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Electric Brighton

Can Brighton’s eco-friendly electric car club pioneer the future of driving?

Would you give up your car for an on-demand electric vehicle? Here’s how a new scheme being dreamed up in Brighton could work…

If any UK city was going to shun petrol and diesel-guzzling vehicles which burn damaging fossil fuels and contribute to air pollution, Brighton might be the first that comes to mind.

Represented in parliament by the country’s only Green MP, Caroline Lucas, it’s seen as one of the most eco-friendly places in the UK.

But climate activists argue there is still more to be done in the city, particularly when it comes to ditching older cars, and a new community initiative is hoping to change Brighton’s roads for good.

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Electric Brighton, a company started to encourage the city’s residents to transition to low emissions vehicles in the city and beyond, is teaming up with local car hire firm Co Cars in the hope of launching an electric car club.

Web designer Tom Kiss, 39, who launched the company off his own back in 2016 out of a passion for the environment, said the plans could see drivers able to book electric cars located across the city for as little as half an hour.

He said if the club got off the ground it could spare drivers the “time, money and hassle associated with car ownership”, helping tackle congestion, parking and pollution problems at the same time.

Car clubs are super helpful because they reduce the number of private cars on the roads and reduce the cost of ownership,” Kiss said.

With electric cars this is important because they haven’t yet reached price parity with other vehicles available.”

According to the RAC Foundation, the average car spends more than 95 per cent of its lifetime parked up and going nowhere.

Additionally, Electric Brighton says, car clubs have been shown to increase walking, cycling and public transport use, as people can easily weigh up the financial and environmental cost of using a car compared to other forms of transport.

Electric Brighton was launched in 2016 after Kiss, who has lived in the city all of his life, realised there was more to be done to tackle climate change.

After committing to everything he could on an individual level – changing his electricity supply, light bulbs, car, and even gas supply – he realised he needed to get out and persuade locals to come on board.

In terms of climate change, when you start reading it is very depressing,” he told the Big Issue.

Climate change is a really big fear and concern to me, it really terrifies me. Climate change and air pollution are intrinsically linked. In a city like Brighton, which has areas of very poor air quality, transport is often a big factor in that.”

But like much of the city itself, the campaign has been an uphill struggle. Electric Brighton provides information and support for drivers considering switching to an electric car but the move is often costly, complicated and can throw up more questions than answers.

Kiss said people were discouraged from switching to electric cars because they’re unable to charge them at home and don’t live near a charging point. Others find themselves with “range anxiety”, concerned about travelling long distances without knowing where they might recharge.

An important part of owning an electric vehicle is going on a bit of a journey and coming to terms with all the new things and processes involved,” Kiss added.

Electric Brighton has helped Brighton & Hove City Council find the unmet demand for charging points and the city has recently been given funding from the Government for more chargers.

There are currently 246 electric vehicle charging points in Brighton with 32 more on the way.

There’s a kind of chicken and egg scenario where people want to switch to an electric vehicle but they don’t have a charger near them, and the majority of drivers in Brighton don’t have off-street parking, so public infrastructure is super important,” Kiss explained.

In 2017, Electric Brighton launched the “hug the plug” campaign to persuade more Brightonians to make the switch. The campaign has been supported by more than 400 people so far.

Conventional vehicles still far outnumber cleaner forms of transport in the UK. According to AutoExpress, there were approximately 31.8 million cars on the road in 2019. 18.8 million of these ran on petrol, 12.3 million on diesel, 513,000 were hybrids while pure electric vehicles accounted for just 89,500.

The Government has committed to a “green industrial revolution” which ministers say will put the UK on course to hit net zero emissions by 2050.

Vehicles will form a large part of this new landscape. The Government runs a grant scheme giving drivers up to £3,000 off some low emission cars and sales of new petrol and diesel cars will be banned by 2030.

While there is a long way to go, electric cars could soon become a big part of our lives and Brighton could be a model for cities across the country to follow.

The above article by Josh Sandiford first published on bigissue.com in Jan, 2021.

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Share Shed

How the Share Shed is bringing sustainability to its local Devon community.

Here’s a brilliant idea to help save the planet. Involving the local community in and around Devon, co-founder Mirella Ferraz and her team are onto a sure-fire hit with Share Shed.

In a nutshell:

  • Organisation: Share Shed is a travelling library of things that lends everyday objects to members in and around Devon
  • Business model: Grant-funded and sustained through membership and loan fees
  • SSE programme: The Community Business Trade Up Programme 2020, in partnership with Power to Change, jointly funded by The National Lottery Community Fund
  • Supported by SSE in Dartington

Inspiration
Mirella Ferraz was doing some online research when she heard about a new share shop in Frome. “I read about this place called the Library of Things where people borrowed the stuff they needed instead of buying it and thought it was a great idea!” recalls Mirella.

Intrigued, she travelled to Frome to see the concept for herself and decided to propose a similar project to the Network of Wellbeing, the charity she worked for in Totnes. “I wanted to set up something similar, so we held a community consultation to see what people in Totnes thought, and to see what they’d be willing to donate and borrow.”

The feedback was overwhelmingly positive. Buoyed by the response, Mirella and the team approached the town council who lent them a garage free of charge for six months, allowing them to launch the Share Shed in April 2017. After that, in 2019, came a successful bid for a National Lottery Fund grant and the world’s first travelling library of things opened its doors in July 2019.

 

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The magic happens
By early 2019 the Share Shed was an established project with more than 350 items available to loan, of which 99% were donated by the local community. Membership fees were kept deliberately low, at a sliding scale from £5 to £50 per year, with items costing anywhere from 50p to £18 to borrow for a week.

Whenever somebody comes to us and asks for an item that we don’t have, we add it to our wish list on our website, and promote it on social media,” explains Mirella. “And that’s when the magic happens – there’s so much stuff lying around in people’s attics that we’re almost always donated what we need.”

In February 2020 Mirella started the Community Business Trade Up programme, just a few weeks before the Covid-19 pandemic swept through the UK. As well as helping navigate the pandemic, the programme has helped the team improve how they promote and market the project and make it more sustainable – while also providing ideas for potentially restructuring the Share Shed into a standalone organisation one day.

Programme impact
Despite being just halfway through the programme, Mirella can already see the benefits it’s bringing. “We just had our SSE panel review, which was a session where we got to talk to four other social entrepreneurs who had no idea about the Share Shed. And just by talking, loads of ideas came up about how we could improve our service, and how we could promote it better – it was extremely helpful.

Joining the programme has helped Mirella and the team refine their marketing plan, and also the overall strategy moving forward. “It’s made us question things like, do we focus on the number of items in the library or the quality of items, for example?

