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The Real Junk Food Project

Earlier this year I wrote about Britain’s first zero-waste restaurant. Here’s its opposite: a 100% waste cafe. Not because it throws everything away, but because everything it serves is food that would otherwise have been wasted. That aspect of the Real Junk Food Project isn’t entirely new – there have been pop-up restaurants on that […]

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octopi

Pharrell Williams’ ocean plastic jeans

Pharrell Williams may be best known for his uplifting hit song Happy, or for his fondness for oversize hats (a hat made in Luton, I hear from the local hat-making fraternity) His interest in sustainability is less known, but Williams also happens to be the owner and creative director of an innovative fashion fabrics company […]

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Restart_Logo_Black_Complete

Fixing gadgets with The Restart Project

One of the key ways to reduce our use of materials, and limit the amount we throw away, is to repair things. That’s particularly important in the area of electronics. They require relatively scarce metals, and electronic waste is hazardous and complicated to process, which is why a lot of it ends up in faraway […]

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mobile phones

Three forms of obsolescence

One of the recurring themes of anti-consumerism is planned obsolescence – the idea that many goods are designed with a limited life. They’re designed to work for a certain amount of time and then break, or be replaced by an upgraded model. In some discussions, the implication is that companies are being underhand and selling […]

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peepoo-bag-how-5

Five alternatives to the flushing toilet

For most of us, the standard flushing toilet is the most basic of technologies. Because every house we’ve ever lived in has one, it’s almost impossible to imagine that one can do anything other than flush away human waste. If we have experienced an alternative, it’s likely to have been a primitive and stinky one […]

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ewaste destinations

If your secondhand laptop could talk…

Every year, households in Britain throw out two million tonnes of waste electronic products. A few of them are taken back for dis-assembly by the manufacturer, some go in the bin, and others are exported. But what if you could those secondhand laptops and tablets could keep communicating? What if, like trackers attached to the […]

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snact

Turning food waste into business opportunity

Did you know that 58% of carrots grown in the UK go to waste? For every carrot you buy, another one was thrown away. It’s one of the many striking facts about food waste I picked up from Tristram Stuart’s book on the subject. A third of the food we buy in Britain never gets […]

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the-waste-makers

Vance Packard’s consumerist utopia

You might not have heard of Vance Packard. He is not well known today, but in 1960 he wrote a book about the onset of consumerism called The Waste Makers. It describes the invention of planned obsolescence and decries the advent of a throwaway society with striking prescience. In the opening of The Waste Makers, […]

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food-waste-breakdown

Food waste and food loss

This week the World Bank has been highlighting the problem of food waste, reinforcing previous findings that between a quarter and a third of the world’s food is lost or wasted. I’ve written about this before, pointing out that this happens in developing countries as well as overconsuming Western ones. The World Bank report gives […]

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loowatt-mural

How Loowatt is rethinking the toilet

Last year I wrote about the importance of reinventing the toilet for the 21st century – the need for waste systems that recognise waste as a resource, that capture and recycle nutrients and don’t contaminate clean water. This weekend my mum, who is a dedicated Madagascar-watcher, introduced me to a great example of just such […]

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