Food & Drink

Five Food Waste Heroes Helping to Save The Planet

food waste heroes

Check out the five food waste heroes helping to save the planet, with their clever ways of making produce from food that would otherwise be binned.

Food waste is a huge issue. Food production is one of the biggest contributors to climate change. In fact, about one-third of greenhouse emissions globally come from agriculture.

Despite this, both at the household level and at the manufacturing level, we are very wasteful when it comes to food. 30% of the food we produce is wasted – about 1.8 billion tonnes of it a year. So much so, that it has been estimated that if food waste was a country, it would be the third-highest emitter of greenhouse gases after the US and China.

What Can We Do to Fight Food Waste?

There are lots of food waste tips you can follow at home to reduce your food waste. However, the buck shouldn’t just stop with householders.

What about manufacturers? They have a huge part to play in reducing food waste. The good news is that there is a host of companies out there, making not just one product, but their entire range from surplus food, or food waste.

The Companies Fighting Food Waste

UK companies are leading the way in reducing food waste. From chutneys and preserves from imperfect produce; to gin made from wine industry leftovers. From beer made from surplus bread; to beauty products from cafe waste. There’s an innovative solution to many of our food waste problems.

Here are five such companies leading the way in the fight against food waste. This post uses affiliate links which are denoted by an *.

Rubies In The Rubble

rubies in the rubble chutneys and ketchups

Rubies In The Rubble make ketchup, vegan mayonnaise, chutneys, and preserves out of fruit and vegetables that would otherwise go to waste. This produce goes to waste not because they taste any different, but often because they’re the wrong shape, size, or colour for supermarkets. In some cases, it’s because the produce doesn’t look a certain way. Whilst in other cases, the produce is too ripe and doesn’t meet the supermarket’s strict shelf life criteria. Other times there may have been an overabundance of a crop. In short, there are many reasons why producers may discard fruit and vegetables, so thank goodness for Rubies in the Rubble!

Find their products – all priced £3.50 – direct via their website or via Ethical Superstore*, and in some Sainsbury’s stores.

UpCircle Beauty

upcircle beauty products made from waste materials

UpCircle Beauty started with the idea of giving used coffee grounds from cafes a new lease of life. As such, they decided to create deliciously scented face and body scrubs made from used coffee. UpCircle Beauty has now reused more than 250 tonnes of used coffee grounds in their sustainable skincare products.

They have since expanded their range, and their soaps give brewed chai tea spices a new beginning. Meanwhile, other new products, such as moisturisers and serums, are made with discarded fruit stones.

You can buy their skincare products online from Beauty Bay*.

Foxhole Spirits

foxhole spirits hyke gin made from food waste

Foxhole Spirits make delicious gins and rums made from by-products from the wine industry.

Working with the Bolney Wine Estate in West Sussex, their Foxhole Gin is made from leftovers from the English winemaking industry. These include the leftover pressing juices as well as the grapes.

Their Hyke Gin is made from internationally sourced grapes that are deemed as “not suitable for fresh consumption”. Working in collaboration with one of the UK’s biggest fruit importers, Foxhole is managing to use 1.4 million punnets of surplus grapes per year, which otherwise would have gone to waste.

Buy their spirits directly from their website or in selected branches of Tesco, Waitrose, and M&S.

Toast Ale

toast ale beer made from bread

Toast Ale brew beer made using surplus fresh bread sourced from bakeries and sandwich makers that would otherwise go to waste. Using surplus bread reduces the need for virgin grain. This in turn reduces the demand for land, water, and energy, which helps reduce carbon emissions too.

What’s more, all profits go to the environmental charity Feedback to help end food waste and fund systemic change to fix the food system.

Their range of beers – from craft lager, to pale ale, American pale ale and session IPA – can be purchased direct from Toast (with 10% your first order if you subscribe to their newsletter) with free delivery. You can also pick bottles up in selected branches of Waitrose and the Co-Op.

Urban Cordial

urban cordial circular economy

Urban Cordial uses surplus fruits sourced from British farms to make their range of low sugar grown-up cordials. Each flavour is made in small batches to create cordials bursting with taste.

The fruits used are deemed not suitable for sale in supermarkets. Perhaps they’re too small, too big, or too lumpy, have imperfections, or just not the right shape. In fact, Urban Cordial has helped to save over 30 tonnes of fruit from landfill.

