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Companies, Cities Announce Anti-Plastic Straws Plans And Policies

July 11, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Several companies have announced their plans to stop using plastic straws, while a number of towns and cities have revealed proposals to ban single-use plastics and fine firms and organizations that will not comply. Starbucks said it plans to remove all plastic straws from its stores by 2020 and replace them with recyclable plastic lids for cold beverages. Starting September 1, 2018, plastic straws would only be available by request at its hotels, Hyatt said. For its part, Hilton Hotels said it plans to remove plastic straws from 650 locations in 2018.[Image Credit: © PublicDomainPictures]

Erin Corbett , "These 8 Companies Are Ditching Plastic Straws. Here’s How They Are Replacing Them", Fortune.com, July 11, 2018, © Time Inc.
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Bacardi Mixes With Lonely Whale To End Use of Single-Use Plastic Straws by 2020

July 11, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Liquor brand Bacardi has joined nonprofit group Lonely Whale to stop the use of 1 billion single-use plastic straws by 2020. As part of the company’s efforts to help protect the environment, Bacardi has committed to review its global supply chain to remove non-essential and non-recyclable single-use plastic waste. Also, the company will encourage consumers to join its #TheFutureDoesntSuck campaign.[Image Credit: © Lonely Whale]

"Bacardi in global collaboration to reduce single-use plastic waste", FoodBev.com, July 11, 2018, © FoodBev Media Ltd
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Starbucks Imposes 5p “Latte Levy” On Single-Use Paper Coffee Cups In UK

July 10, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Coffeeshop chain Starbucks has started charging customers 5p for single-use paper coffee cups in the UK. Part of the company’s efforts to reduce the use of 2.5 billion disposable cups each year, the “latte levy” was rolled out nationwide after a three-month trial in London. Customers who use reusable mugs receive a 25p discount off any Starbucks drink, while in-store customers encouraged to use ceramic cups instead.[Image Credit: © Starbucks Corporation]

Rebecca Smithers, "Starbucks introduces 'latte levy' of 5p on single-use paper cups", The Guardian, July 10, 2018, © Guardian News and Media Limited
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Specialty Breads Eyes 50-Percent Cut In Plastics Use By 2020

July 10, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Specialty Breads, a company that supplies frozen bread and dough to restaurants, hotels, pubs, cafés and caterers, has announced its plan to reduce by 50 percent its use of single-use plastics by 2020. Also, the company said it aims to use recyclable or recycled packaging, use solar cooling to enhance efficiency of refrigerators, provide sales staff with low emission or hybrid cars, and achieve zero-landfill status for its bakery operations.[Image Credit: © Specialty Breads Ltd]

Vince Bamford, "Speciality Breads aiming to halve single-use plastics", Bakery Info UK, July 10, 2018, © William Reed Business Media Ltd
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Hyatt To Check Out Plastic Straws And Picks From Its Hotels Worldwide

July 9, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Hospitality company Hyatt has announced that it will remove single-use plastics, including plastic straws and drink picks, from its hotels worldwide. Part of the company’s efforts to help protect the ocean, the move will see the company providing straws and picks on request only. Also, the company said environment-friendly alternatives will be provided where available. Hyatt’s move follows coffeeshop chain Starbucks’ earlier announcement of its plan to become straw-free by 2020.[Image Credit: © Pete H]

Melissa Locker, "So long, sucker: Hyatt is also ditching straws and single-use plastics", Fast Company, July 09, 2018, © Mansueto Ventures, LLC
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Starbucks Says Goodbye To Plastic Straws, Says Hello To Earth-Friendly Lids

July 9, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Coffeeshop chain Starbucks has announced plans to stop using plastic straws at its more than 28,000 locations worldwide by 2020. Part of the company’s efforts to reduce waste and protect the environment, the move will also see Starbucks replacing plastic straws with the recyclable lid developed by Emily Alexander, an engineer at the chain’s Global Research and Development. At present, the recyclable lids are used for some drinks, including Draft Nitro and Cold Foam in more than 8,000 locations in the US and Canada. These lids will be used for all iced drinks, the company said, except Frappuccino, which will have a straw made from paper or compostable plastic made from fermented plant starch or other environment-friendly material.[Image Credit: © Starbucks Corporation]

Bonnie Rochman , "Straws are out, lids are in: Starbucks announces environmental milestone", Starbucks Newsroom, July 09, 2018, © Starbucks Corporation
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Expenditures On Food Waste Reduction Significantly Reduce Operating Costs