“We weren’t so focused before I started the programme, so it’s really helped us refine and improve our offering.”

Covid-19 adaptations
While the pandemic forced the Share Shed to shut its doors in March 2020, the project managed to reopen again in July – albeit with stringent new measures in place. Cash payments were stopped and the numbers of customers entering the van at any one time were restricted. “People can still book items online to come and collect in person. We’re adapting how we work according to the changing situation, it’s difficult but worth it.

Mirella’s top tip for community businesses
If you have an idea that you truly believe in, then start your project no matter how many question marks you might have around it. Figuring things out is an ongoing journey, and the sense of being ‘ready’ will never happen. Take a leap and just go for it!

Take a closer look at Share Shed on Facebook and Instagram.

The above article first published on the-sse.org in 2020.

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JanaJal

The social enterprise helping underprivileged communities access clean drinking water.

JanaJal, which provides clean drinking water at nominal rates via its water ATMs, has dispensed more than 90 million litres of safe drinking water and eliminated more than 15 million single-use plastic bottles in India.

Nearly two billion people worldwide don’t have access to safely-managed water services today, according to a study by the World Health Organisation (WHO). For underprivileged communities, especially in developing nations, safe drinking water is a distant dream, and its lack has led to diseases such as diarrhoea, cholera, dysentery, typhoid, and polio. About 1.7 million children die of diarrhoea in India every year, while at least 37.7 million people are affected by waterborne diseases caused by contaminated water.

Aiming to provide safe drinking water at a nominal cost, and in a sustainable and consistent way, JanaJal, a Delhi-based social enterprise, set up water ATMs across the country.

To a large extent, safe drinking water was confined to bottled water, which due to its high cost, remained a commodity accessible only to affluent sections of our society, but not to the poorest of the poor,” says Parag Agarwal, who co-founded JanaJal in 2013, along with Anurag Agarwal.

The company sells a litre of water at around Rs 5; in larger quantities, people can buy about 20 litres at just Rs 20.

How it works

The company says each one of its water ATMs is custom-built for the specific environment which it intends to operate in. Every component, from water treatment technology and capacity of the machine, to the operating format, depends on where and how the product is expected to be installed and used.

We didn’t confine our technology only to RO systems as the process wastes more water than it provides for drinking, and because different sources of water had different types of contamination,” says Praveen Kumar, Principal Impact Catalyst at JanaJal.

The wastewater generated (while purifying the water) is used for other purposes. In the railway stations it is used to clean the platform, while in the New Delhi Municipal Council, it is used to flush toilets,” he adds.

 

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The water ATMs are designed to monitor data such TDS (total dissolved solids) levels, temperature, and pH value of the water they contain in real time, as well as litres of water dispensed per day and revenue collection through IoT-based controllers connected to secure cloud servers.

Between 2017 and 2019, we installed about 725 ATMs, thanks to the robust tech platform that we built,” says Parag, adding that after the JanaJal team realised the efficacy of their product, and the implications their tech could have on other water sources, they decided to offer it to other existing water plants to drive their feasibility and help deal with issues such as closures caused by human intervention.

COVID-19 response

The emphasis on safe drinking water has increased tenfold since the coronavirus pandemic began, particularly because of the increased focus on hygiene.

We have an end-to-end contactless mechanism for all our ATMs, for the chilling, dispensing, and payment,” says Anuradha Agarwal, Brand Impact Catalyst at JanaJal.

Our technology has minimised human contact as much as possible at this stage,” she adds.

In-app payments, providing the field staff protective gear, and sanitising machines regularly are some other measures the company has taken to help reduce people’s exposure to the virus.

JanaJal WOW (Water on Wheels) – the company’s utilisation of electric vehicles for for enabling last-metre delivery of safe water to the doorstep of households – has helped seamlessly deliver safe drinking water to underprivileged communities, especially across South Delhi and Ajmeri Gate.

In Gujarat, untreated water has been shown to contain traces of COVID-19. So, going forward, with this pandemic situation, safe drinking water is the key to stay healthy,” says Parag.

The impact

The safe water we dispense at JanaJal is not a product, but a medium of change,” Parag says. “When a household receives 20 litres of potable water, there is a direct health benefit, in turn reducing the medical expenses in account of that.”

JanaJal says its water ATMs have significantly reduced diseases by providing safe drinking water, and eliminated the burden on women for carrying water from distant places. It has also helped reduce families’ expenditure on healthcare and medical services.

Since consumers are encouraged to carry their own bottles, the initiative plays a role in minimising single-use plastic, and saving the environment,” Parag says.

The team claims to have approximately eliminated more than 15 million single-use plastic bottles, till date. The initiative has helped create jobs, encouraged people to engage in social entrepreneurship activities, and provided vocational training to operators for maintaining water treatment plants.

The road ahead

JanaJal says it is focused on expanding its local presence in India and Southeast Asia, and is looking to acquire existing water treatment plants to widen its reach.

It is also planning to engage with companies in Africa that already have decentralised water treatment plants and require a robust technology, like JanaJal’s.

Going forward, we should be able to scale pretty rapidly, and ‘Uberise’ the water treatment sector through the intervention of technology,” says Parag

The above article by Anju Ann Mathew first published on yourstory.com in Jul, 2020.

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Refugee tailors

The Refugee tailors reconnecting with their craft.

In November 2020, the Espero Association opened a couture workshop in Antony, south of Paris. The organisation aims to offer a group of uniquely talented refugees their first professional experience in France. Major French brands have already offered fabric remnants, while others are considering collaborations to produce pieces 100% made in France.

They have the talent, experience and motivation. All they needed was an outstretched hand.” Nine refugees – six Afghans, two Tibetans and one Moroccan – were the first tailors hired by the Espero Association for the launch of the “Threads of the Future” project, a philanthropic couture workshop employing only refugees in Antony in the southern suburbs of Paris.

These are people who have never worked in France, even though they have incredible skills, skills that have never been valued here, even by the refugees themselves, who didn’t have the nerve,” said Maya Persaud, who founded Espero and is at the helm of this new sewing workshop nestled in an 18,000-square-meter shed. Two weeks after opening, the equipment is still somewhat spartan: three new sewing machines, a few tables with pieces of fabric donated by leading French couturiers, and a few lights.

Stationed behind the central desk, a sharp-eyed Thierry doesn’t let anything slip: “Your hem is too thick. We said one centimeter maximum, we want French refinement,” he explained to one of the refugees, who hung on his words. The Parisian fashion designer was recruited by Espero to supervise and coach the tailors who, for the moment, are training so they will be ready when their first customer places an order.