At the moment, their seasonal ranges include Strawberry and Sage, Pear and Ginger, Elderflower, and Blackberry and Lavender. All of these can be purchased directly from the Urban Cordial website.

Thank goodness for our food waste heroes!

Fashion, Life & Style

Renting Your Clothes Could Be the Future of Ethical Fashion | AD

renting clothing for the environment
renting clothing future of ethical fashion

This post on renting your clothes is paid-for content in association with The Devout.

Fast fashion is getting faster. And its impact on the planet is rising. According to the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) – the UK government’s waste advisory body – clothing has the 4th largest environmental impact after housing, transport, and food.

When you look at any statistics around clothes shopping and clothes disposal it is enough to make your head spin:

  • In the UK we buy 1.13 million tonnes of new clothing per year.
  • This causes 26 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions from production to disposal.
  • 300,000 tonnes of clothing head straight to landfill every year in the UK.
  • We wear our clothes 36% less than we did 15 years ago.
  • 70% of all clothing donated to charity shops in Europe ends up in Africa, where it negatively impacts on local makers and sellers of clothing. This piece of modern colonialism disguised as donation makes for a good read.

What’s the Answer?

I firmly believe that the answer lies mainly in stricter regulation on fast fashion producers. However, in 2019, the UK government rejected a report calling for fast fashion retailers to address their impact on the environment and working conditions.

This means at the moment until we see change at the governmental level, the responsibility is shouldered by the consumer (i.e. us), and in adopting more sustainable shopping practices where we can.

However, whilst interest in sustainable fashion is rising, there are barriers to dressing more sustainably. Sustainable clothing brands aren’t always the most size-inclusive. Sustainable clothing is also often considered as too expensive, although I would urge you to give this piece on is ethical fashion expensive a read.

So What Can We Do?

One way that we can green our wardrobes is to cut back on clothes shopping. Instead try swapping clothes with friends of a similar size, or try renting your clothes.

Renting Your Clothes?

One such clothing rental service in the UK is The Devout – a British born rental fashion company making its mark on the fashion industry that currently caters to women from size 4 to size 18, and men from size XS to XXL – with plans to cater to larger sizes.

How Does Clothes Rental Work?

It’s incredibly straightforward. The Devout delivers 5 items of premium brand clothing of your choice to your door. You can browse by size, and by brand and occasion – e.g. summer, wedding, workwear – from The Devout’s huge selection, to pick out exactly what you need for the upcoming month. Your items are then delivered to you, and you get to keep the items for one month, before returning and receiving your next 5 items.

ethical clothing rental for women
Some of The Devout’s current rental pieces, including pieces from People Tree, Ganni, and Reformation.

It’s convenient – I would say more convenient than shopping multiple retailers for clothing – and an altogether planet-friendlier way of greening your wardrobe. Gone are the days of wearing an item once for a night out and relegating it to the back of your wardrobe.

How Much Does A Clothes Rental Service Cost?

The Devout is especially great if designer labels are your thing, but you don’t have a designer label budget. With beautiful pieces from designer brands such as Ganni and Reformation, that retail for £200 each, the good news is the monthly fee is fixed regardless of the value of your items that you have chosen.

ethical clothing rental for men
Some of The Devout’s ethical rental options for men

It costs £79 a month to join. So, if you are spending near or above this amount a month on clothing, then it’s a great option to try and see if it works for you.

When you join The Devout and pick out your first five pieces you can even get £25 off your first box when you join. Simply use the code DEVOUT25 at the checkout.

Hate washing and ironing? Don’t worry, there’s no need to wash, dry, and iron your clothes before sending them back to The Devout. The Devout handles the laundry and ironing process on return to ensure quality control for all outgoing rentals.

What if Something Breaks or Tears?

As someone who is more than a little accident-prone, my first worry about renting clothes is damaging them. But if you are anything like me, then don’t worry, The Devout offers complimentary insurance as part of your monthly subscription. This covers you for minor damages to your clothes.  Minor damages that they cover include:

  • Broken zips
  • Light fading
  • Tears on the seam line
  • Loosening of seams
  • Lost buttons 
  • Stains which can be removed during their professional cleaning service

Would you try renting your clothes? Have you rented clothing? Let me know – I’d love to hear your experience.