it?
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