Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Inspired by COP26 and ‘Mount Recyclemore’, a sculpture created to highlight the environmental threat of e-waste ahead of the G7 summit in June, I’ve been thinking about the 3 R’s of sustainability: reduce, reuse, recycle.

So here are some companies doing their bit in the food industry. Why the food industry, you might ask? Because I love food: it brings people together, and everyone has to eat. Plus, I wrote this at lunchtime. 

Reduce – using fewer resources in the first place

Protestors with a sign saying less is more. It's eco-logical.

Boston Tea Party, a local cafe chain, were the first cafe to ban single-use cups. If you want a takeaway coffee, you either have to bring your own reusable cup, buy one of theirs or get one on ‘loan’. When they brought in the ban in 2018, they risked £1,000,000 of takeaway hot drinks sales, but they’re still going strong and by August 2020 had stopped over 340,000 takeaway cups going to landfill.

Reuse – using things more than once in their original form

A person from behind holding a reusable water bottle surrounded by greenery

Of course, you wouldn’t want to reuse food that has already been eaten. But you can make use of food that would otherwise go to waste with the Too Good to Go app. You buy a Magic Bag from a participating cafe, restaurant or shop containing food left at the end of the day, so the contents of each bag are a surprise. I use it a lot and have enjoyed falafel, veg boxes and plenty of cake.

Recycle – converting waste materials into new products

A blue bin with a recycling logo on it

According to WRAP’s Household Food and Drink Waste in the United Kingdom report, 24 million slices of bread are thrown away each day. But a few breweries have come up with a solution: brewing beer from surplus bread. Toast is one such company, and what’s more, they’re a Certified B Corporation, which shows they do business sustainably. Personally, I’m a big fan of their pale ale but have enjoyed all the beers I’ve tried.

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