I am impressed by their technique. Some are able to assemble a shirt in two minutes, others are true experts in cutting… everyone has their strengths,” Thierry said. “My goal is for them to be operational at every workstation so that they understand how to function well as a team, so that the production line runs smoothly and harmoniously.”

This job, in France, is a dream for me

That’s an aspect of the job that Afshari has mastered. This young Afghan who arrived in France in 2017 was a career couturier and loved his job. After his departure from Afghanistan, he crossed through Iran, Turkey and landed in Denmark, where his request for protection was rejected. At risk of being deported to Afghanistan, he tried his luck in France, where he was granted refugee status.

I had been through so much that I didn’t want to do anything difficult. At first I only did temporary work, odd jobs in the building industry, ironing… But it wasn’t my profession,” he said. He sent out his CV for positions as a couturier many times. There was no response until he came across Espero. “Today I’m really happy, all I want is to keep this job and work even harder.

Haider’s life has also changed through the sewing workshop, where he is in charge of integration. His role is to liaise with the dressmakers and support them professionally and administratively. “I love the contact, it’s my first job here and the first time that I can help people who have gone through difficult journeys similar to mine,” the Afghan, who has been a refugee in France for a year, explained in very good French.

Before, I was a project manager. I was warned that there was little chance I would be able to get a skilled job in Europe. So this job in France is a dream come true for me and it’s so rewarding to be able to help people with experience and talent.

More than just a first job, it is a kind of “dignity” that these refugees rediscover, said Persaud, who is already looking to expand. Although for the moment the dressmakers only work twice a week for five hours at minimum wage rates, the long-term goal is to increase their hours and eventually convert the workshop into a real social enterprise.

At the moment, they are being hired as part of the ‘First Hours Program,’ a project being tested in Paris and the Hauts-de-Seine region to give them their first work experience in France. They are then directed to a job, they do French language courses and are assisted by social workers over a period of 18 months. We hope that the studio will be successful enough to enable them to exit the integration system and keep their jobs,” she added.

A former stylist and collection director for several major brands, Marie Chiapponi may well be among the workshop’s first clients. In search of meaning, tired of working only with Asia to produce clothing in astronomical quantities, the young woman left the fashion world a few months ago. During the first COVID-19 lockdown, she launched a brand of face mask called “Born in France” with the idea of developing products designed and made entirely in the country.

I want to go back to simple things, recycled materials where the human aspect is at the heart. Hence the desire to work with refugees here,” she said. “I’m going to come back by the end of the week with prototypes.” The designer sees the project as the revitalisation of her products, which will be made with scraps of fabric or with reclaimed materials, but also and above all a rebirth for these designers, whose talent can finally be recognised.

The above article by Anne-Diandra Louarn first published on infomigrants.net in Jan, 2021.

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Hubbub

How to save money and the environment this Christmas.

How do we make Christmas special without a hefty price tag and a heavy impact on the environment?

Everyone deserves to be cheered up over the festive period after what has been a rotten year. But with our pockets and our planet under strain, how do we make Christmas special without a hefty price tag and a heavy impact on the environment?

The great news is lots of money-saving ideas are also better for the environment, like buying pre-loved gifts or making your own presents.

Environmental charity Hubbub asked 3,000 UK adults about their plans this Christmas and found that 45 per cent of people across the UK want to make Christmas EXTRA special this year.

However, one in five said their family is cutting back on presents, one in three are planning on spending less on presents and one in 10 are worried about how they are going to afford Christmas.

Is this the year of the second-hand gift? It appears 16 to 24 year-olds are setting a new trend for pre-loved gifts with over a third (34 per cent) saying they will buy some second-hand presents for the first time this Christmas.

Although 44 per cent of all adults said they’d be embarrassed to give second-hand presents at Christmas, 41 per cent said they’d be happy to receive one (even higher at 51 per cent for 16 to 24 year olds).

Giving time or a service as a gift instead of a physical present is also a great way to save money and one that nearly a quarter (23 per cent) said they’d be happy to receive.

Having a meal cooked for you topped the charts, followed by a haircut and then cleaning. For those with children under 18, almost one in four opted for an offer of babysitting/child-free time.

We’re all thinking about cutting the costs to our bank balances and the environment. So here are ten ways to save money and the environment this Christmas:

Eat your leftovers!
The UK throws away a whopping 270,000 tonnes of food during Christmas, including more than two million turkeys and 74 million mince pies . Make the most of your food this festive season by planning what you need in advance and making sure you save your leftovers. They’ll keep in the freezer or you can munch on them in the potato-filled limbo between Christmas and New Years Eve.

Buy second hand
With so many second-hand marketplaces online like Ebay, Depop or even Facebook there is a huge amount of choice in quality second-hand gifts. Shopping second hand can get you one-of-a-kind pressies at a fraction of what you’d spend in a last minute shopping spree.

Make your own gifts
During lockdown so many of us have turned our hands to making, cooking or growing. In the summer you couldn’t move for sourdough starters and first-time tomato growers and there’s no need to stop here.

Giving homemade gifts is a beautiful way to show someone you care and show off your new skills at the same time.

DIY decorations
You can never go wrong with the trusty box stuffed in the attic or under your bed with festive decorations of Christmases gone by. That’s using your leftovers!

But if you want to try something a little different this year, dried orange slices and cinnamon tied together on a string make for unbeatable decorations that smell great and come without any plastic or waste.

Shop for the person you’re buying for
This is a golden gift giving rule. To make sure your present is well-used and well-loved, try to find something you know the person will really like. And if you’re not sure, ask them to point you in the right direction.

Love local
If you do want to buy something new, why not see if you can support local and independent businesses who need our help more than ever this year.

From books to jewellery you’ll be surprised what you can find locally. If you can’t get out to the shops try going to Etsy and filtering search results for “handmade in the UK”.

 

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Be savvy with online orders
With people less likely to hit the shops this year, we’re likely to do more of our shopping online for food and presents.

So try consolidating your orders: keep a list of things you need to buy and purchase in one go. Choose click and collect options where possible to reduce air pollution from the amount of time delivery vehicles spend on the road. Make sure you recycle or repurpose packaging when you can to reduce waste.

Ditch the wrapping
Paper wrapping can be difficult to recycle, especially if it’s glittery or shiny. A great alternative is brown paper which you can jazz up with potato prints and string or give fabric wrapping a go.

Furoshiki is the Japanese art of fabric wrapping which inspired companies like The Fabric Wrapping Company who sell beautiful fabrics and show you how you can wrap them. You can also use scrap fabrics and scarves if you have some at home!

