Some of our favourite innovations offering unique ways of using food waste, from making auto parts to creating new forms of energy.
One of the most serious threats to the environment we’ve been facing in recent years is the vast amount of food waste produced across the planet. The European Union estimates that 110 million tons of animal and vegetable waste are produced in the union each year.
While fast food outlets, easy-eating chains and supermarkets may be focusing their efforts on the reduction of plastic, if the issue of food waste isn’t taken as seriously, other attempts to tackle the climate crisis may be futile.
Springwise has dedicated itself, over time, to showcasing some of the most innovative and promising ideas aiming to tackle the food waste epidemic. Here are some of our favourite innovations from over the last few months, which range from food waste being used as renewable energy, to aeroplane trays made from coffee granules.
1. SCIENTISTS USE FOOD WASTE TO CREATE AUTO PARTS
Scientists from four EU countries developed a method to turn agri-waste into car parts. The process could help reduce waste and make automobile production more environmentally sustainable.
The scientists, who are working under the EU-funded Barbara project, have created sustainable bioplastics from food waste. For instance, oils derived from lemons have antibacterial properties and could be used to make germ-killing door handles.
2. COMPOSTABLE VASES MADE FROM WASTE MILK
Royal College of Art graduate Tessa Silva-Dawson developed a way to turn waste milk into compostable household goods. Her technique involves mixing chalk with proteins extracted from surplus milk, to produce a material similar to polymer clay.
Silva-Dawson is made with the excess skimmed milk created in the production of butter and cream. This is mixed with chalk from a quarry in Hampshire and then pressed into moulds made from deadstock fabric – another post-industrial waste product. The milk and chalk material can also be hand-thrown, to create pots and other objects.
3. ECO-FRIENDLY AEROPLANE TRAYS MADE FROM COFFEE GROUNDS
UK-based PriestmanGoode design studio created eco-friendly replacements for the trays and food containers used on commercial flights.
The designers used food waste and other biodegradable material to replace plastic. For instance, the reusable tray is a mixture of coffee grounds and husks. The single-use containers for food dishes are made from wheat bran. PriestmanGoode even created capsules from seaweed to hold milk and other sauces.
4. GOURMET RESTAURANT TURNS FOOD WASTE INTO DELICIOUS DISHES
Loop is the first Finnish restaurant to fight against food waste by turning unsold produce into gourmet dishes.
The aim of the restaurant is to increase awareness about food waste and its impact on the environment. It does this by turning foodstuff that would otherwise be thrown away into high quality, mostly vegan, dishes.
5. DYELICIOUS TURNS FOOD WASTE INTO LUXURY WARES
Hong Kong startup Dyelicious is turning food waste into high-quality clothing and other products through a process known as natural food dyeing. The company says its workshops use kitchen waste to make dyes that can decompose naturally and do not yield any pollution, unlike a typical garment factory that may emit toxins into rivers and oceans.
Natural food dying uses a series of processes that include extraction, liquid preparation and colouring. In order to up the quality of the dye, additional mordants are included so that, “different hues can be transformed, the colour sharpness can be improved, and even different colours can be created,” the company says.
6. TURNING CHEESE WASTE INTO RENEWABLE ENERGY
Iona Capital’s Leeming bioenergy plant and Wensleydale Creamery, makers of world-famous Wensleydale cheese, have teamed up to turn cheese waste into biogas. The Leeming plant currently operates using residue from ice cream production and supplies biogas to around 4,000 homes in North Yorkshire.
The Wensleydale Creamery produces around 4,000 tonnes of cheese each year. Waste product from this includes whey, which is the liquid that is left over after the milk has been curdled and strained. Leeming can use the whey as feedstock for the anaerobic bacteria that produce biogas.
7. T-SHIRTS MADE WITH PROTEIN FIBRES FROM SOUR MILK
Los Angeles-based startup Mi Terro is manufacturing t-shirts with the help of sour milk. It is able to turn it into fibres, which are spun into yarn.
Creating fibres from milk is not new. The process has actually been in use since the 1930s. The fibres are made from the protein casein, which is separated from sour milk. The casein is dissolved in a solution and forced through a spinneret to produce long fibres. These are then treated to increase their strength and stability.
17th February 2020