Spain's new "doggy bag" law
It's supposed to tackle food waste
Spain wastes 1.36 million tonnes of food and drinks each year.
This is equivalent to around 31 kg per person.
A new bill passed in the country makes it mandatory for restaurants and bars in the country to offer doggy bags free of charge to patrons to take home the food they have not eaten.
This might sound obvious but during my time in Europe from 2013-15, I faced this problem.
Restaurants would simply refuse to pack the food or offer containers to pack it ourselves.
It was frustrating to see so much food being thrown away.
Have you experienced this as well?
According to the law, restaurant owners can reportedly be fined 2,000 euros if they do not offer a doggy bag.
Businesses in the food industry will also have to chalk out plans to try to reduce the amount of food waste.
Stores and supermarkets will be asked to reduce the price of products as their date limit for recommended consumption approaches.
They also have to tie up with neighbourhood organizations and food banks for the donation of such products to help the needy.
If the food is past the best before date, the law recommends that foodstuffs be used as animal feed or in the industrial production of fertilizers and biofuel.
For this week, I’ve 3 startups that are upcycling food waste into useful products.
Did you know?… Spent grains are produced by breweries as a byproduct. To produce beer, grains like barley are soaked in hot water, which releases sugars from them- crucial for the production of alcohol. The spent grains from the process are sometimes repurposed as animal feed but they are mostly discarded. In the US, craft breweries dump about 2 million tons of spent grain into landfills each year.
That sounds so logical…Compared to restaurant waste which is a mix of discarded food, spent grains are a homogenous waste that makes them easy to recycle. The founders at Rise Products realized how nutritious the spent grains are (without the sugar, barley is fibre and protein) and decided to repurpose them into flour.
The spent beer grains are collected from breweries across New York.
The grains are dried, milled and sifted into a fine flour.
This flour is sold to bakers and chefs across the city. The chefs call it ‘super flour’.
Not an overnight success…Realizing the amount of waste created in the food industry, a lot of chefs are eager to work with Rise Products. But it wasn’t always the case. In the beginning, when the founders took the dried grains to bakers, they were met with shrugs. Then one day, a baker suggested they convert it into flour and that’s how super flour was born.
Aesthetics matter… we tend to buy fruits & vegetables that look beautiful. Supermarkets have picked up this trend and they discard huge quantities of products that don’t meet the appearance standards. This produce eventually ends up in a landfill. And all this is happening in a world where 1 in 9 people struggle to meet the daily recommended intake of fruits and vegetables.
OK, let’s make it beautiful for you…Canadian brand Outcast Foods is solving this problem by upcycling the ‘ugly’ produce. They collect it from the farmers, food processors and grocers across the country and convert it into nutrient-rich powdered form. Nutrients start to dissipate as soon as a fruit or vegetable is harvested and Outcast Foods chills them on the spot to prevent that.
Produce that is discarded because of cosmetic issues is collected by Outcast Foods.
It then arrives at a processing facility, where it is washed with vinegar, dehydrated and pulverized.
This powder is upcycled to make plant-based, gluten-free protein powders, vitamins and super greens.
The list is endless…They use a patent-pending process to dry fruits and vegetables, which gives them an extra three years of shelf life. Apart from making gluten-free protein shake powders, superfood green powders and vitamins, the powder is also used as an ingredient in the cosmetic, agriculture and pet food sector.
Different kinds of food waste…fruit peels, the pulp left after squeezing the juice, and nutshells. While it’s true that these items can be decomposed, they take time to do so. It usually takes between 3 weeks to 2 months for an apple core, 2-6 months for a banana peel, and up to 2 years for orange peels to decompose. Pistachio shells can even take more than 3 years to biodegrade in the outdoors.
But apparently, we can upcycle them…Green design startup Ottan Studio produces upcycled decor from this waste. With the rise in the furniture and construction sector, more and more forests are lost and Ottan Studio wants to fight that in a unique way. It collects fruit peels, leaves, and cut grass and creates colourful and trendy furniture, decorative items and wall panelling with them.
The waste is collected from local retailer companies, food producers and greenhouses.
It is then cleaned and dried and the materials are ground together.
These materials are then added to green resins and injected into moulds to create a variety of products.
It all started when…founder ayse yılmaz was sitting under a tree in a park when she got inspired to upcycle the falling autumn leaves. They do not use any artificial colours in their products and the natural colour of the waste material is reflected in the products, making every product unique.
🙋Trivia of the week
In 1969 a major oil spill off the coast of Santa Barbara covered miles of beaches with tar. This is regarded as one of the many urgent national issues that gave rise to a tradition that is followed to date.
The tradition was spearheaded by Senator Gaylord Nelson, one of the leaders of the modern environmental movement and inspired by the anti-Vietnam War “teach-ins” that were then taking place on college campuses around the United States.
According to Nelson, he envisioned a large-scale, grassroots environmental demonstration “to shake up the political establishment and force this issue onto the national agenda.”
What tradition are we talking about?
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Have a good weekend and see you next week👋