Give back to your community
If this year has shown us anything it’s how important our community and the people who keep it going are. Give back this year by donating to your local community fridge, donating your old phone to help people who are digitally isolated at part of Hubbub’s Community Calling Campaign or supporting a local charity.

Rediscover your own wardrobe
Give your favourite outfits a replay this year and wear your favourite festive outfits again instead of buying something new. If nothing in your wardrobe is singing to you try swapping with friends or family for a brand-new look without spending anything. Look on rental platforms or second-hand sites if you need inspiration from further afield.

For more top tips this season on everything from food to fashion, head to over the Hubbub website…

The above article by Sarah Divall first published on bigissue.com in Dec, 2020.

Sarah Divall is a creative partner at Hubbub and a sustainability podcaster and presenter.

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Pucker

Dalston resident creates local network of sustainable mask-makers.

A remote face mask production network set up by a Dalston resident and her friends during the first coronavirus lockdown has now grown into a thriving social enterprise.

Pucker is a sustainable social enterprise providing the living wage for all its makers and donating 25 per cent of its profits to charity.

Co-founder Cathy Van Hear came up with the idea for Pucker after volunteering for an organisation making NHS scrubs while on furlough.

She told the Gazette about running her new business out of her Dalston living room: “It’s now my (full-time) job. It has been quite a strange year but I’m just rolling with it.”

Cathy wanted to offer a well-made, reusable alternative to disposable masks while creating employment opportunities for local people, and she is proud that Pucker pays all its mask makers a living wage.

If you are going to produce something it needs to have quality and longevity,” she said. “Being a maker myself and not being paid wonderfully all the time, it was really important to me that the people who make the masks are properly paid and respected.”

She says most of the employees are freelancers, usually involved in other avenues of work which have been impacted or restricted by the pandemic, such as Savile Row tailors, puppeteers and theatre costume creators.

Each maker does their part in the mask production line from home; some do the cutting, others prepare the mask components and the rest sew.

There was lots of experimentation in the early months,” Cathy said.

It has been really interesting trying to make it work for everybody.

The masks come in 12 colours, have an adjustable nose and ears and are replenished based on the number of orders so as to not generate “too much stuff in the world”.

Cathy added: “They are quite colourful, fun and all have playful names.

I think we need a bit of levity at the moment.

We did a collection recently called the staycation collection and they are all named after places people went on holiday in the UK in the summer because they couldn’t go abroad.

So there’s the Durdle Door and the Brecon Beacon.”

 

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Cathy also felt it was important to give back to the community during this time, so Pucker gives 25pc of its profits to charities like Mind, Refuge and Crisis.

Since launching in June, it has donated £3,695 to the three charities Pucker’s founders feel are ongoing lifelines for people during the pandemic.

For more information or to order a mask click here …

Or follow Pucker on Instagram by clicking here …

The above article by Holly Chant first published on hackneygazette.co.uk in Dec, 2020.

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REfUSE Cafe

How this Chester-le-Street cafe is helping those most in need during the coronavirus pandemic.

REfUSE is working with community groups to deliver meals and food to vulnerable people in the area.

A cafe forced to close during the coronavirus outbreak is now helping struggling County Durham families.

REfUSE is a pay as you feel community cafe in Chester-le-Street that uses tonnes of good food that has been labelled worthless, whether it is due to best-before-dates, damaged packaging, or cancelled orders.

Based on Front Street, the cafe was forced to close due to the coronavirus outbreak.

But the closure has not stopped its founders Mim Skinner and Nikki Dravers from helping the community during the crisis.

Mim and Nikki, along with other volunteers, have continued to collect surplus food and are making vital food parcels to those most in need during the pandemic.

They are also working with Handcrafted, which is making homemade meals to deliver to around 40 homes daily, and The People’s Pantry and the King’s Church Achor project.

Mim said the groups provide lifelines to those in the communities by providing vital food and support.

She added: “At a time when the cafe and workshops are shut and we’ve not able to make physical contact this will be more important than ever – particularly for those with already poor mental health and those suffering job losses and hardship.

Between us we are delivering at least 55 cooked meals each day, 60 grocery bags each week, and weekly phone calls and contact more than 100 people. We have had more and more people get in touch with us.”

The group delivered to 106 households last week after being contacted by those struggling to access food.

As well as delivering food, an online support group is also being launched to help those in need.

Mim said: “This will include some creative things like vlogs and blogs, sharing tips on using your store cupboard food to make easy and low-energy recipes, sharing positive stories and maintaining our supportive volunteer community online.”

 

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A crowdfunder has also been launched to support the cafe during its closure, with kindhearted residents already donating more than £7,000.

Mim said seeing the community spirit shine through in such difficult times is heartwarming.

She added: “I think it shows the heart and spirit of the community, volunteers and customers surrounding the cafe.

I think, what we have seen over the last few weeks, is people reaching out and connecting with their neighbours, their communities.

It shows the North East spirit, strength and unity we have in helping each other.”

To donate to the crowdfunder visit here …

The above article by Kali Lindsay first published on chroniclelive.co.uk in Apr, 2020.

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Footprints Café

Footprints Café in Cambodia founded by former Cambridge student included in Lonely Planet Best in Travel 2021 list.

Footprints Café is a restaurant, bookshop and event space in one, with more than 3,000 book titles donated by supporters and friends all over the world.

A social venture in Cambodia founded by a former Cambridge Judge Business School student has been included in the Lonely Planet Best in Travel 2021 list.

The list by Lonely Planet this year has been refocused on sustainability and community at a time of disruption to the travel industry.

Footprints Café, founded by alumna Georgina Hemmingway, and supported by the Business School in Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, was cited by the judges for its work in helping to lift people out of poverty.

Footprints Café was supported by the Cambridge Social Ventures programme, part of the Business School’s Cambridge Centre for Social Innovation.

Georgina earned the postgraduate diploma in entrepreneurship at the school in 2014, and is a past president and active participant in the school’s Wo+Men’s Leadership Centre.

Georgina said: “We are delighted to be included in the Lonely Planet list, and especially this year given the focus on community and sustainability.

The journey of Footprints Café shows that social enterprise can make a big difference in people’s lives while providing a really valuable service

Located in the northwestern Cambodia town of Siem Reap, near the fabled Angkor Wat temple complex, the largest religious building in the world, Footprints Café blends traditional Khmer cuisine with a unique approach to co-working, economically empowering the local community.

 

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Footprints Café is a restaurant, bookshop and event space in one, with more than 3,000 books donated by supporters and friends all over the world.

It also sells books, gift cards and notepads for local charities and social enterprises.

