Based in Beit Yanai, Isreal, Home Biogas is an innovative technology that transforms organic waste into fuel for cooking, right in your backyard. The technology creates a clean-burning gas from organic food waste and pet waste, and the liquid by-product can be used as plant fertilizer.
The current cost for one unit is set at $995, however the United Nations Development Program has expressed interest in providing Biogas units to small villages. As it runs without electricity and produces the equivalent of 6 kilo-watt hours of energy every day, the UNDP believes it could be useful for those who live in remote areas. It can also provide electricity and heat instead of gas.
You can read more about Biogas here.
Many restaurants and cafes practice the “day-old” system of selling food the day after it was made for a discounted price, yet the leftovers do not always make it into the hands of consumers. Caroline Pellegrini, a Montrealer and innovative food waste warrior, realized the extent of this issue when visiting a friend’s sushi restaurant. She noticed that there were boxes upon boxes of 50% off sushi left over at the end of the day, which no one was buying.
This sparked the idea for Ubifood, an app that shows users which restaurants and cafes in their area have discounted food that is approaching its best before date or must be sold by the end of the day.
If you see something that catches your eye as you scroll through the tantalizing pictures of cake slices, gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches and loaves of bread, you can pay for it instantly and it will be reserved until you pick it up. As of now, unless you live in Montreal (and own an apple device- they are currently working on an android-compatible app) don’t go reaching for your phone quite yet; Ubifood only serves the Montreal area but is planning to broaden the app’s scope.
Pellegrini and her team currently have 20 participating retailers and are aiming to reach 100 in the next few months. It seems like only a matter of time until it expands to cities across the country. The app aims to reduce food waste, though as Pellegirni says,”Everybody benefits. The consumers, retailers, and the planet – all at once,”.
Read more about the app on the Ubifood website here.
Quote and image from www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/ubifood-app-aims-to-curb-food-waste-in-montreal.
A recent study on an unprecedented approach to food preservation is making headlines across the globe. Published in Nature magazine, the article discusses the use of a silk protein-based coating that could prolong the shelf life of fruits and vegetables. Entirely edible, stable and biodegradable, the silk fibroin solution acts as a barrier to moisture and air, delaying the ripening time of produce.
To test their theory, researchers dipped strawberries in two different concentrations of silk solution and monitored the fruit alongside a control group. Remarkably, the coated strawberries preserved their freshness and firmness better than those without a coating (over a 7-day period). A test was also conducted on bananas, which showed similarly promising results.
This innovation has the potential to greatly reduce food waste and may aid in the struggle for global food security. Here in Canada, the silk coating could be beneficial to remote communities in the Northern reaches of the country by keeping produce fresh during transport. As many of these communities struggle with shockingly high food prices and a shortage of fresh fruits and vegetables, developments such as this silk coating may be an important tool in reducing food waste as well as food insecurity.
Read more about the study in the original article here.
Image from http://www.nature.com/articles/srep25263.
Lindsay Clowes and Lauren Schut of Halifax show off their new business card for FOUND
(Image from www.metronews.ca/news/halifax/2016/06/15/found-gets-off-the-ground-reduce-halifax-food-waste)
After both completing a masters degree in environmental studies, Halifax residents Lindsay Clowes and Lauren Schut began brainstorming ideas to reduce food waste. Focusing on food redirection, they came up with the idea for FOUND, an initiative that collects, saves and uses food that would other wise be destined for the trash.
The first two features of their three-pronged approach to reducing food waste include talking care of unsold produce at farmers’ markets and helping farmers outside the city get rid of unsalable produce by organizing volunteer harvest days. The third approach is to organize urban harvest events, which will see the harvesting of forgotten gardens around the city.
Members of the community are already taking great interest in the initiative. Farmers offer their extra or “unfit for market” produce, and organizations provide meals to people asking for their rescued goods. Clowes and Schut also plan to preserve unused food to resell.
Read more about FOUND’s story here.
More from 99% Invisible: “Separation Anxiety” explores how the country of Taiwan has employed alternative recycling and garbage collection schemes that put the onus for reducing waste back on the consumer at the household level. Using a mix of strategies, the country has tremendously reduced the amount of garbage it produces compared to 20 years ago. Strategies include “polluter pay”: charging householders for state-sanctioned, official trash bags (the bigger the size of the bag, the more expensive it is), offering free organic and recycling pick-up, and fining those who do not sort their recycling properly.
Garbage trucks come around to neighborhoods in Taipei and other large cities multiple times a week, and multiple times a day (mostly in the evenings). It is the responsibility of the citizens to be ready when the truck arrives (which heralds its coming with a classical song such as Fur Elise). The garbage truck is followed by a recycling truck with separate containers for plastics, glass, paper, raw and cooked food waste, and more.
The inclusion of everyday citizens in daily flows of garbage removes the invisibility of waste that seems to characterize most “modern” cities. Would reclaiming waste from the margins of society and making it more visible change our current, wasteful practices?
There are cafés popping up in the UK and all over the world serving accessible, healthy meals made entirely from diverted food waste! These cafés, run by the incredible Real Junk Food Project in the UK, are run on a Pay As You Feel basis and provide an important source of healthy food for low income residents in the area.
Check out their website:
And their Facebook site:
A creative UK organization (The Real Junk Food Project) is piloting a school breakfast program run entirely off of diverted food waste!
“Through our work with Richmond Hill Primary School we have seen how important an initiative like Fuel for School is, not just to stop hunger and kickstart learning, but also as an amazingly powerful tool to educate the next generation about food waste and the environment, in the hope that they can help stop such criminal amounts of waste and hunger in the future.
-Kerry Murphy, The Real Junk Food Project’s Education Co-ordinator