OzHarvest is a food rescue business in Australia that takes food which would have been discarded and instead reuses them as meals, of which they have served over 60 million (comprising over 200,000 tons of recycled food). They rescue food from quite a large number of areas including, “…fruit and vegetable markets, supermarkets, hotels, wholesalers, farmers, stadiums, corporate events, catering companies, shopping centers, delis, cafes, restaurants, film and TV shoots and boardrooms.”
The sheer scale of plastic we throw away in this time is increasingly becoming ridiculous. But it wouldn’t be so bad if it would go away. Apple cores or lemon peels will disappear soon however a plastic cup or plate can stick around for far longer than we’d prefer. Biotrem has an easy solution to a complex problem. Plastic is such an essential product in our daily lives, whether you realize it or not. But it would be better if it degraded just like our food. Biotrem designs plates, bowls and cutlery for our everyday meals but also for picnics or parties where disposable items are more preferable. The items are made from wheat bran and just 1 ton will create about 10,000 items which degrade in just 30 days.
Salt & Straw
Imagine you’re walking through a grocery store and you find the produce section. You find the peaches and decide to buy a few. As you’re checking through the different peaches, inspecting them for any faults you find a few that are a bit too squishy or brown. Normally most people wouldn’t look twice at them and a store is no different. When they have leftover fruit and vegetables no one wants, they get thrown away. All of this waste is ridiculous considering all the time and effort that went into farming and transporting the plants. It’s even worse when you think about how we could use them to feed hungry people or animals but instead they sit in a landfill. Among the more creative options for solving this issue is to eat them. Doesn’t sound creative, does it? What if you put it in ice cream? Salt & Straw, a West Coast based ice cream store chain, is running a promotion incorporating spare fruits and vegetables into their ice cream. If you live on the coast visit them fast!
I like to walk through the woods as much as a nut addicted squirrel. It’s always splendid to stroll amongst the trees and view the foliage. However I usually don’t plant seeds while I do it. FytoStick is a walking stick that contains seeds which, when pressed into the ground, will automatically plant a seed. Their goals are to reduce our carbon footprint while aiding bees. It’s this goal that led them to picking seeds for trees or flowers. They will eventually release an app called MyFyto so that you can track all of this development. They specifically warn against planting on walking paths since no one wants to walk around giant trees and through flower beds. Please do your planting on the sides.
Let’s stay in the forest for a little longer. Say you run into a mysterious plant with purple spots, oddly shaped leaves or an extra mouth. You’d like to know what it’s called so you can understand it a little better but how many of us are horticulturists? There is an app currently in the works to change this. PlantSnap allows you to take pictures of plants and then send them for identification. They’re ratings at the current moment could use a bit of work but they do seem quite responsive to fixing issues. Hopefully in the future there will be a large database with millions of pictures capable of recognizing plants right away but in the meantime keep snapping those plants!
Now let’s move to how we waste nature. ChopValue is another recycling company with a simple goal: re-use all those chopsticks you’re throwing away. With a focus on Vancouver they have highlighted their usage of chopsticks but specifically their disposal. They state that 100,000 are thrown away each day and will not degrade for a long time. A major difference with ChopValue is the way they’re being recycled. Normally they might be turned into a smaller wood chip or powder to be processed into something else but ChopValue decided to use them directly. They create tabletops, cutting boards, wall tiles, flooring, coasters, engravings and even yoga blocks! For the smaller items it’ll cost from $15 up to $60 but the larger ones such as a table or wall tiles will go into hundreds of dollars.
Land Life Company
Credit: Land Life Company
Another standout in the green field I found was the Land Life Company. They plant trees just like any conservation project or attempt to create a green area. They don’t plant trees in friendly climates. They target crippled ecosystems and arid landscapes to revitalize them with plants which will also benefit the local communities. They do this using COCOON, a paper pulp & plant matter basket deigned to get a seed through to its mature phase where it can sustain itself. It does this by containing enough water to feed the seed and degrading over time while serving as an organic food source. Mycorrhizal fungi are also added to the soil around the future tree because it will form a symbiotic relationship with the plant allowing it to absorb moisture and nutrients more easily. The point of the overall project is to create self-sustaining ecosystems that don’t require expensive irrigation or fertilization. They take care of themselves. Thanks for viewing the first entry in the series!
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