Lonely Planet said: “What impressed our panel most about the Footprint Café was that in a province where an estimated 45 per cent of residents live below the poverty line, it was a project deliberately set up to make a difference and help locals escape that cycle of poverty.

By providing access to employment and training, plus heavily discounted or free coworking space to Cambodian start-ups, the benefits are already being felt with a number of successful local businesses and projects spring-boarding from the café, such as a literary program for vulnerable girls.

It also invests 100 per cent of its net profits back into the community as grants for local educational or entrepreneurial projects, and has ethically-sourced local produce available in the café too, creating a sustainable business cycle.

Due to the upheaval in travel caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the Best in Travel List included not just places, but people and communities for the first time.

Lonely Planet added that the list has been “refocused to showcase transformative travel, which encourages travellers to find authentic and mindful moments during their journeys”.

Lonely Planet CEO Luis Cabrera said: “Travel is a much more considerate exercise in 2021 than it has been ever before.

Best in Travel 2021 champions people, places and organisations that are making travel a force for good, all the more essential in a year when Covid-19 has disrupted and deprioritised travel.

Best in Travel 2021 reflects how travel contributes to sustainability, community and inclusivity and showcases how we can best explore the world responsibly.”

The above article by Charlotte Page first published on inyourarea.co.uk in Nov, 2020.

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The Iron Man

The Iron Man: Recycling in its most benevolent form.

Miley Porritt – AKA ‘The Iron Man’ – has first-hand experience of the trials and tribulations that accompany homelessness. Yet his time at the Frome Foyer of YMCA Mendip & South Somerset, which accommodates for those in greatest need of support, did nothing to weaken his resolve to succeed.

The 23-year-old overcame the barriers that had previously obstructed him, not only moving out of temporary accommodation but also establishing his own ironing business in Frome.

Having successfully founded The Iron Man, Miley sought to reciprocate the compassion shown to him by YMCA. This desire to give back was the motivation behind his creation of ‘Iron Man survival blankets’. Made from recycled materials ironed together, these blankets provide rough sleepers with indispensable protection from the elements.

The ingenuity of the idea rests on the materials from which the blankets are created: used crisp packets. Despite requiring an extraordinary 80 years to decompose, crisp packets are not currently eligible for home recycling schemes; they often end up in landfill sites.

Instead, Miley puts them to considerably better use. 150 packets ironed together constitute an insulating blanket for a homeless person, whose ability to keep warm and dry will be invariably tested over the coming winter months.

 

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Support for the survival blankets has grown at an astonishing rate. After an appeal for crisp packet donations in a Facebook post on 2 November, just three days later the page had been seen by over five million people. On the same day, Miley spoke to BBC Somerset about his efforts to help the homeless community.

Now, The Iron Man has not only been occupied with accumulating empty crisp packets but has also set up a donation page for YMCA Mendip & South Somerset. Alongside this, Miley has provided instructions on how to create these blankets independently.

The deadline for donations is looming: all crisp packets must be delivered by 3 December to The Iron Man’s address, the details of which can be found on its Facebook and Instagram pages.

Miley’s endeavours are testament to the virtuous cycle of philanthropy. Not only this, Miley has managed to imaginatively integrate snacking with charity work. If ever an excuse to eat crisps was needed, here it is.

The above article by Katie Davies first published on goodnewsshared.com in Nov, 2020.

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Edible Wall

Social enterprise and charity team-up to create Edible Wall

The Brain Charity has launched a £15,000 appeal to become the first charity in the UK to have its own edible wall.

What is what is it?
The charity has teamed up with Baltic Triangle social enterprise Farm Urban to teach hundreds of people with neurological conditions how to grow healthy, sustainable food using hydroponics, a vertical, soilless and pesticide-free method of farming.

The two organisations want to install and maintain the 2m by 1.8m wall next year to provide clear mental health and environmental benefits. It will also sustain free, healthy food for The Brain Food Café, the charity’s on-site restaurant.

How to get involved
On November 10th they launched a Crowdfunder appeal to raise the cash to deliver initial workshops, create an Edible Wall educational programme and install and maintain the living wall at The Brain Charity’s HQ on Norton Street in Liverpool city centre.

Tui Benjamin, head of communications and fundraising at The Brain Charity, said: “The impact of a neurological diagnosis can be devastating.

Life can become very lonely and frightening – meaning physical and mental health suffer and malnutrition can be common.

“Many of our service users live on or below the poverty line, with 31% saying they have barely enough money to live on despite receiving welfare benefits. Social isolation is also a huge issue, with more than half telling us they regularly feel lonely.”

We therefore hope this pioneering project, the first of its kind in the UK, will not only allow us to significantly improve the mental health of some of our most vulnerable service users – after all, taking care of plants is a known mood booster – but help them make more healthy food choices, learn new skills, make friends and do their bit for the planet too.

The Edible Wall is an incredible opportunity to empower our service users – a community so often marginalised – to know they can contribute to a better, healthier future; for themselves and for the planet.

 

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Liverpools first edible wall
Farm Urban created Liverpool’s first vertical farm in 2019 and over the past five years have been educating schools, businesses and communities across Merseyside on the benefits.

They have already installed one of their eight-tower living walls in the Bruntwood offices in Liverpool’s Cotton Exchange building.

Hydroponics uses energy-efficient LED lights and circulating water to grow leafy greens and herbs all year round, whatever the weather.

The futuristic indoor farming technique was recently featured in Netflix documentary David Attenborough: A Life On Our Planet as a key component of the battle against climate change.

Dr Paul Myers, managing director of Farm Urban, said: “Farm Urban uses aquaponics as a focal point around which communities can come together.

The food we eat also has a huge effect on our health and wellbeing – we seek to help people understand the importance of eating well by providing the fresh food that makes that possible in a way that doesn’t harm the planet.

Partnering with The Brain Charity will allow us the opportunity to share our food revolution with a wider audience than ever before.

The Brain Charity pilot will be used to develop an educational programme around accessible, indoor food growing which will be shared with communities across the UK and beyond.

We hope this will lay the groundwork for bringing an innovative approach to urban farming to groups all over the world.”

Donate
As part of the Aviva Community Fund, next Monday [Nov 16] the crowdfunder will open to Aviva employees, who are given £250,000 in total each quarter to distribute to projects as they see fit.

Members of the public can also make donations in exchange for rewards, such as Brain Charity merchandise, Farm Urban ‘Greens For Good’ boxes of leafy greens and herbs and ‘pay it forward’ donated meals.

To find out more or make a donation click here …

The above article by Russell Gannon first published on baltictriangle.co.uk in Nov, 2020.

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Mind Strong North East

North East social enterprise adds to charity clothing range to battle Homelessness.

Mind Strong North East has joined forces with Team Karma, a group of Independent Consultants with The Body Shop At Home™ to launch a new T-shirt design with profits helping to support homeless people in the North East.

As winter approaches, our homeless here in the North East will not only be battling the harsh winter conditions but also the added threat of Covid-19. With previous government funding now abated there is serious risk to life in the coming months. Mind Strong, who were set up to help North East mental health services in the community, now aim to help other charitable organisations needing support through design and sales of their slogan apparel. The ‘Stand Out, Stand Strong, Stand Together’ T-Shirt is part of the Mind Strong North East Charity Collection with profits from sales of this tee being donated to NEH (North East Homeless, Charity Number 1170235), who provide support to those who are vulnerable and homeless in the North East of England.

Mind Strong is a social enterprise created by Rachael Beattie, and a team of volunteers to raise funds for crucial mental health services in the North East. Initially creating a mental health awareness t-shirt range with the Be Kind slogan sweatshirt. The range was so well received that it was quickly followed up with ladies t-shirts, a range of children’s mental health affirmation t-shirts, then menswear and now an active wear range. Each of the Mind Strong slogan tee’s have unique meanings behind them, designed to spread awareness and raise funds for various charities. The Mind Strong clothing range ensures a minimum of 10% of all profits are invested into local community causes. All of our clothing is printed on demand so they produce no wastage to send to landfill.

 

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Stand Out, Stand Strong, Stand Together! As winter approaches, our homeless here in the North East will not only be battling the harsh winter conditions but also the added threat of Covid-19 and there is serious risk to life in the coming months. The ‘Stand Out, Stand Strong, Stand Together’ T-Shirt is part of the Mind Strong North East Charity Collection with profits from sales of this tee being donated to @nehest2014 (North East Homeless, Charity Number 1170235), who provide support to those who are vulnerable and homeless in the North East of England. Modelled by @naturallynourishednadia of Team Karma and designer of the Tee Grab you t-shirt now at www.mindstrongne.co.uk/shop or purchase through our Instagram shop #mindstrongclothing #mindstrongne #mentalhealth #slogantee #mentalhealthclothingbrand #createawareness #stigma #clothingbrand #streetwear #activewear #womenshealth #menshealth #itsoknottobeok #raisingawareness #endthestigma #mentalhealthmatters #mentalhealthawareness #love #selfcare #selflove #clothing #homeless #newcastle #tyneandwear #homelesslivesmatter #homelessness #homelessnessawareness

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Nadia Karmazyn-Wall, area manager to Team Karma had the idea for the project, “I created a t-shirt to help raise money for an amazing local charity North East Homeless. They work tirelessly to help anyone in the North East by providing food, signposting to services, campaigning for policy changes with the local council’s and most recently they have opened a hub in North Shields Fish Quay. I had been thinking about creating some branded clothing for my business and this was the perfect opportunity to do this and help a charity close to my heart

You can purchase your #TeamKarma ‘Stand Out, Stand Strong, Stand Together’ T-Shirt from our online shop along with apparel supporting other great causes in the North East.

About North East Homeless

NEH provides support to those who are vulnerable and homeless. They provide food, equipment, training, support and employment. The Fish Quay Hub has a Cafe space and a Social Supermarket where you can “Take what you need, leave what you can

Mind Strong are now on the look out for other like minded North East charities to nominate themselves as December’s charity choice. If you would like to nominate a charity of our choice please visit the Mind Strong North East website.

The above article first published on businessupnorth.co.uk in Nov, 2020.

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The Orchard Project

The Orchard Project

UK charity plants orchards for urban communities.

When was the last time you had fresh fruit? And I mean really fresh fruit, just picked from the tree. For so many of us, this simply isn’t a reality – and that’s something at The Orchard Project is working to change.

The Orchard Project is the UK’s only charity devoted to the creation, restoration and celebration of orchards for urban communities.

Originally founded as The London Orchard Project in 2009 by sustainable food advocate Carina Millstone, the initiative soon grew into The Orchard Project charity and has now reached Leeds, Manchester, Birmingham, Glasgow and Edinburgh, with a Welsh base soon to be set up in Swansea.

The Orchard Project aims not only to socially enrich urban communities, but also to take steps towards reforming Britain’s food system by allowing residents to work together closely to grow and harvest their own produce in towns and cities. The ultimate goal of the charity is for every urban household in the UK to be walking-distance from a community-run orchard.

As urban populations continue to grow, The Orchard Project recognises the vital need for accessible green spaces. By either restoring veteran orchards or planting new ones, the project enables communities to re-connect with nature and forge a deeper connection with where our food comes from. Since the charity’s inception in 2009, they have planted and looked after over 430 community orchards across the UK, planting and maintaining 2,200 fruit trees between 2018 and 2019 alone. The project primarily plants apples, pears, plums and medlars, but encourages the community to choose their own fruit tree varieties for their orchard, with more exotic fruits like figs and apricots being grown, too.

The positive impact that the charity’s community orchards have had on locals cannot be overstated. Once The Orchard Project has planted an orchard, the charity hands it over to a group of community volunteer to care for in the long term, giving residents the skills, tools and support they need to maintain the trees. Orchard volunteers are taught basic gardening techniques alongside more specialist skills such as how to identify different species of apple, or grafting fruit trees. Not only this, but The Orchard Project also organises seasonal events for the community, including blossom picnics and special apple days, which celebrate the autumn and winter harvest. According to the charity’s most recent impact report, 79% of its beneficiaries say that working with the orchards has boosted their physical and mental wellbeing; 93% of volunteers have felt more connected to nature; and 25% have found new employment with the skills they’ve obtained through the charity’s training programme.

It’s not just the local community which is enhanced by the charity’s work – the surrounding climate and wildlife also see a benefit. Planting new orchards in towns and cities increases vital tree coverage, which in turn cools the urban environment. As the fruit trees grow, they can absorb excess rainfall whilst also providing habitats for local wildlife which critically enriches the area’s biodiversity. By growing produce on their doorstep, communities also lessen their collective carbon footprint by reducing the air miles their food travels. The charity’s training workshops and courses teaches the community orchard groups to support the orchards with organic, wildlife-friendly methods of pest control and growth enhancement, and to comply to a permaculture framework wherever possible. From planting more trees and educating residents, The Orchard Project is also managing to preserve many forgotten, rare-breed apple varieties, such as the ‘Hounslow Wonder’ apple. Surplus fruit from orchards is never wasted; The Orchard Project has launched its own juice and cider enterprise to ensure the orchard fruit is always put to good use, using 12 tonnes of rescued fruit between 2018 and 2019.

The project still has a long way to go, but one tree at a time, we can all get closer to having fresh fruit on our doorstep. As societies become increasingly lonely and divided, The Orchard Project brings communities closer through nature. And what could be more natural than that?

To find out more about The Orchard Project or to donate or become a member, visit theorchardproject.org.uk.

The above article by Rose Gabbertas first published on goodnewsshared.com in Nov, 2020.

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Traid

How charity Traid is working to stop clothes from being thrown away

Some good news in tough times – Brixton’s Traid on Acre Lane is still open.

Too many places in Brixton are closed, so it is good to see that Traid has stayed open, despite the closure of its next door neighbour Joy – a company that launched in Brixton nearly 30 years ago.

Manager Tom Davies has worked for Traid for five years and in the Brixton branch since lockdown.

Traid is a charity working to stop clothes from being thrown away.

It turns waste clothes into resources to reduce the environmental and social impacts of the clothing industry.

It also funds international projects to improve conditions and working practices in the textile industry, and educates people about the impact of textiles on the environment and their lives and how to make more sustainable choices.

Laura Casas, who was the Brixton shop manager when we visited a year ago, has just had a baby, so is obviously too busy looking for her baby’s clothes rather than working in Traid looking after the clothes there!

Tom was born in Cardiff and “raised his whole life” in the nearby seaside town of Penarth on the Severn estuary.

I turned 18 when I came to London to university to study product design,” he says.

I realised I was attracted to clothes at a young age, maybe about four, when I started to dress up as Mary Poppins and forced the whole family to partake in the act!

This made me realise that just with a simple change of outfit you can change not only others’ perceptions of you but also your perception of the world.’’

Tom started tailoring a few years after his degree, continuing his interest in clothes and, in particular, secondhand/vintage – “not only because I’m anti ‘fast fashion’ but also because of the story these items have or you can make up about them”.

A lot of work goes on behind the scenes in Traid, which most people don’t realise is taking place, Tom says.

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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TRAID’s Behind the Seams Issue 10 Out now! Click link in bio. Huge thanks ? to the brilliant contributors helping us to unpick the socio-environmental impacts of clothes and what we can do about it. Dr Carolyn Mair @psychologyforfashion delves into the psychology of fashion and why defining your sense of self is so vital when it comes to saying no to fast fashion, @tansyhoskins reveals the extent of the devastation manufacturing shoes have on people and planet; Liz Goodwin, Chair of @londonwasteandrecyclingboard on its upcoming Repair Week and repair as a vital strategy to keep clothes in use for longer; the @welovecharityshops advocate for charity and local authority reuse partnerships with TRAID; and TRAID’s partners supporting cotton farmers and garment workers reporting on how Covid is impacting their work including @pesticideactionnetworkuk, @fairtradeuk and @amma_srilanka. Plus TRAID has opened a new sustainably created charity shop in Lewisham! #traid #charityshops #secondhandfirst #secondhand #consumption #garmentworkers #organic #cotton #cottonfarmers

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Tasks in the shop change regularly. Before Covid, a typical week would include travel to Traid’s main warehouse and sorting through thousands of donations to make a selection for the shop.

Processing the selection takes a team of people – from handling, steaming the clothes, pricing, categorising, and organising by season, until, finally, they reach the shop floor, “where,” says Tom, “we in Brixton provide excellent customer service and engage with our local community”.

It’s an unpopular opinion, but I very much enjoyed the lockdown,” he reveals.

I live in a warehouse community, so I didn’t get lonely and I had time to focus on some of my passion projects, deigning and making clothes and accessories.

Traid was closed for five months in total and it was a struggle.’’

Only some of its shops could get a rent break or reduction, “As you can imagine, costs in London are very high – especially for a non-profit charity,” Tom says.

The regulars and volunteers he works with include Maria Diaz Franco from Seville in Spain, where her family still lives. She has lived in London for three years and been working for Traid for a year and in Brixton for one month.

My job title is sales assistant, however, the role includes an inexhaustible range of tasks, she says. “My favourite being working and selecting the never ending donations, finding the hidden gems to display in store.’’

Despite living more than 13 miles away in Barking, Maria loves working in Brixton – “a fantastic, unique and vibrant community”.

Originally from Texas, Tianna Patterson is a volunteer who has helped out at Traid for six months.

I love getting out of the house and being amongst people, and obviously love fashion, so – people and fashion – what else is there to love!’’

Tom also has a long commute from his home in Clapton, East London. “I endure the cycle and enjoy coming to Brixton for the diversity, the vibe, the mix of cultures and to enter the nightlife – when we are able to join it!’’

All the stylish window dressing is done by Italian Francesco Colucci, a Brixton resident.

His work is now done at night, so he does not have to worry about a mask while working alone. He still does a great job and attracts customers.

Tom has hopes for Traid. “It’s not my place to say, but I can only hope Traid continues to grow and support more and more people in different areas of the textile industry in developing countries; as well as to influence people away from the fast fashion industry and to shop second hand!’’

The above article by Simone Richardson first published on brixtonblog.com in Oct, 2020.

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Northern Soul Kitchen

Nourishing the community, one drum-banging bear at a time.

Across the country poor families struggle to afford healthy food, but one community has united social business and art to provide a tasty solution.

As a new study shows the UK’s poorest families can’t afford to keep up with government guidelines on healthy eating, one local community is bringing together social business and art to break down those barriers.

This week, the Food Foundation warned that nutritious foods can be as much as three times the price of less healthy ones, making them out of reach for less well-off families.

But in the Northumberland town of Berwick-upon-Tweed, the Northern Soul Kitchen is determined that everyone in their community has access to good, healthy food.

They take unsold, yet edible products from supermarkets, local shops and households to create affordable and balanced meals for all.

In their pay-as-you-feel café visitors can pay what they think the food is worth, donate whatever amount they can afford or even volunteer their time and skills to pay for a meal.

The café is normally subsidised by the group’s outside catering jobs, but due to Covid-19 restrictions, these have been cancelled.

We have the same running costs that everyone else has, as a business, but we only ask that people pay what they can,” said project manager Millie Stanford. “Sometimes the donations we receive don’t exactly meet the running costs of the project. Usually we keep ourselves above water by doing outside catering and events. Obviously Covid wiped our calendar clean.”

Now award-winning artist Jonny Hannah has stepped in to help them raise the money they need to keep going. He has produced a limited edition artwork on sale through the Northern Soul Kitchen website with all proceeds going direct to the project.

I’m a big fan of independent retailers. Without the big chain behind them, they can really make a difference,” says Hannah, who won a BAFTA for his 2000 animated film “The Man with the Beautiful Eyes”.

Northern Soul Kitchen take food that was going to be thrown away, and it’s a kind of alchemy. They make magic from nothing.”

 

Stanford said that the money raised from Hannah’s poster will help them stay “above water” through the coronavirus restrictions.

Jonny has been such an absolute star to work with, and created something really beautiful. It’s a really big help,” she added.

Hannah discovered Northern Soul Kitchen while researching for a planned exhibition about Northumberland folklore – now on hold due to Covid-19. The poster draws on the special sense of community that Hannah sees in Northumberland, as well as the rich local history.

She’s wearing a bear mask because it’s the symbol of Berwick,” he explains. “There’s a famous bear in Berwick, who was called Wojtek. He was from the Polish army and was brought across after the Second World War as a sort of mascot.

The inspiration may come from the past, but the artwork is about looking to the future with hope.

It’s a bear-mask wearing woman banging a drum, saying things could improve should we act collectively – with a dose of camaraderie,” says Hannah. “That sort of positivity, I think, is important.

Jonny Hannah’s creative support for the Berwick community is just one of the Reasons to be Cheerful you’ll find in next week’s magazine. As the UK prepares for the impact of a second wave of coronavirus, we’re unearthing the positive stories to add some much-needed positivity to your day.

Get your copy – featuring our own exclusive art cover from Jonny Hannah – from your local vendor from Monday October 5, or find out how to subscribe here.

To find out more about Northern Soul Kitchen, and to buy a copy of Hannah’s poster see northernsoulkitchen.co.uk

The above article by Laura Kelly first published on bigissue.com in Oct, 2020.

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Too Good To Go

Zero waste App “Too Good To Go” is a trailblazer in food sustainability.

Introducing Too Good To Go, the in-store food pickup service that is clamping down on needless disposal by offering customers the surplus stock left over by eateries at the end of the business day.

A study commissioned by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations found that one third of all food produced for human consumption is discarded annually, amounting to a total of 1.6 billion tonnes.

The inquiry determined that consumers from industrialised nations generate 222 million tonnes of waste per annum—a figure that is equivalent to the net food output of the entirety of sub-Saharan Africa.

The scale of the loss is unconscionable: at the consumption level it adds up to 100kg per capita in Europe and North America. The FAO estimate that if food waste were a country, it would be the third highest pollutant, contributing to 8% of all greenhouse gas emissions.

One of the adverse by-products of a consumer society is its normalisation of a perfect standard of produce, which results in a disproportionately large mass of avoidable waste. At Too Good To Go, the mission is to intercept the food supply chain and scotch the vast quantities of edibles that are being dumped unnecessarily.

Founded in Denmark in 2015 and developed as a mobile application in Switzerland the following year, Too Good To Go endeavours to curb the environmental hot potato of food waste accumulated by retailers.

After downloading the free app, users are required to enter their postcode, allowing them to browse through an assortment of local food bundles available for collection at discount prices, marked down from their original value at a cost typically ranging between £3 to £6.

Whether it be baked confectionaries, groceries, sandwiches, or desserts, each “Magic Bag” is filled with a raft of unsold provisions that are prepared by the partner establishment and available for purchase shortly before closing time.

Since its launch, Too Good To Go have expanded into fifteen countries across Europe and are affiliated with over 54,000 businesses, from restaurants and patisseries, to convenience stores, hotels, and cafés, including prominent companies such as Starbucks, Aldi, Costa Coffee, and Ikea.

There are currently 26 million active users of the app who have collectively saved a staggering 46.5 million meals. Food waste is increasingly being recognised as a critical world issue, but though resource misuse may be creeping up the global political agenda, the challenge that lies ahead cannot be overstated.

The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) predict that in the span of a decade the volume of food wasted will rise by a third, mounting up to 2.1 billion tonnes, unless consumers and corporations make a concerted effort to undo this disquieting trend.

Sustainable Development Goal 12, promulgated at the 2015 United Nations General Assembly, urges for firms to reduce their ecological footprint by dissociating economic expansion from degradation of the natural world. It advances the framework of “life cycle thinking”, which is an approach to becoming alert to the environmental repercussions of business practices and consumer choices.

Another key point for consideration in the fight against food waste is the ambiguity surrounding expiration dates, which are responsible for 10 per cent of the 88 million tonnes of foodstuffs disposed in Europe at each stage of the value chain.

 

The primary source of confusion arises from food package labels, which may feature any variety of terms including “use by”, “best before”, “sell by”, and “display until”, when in practice it is only the former two criteria of which the shopper must be made aware.

It is crucial for the public to note the distinction between the “use by” date, set as a deadline for fresh, chilled, and perishable commodities, after which the goods present health risks if consumed, and the “best before” date, which specifies the window of time an article of food will maintain its optimum quality.

The critical difference is that the latter is an approximation made by the manufacturer based upon the timeframe when the comestible is at its peak, but it is not, as is often mistakenly believed, an indicator of its safety to eat.

In February 2019, Too Good To Go introduced to Danish supermarkets a new initiative advising industry leaders in the food and drink sector to append to their labels an “often good after” date to encourage buyers to use their own discretion to determine whether the food is fit to be eaten.

A coalition of multinationals, including Unilever, Carlsberg, and Arla Foods have adopted the scheme to clarify to customers that the timespan during which products are edible is longer than what is commonly assumed, due to the undefined and misleading cut-off points associated with an item’s shelf life.

Too Good To Go recommend that we refer to organoleptic properties, such as the texture, consistency, and colour of food to assess whether it has spoiled, as opposed to throwing it out immediately after it has passed its “best before” date.

According to the UN, a mere quarter of the food that is dissipated every year is sufficient to sustain the 870 million people worldwide who face food insecurity.

The problem of food waste is systemic in nature and requires the cooperation of stakeholders at each stage of the food system, including production, processing, distribution, consumption, and refuse management.

The ingenuity of Too Good To Go lies in its appeal as a ‘win-win’ solution for all players: overcome are the sunk costs that companies incur when the unpredictability of footfall means that there is overstock remaining after hours.

Most importantly, however, is that greater efficiency of the food outlet’s daily operations will slash its waste footprint. The vision of a circular economy promoted by Too Good To Go is based on the principle of designing out waste and enhancing resource productivity.

https://youtu.be/GvEnMu2cTgs

Curtailing food waste is one of the foremost ways in which global warming can be reversed. To ensure the sustenance of future generations, it is vital for us to be mindful of the long-term implications of our consumer behaviours.

To discover more about Too Good To Go and join the growing community of “Waste Warriors”, please visit their website.

The above article by Zayna Dar first published on goodnewsshared.com in Oct, 2020.

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