July 6, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
The Champions 12.3 organization has determined that every dollar food service operators spend on programs to curb food waste results in a six-dollar reduction in operating costs. Researchers looked at financial cost and benefit data for 86 sites – including hospitals, schools, sports arenas, and similar facilities – in six countries and found that within one year, the sites had reduced food waste by 36 percent on average, and 64 percent had recouped their investment. The food service operators involved in the study invested in various food waste reduction programs, including purchasing smart scales or similar technology to measure their food waste, training staff in measurement and techniques to reduce waste, and redesigning menus. Seventy-nine percent of sites were able to keep their total investment in food waste reduction below $10,000.
Mike Buzalka, "Report: $1 investment on food waste reduction saves $6", Food Management (Penton), July 06, 2018, © Informa business
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Expenditures On Food Waste Reduction Significantly Reduce Operating Costs

July 6, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
The Champions 12.3 organization has determined that every dollar food service operators spend on programs to curb food waste results in a six-dollar reduction in operating costs. Researchers looked at financial cost and benefit data for 86 sites – including hospitals, schools, sports arenas, and similar facilities – in six countries and found that within one year, the sites had reduced food waste by 36 percent on average, and 64 percent had recouped their investment. The food service operators involved in the study invested in various food waste reduction programs, including purchasing smart scales or similar technology to measure their food waste, training staff in measurement and techniques to reduce waste, and redesigning menus. Seventy-nine percent of sites were able to keep their total investment in food waste reduction below $10,000.
Mike Buzalka, "Report: $1 investment on food waste reduction saves $6", Food Management (Penton), July 06, 2018, © Informa business
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Coca-Cola Goes Global With Its Reverse Vending Machine “World Without Waste” Program

July 3, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
As part of its long-term “World Without Waste” goal of recycling every PET bottle and aluminium can it produces, Coca-Cola is rewarding customers who return used beverage containers to its army of Reverse Vending Machines (RVMs). Earlier this month the company used the occasion of the 50th anniversary 2018 Special Olympics USA Games in Seattle to promote the initiative. Each container returned to an RVM triggered a 5¢ donation to Special Olympics Washington through the Coca-Cola Give platform. Participants were prompted to text the word “give” to learn about more opportunities to support local communities. Coca-Cola is conducting various versions of the promotion at music and sports events around the world, including recently Singapore, the U.K., India, and Bangladesh.
"Coca-Cola Expands Reverse Vending Machines for Recycling", brandchannel , July 03, 2018, © Interbrand/brandchannel
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PCC Community Markets Says To Remove Plastics From Delis by 2022

July 2, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Food co-op PCC Community Markets has promised to stop using plastics in its delis by 2022. At present, the company uses more than 5 million plastic packaging containers every year. According to PCC, it plans to replace plastic packaging with biodegradable compostable containers. In 2015, the company replaced plastic straws and utensils with compostable alternatives. [Image Credit: © Puget Consumers Co-op]

Michael Browne, "PCC to eliminate plastic in delis by 2022", Supermarket News, July 02, 2018, © Informa USA Inc
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Vancouver Retailer Nada Tells Shoppers Bring Their Own Packaging

July 2, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Nada, a new retailer in Vancouver, British Columbia, has started selling food products without packaging. Aimed at reducing plastic pollution, the move encourages customers to bring their own clean containers and bags for the food items they buy from the store. Customers can pay for bulk items by weight, while a dishwasher-safe tag will keep a record of the empty container, making the process faster the next time they shop. Nada sells package-free dry food items, bakery products, and toiletries and cleaning supplies. [Image Credit: © Nada]

Kate Bratskeir , "The rise of the plastic-free, zero-waste grocery store", Mic.com, July 02, 2018, © Mic Network, Inc.
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Australian Retailers Broadcast Their Environment-Friendly Credentials

July 2, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
In Australia, supermarkets are using their environment-friendly efforts as marketing tools. Retailers are also using their “green credentials” to position themselves against their competitors and shield themselves from the bad PR effects of news reports about pollution-related disasters. For example, in April 2018, Woolworths announced it will stop using single-use bags across the country by end of June. Ikea Australia said it will buy back and resell used furniture, a practice it has been doing in other countries. As more companies make environment-friendly claims, they face the risk of consumers becoming skeptical about their corporate social responsibility efforts and, consequently, the brands being damaged.[Image Credit: © Stefan Schweihofer]
Louise Grimmer, et al., "Green is the new black: why retailers want you to know about their green credentials", Inside Retail, July 02, 2018, © InsideRetail
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International Companies Urge India’s Maharashtra State To Ease Plastic Ban

June 29, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Multinational corporations, including Amazon and H&M, are reportedly urging the state of Maharashtra in India to relax its recently approved ban on single-use plastic. Coming after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s campaign for an end to the use of single-use plastic in the country by 2022, the state’s move is expected to raise operating costs for companies. Retailers and beverage manufactures are among companies that use plastic packaging. Business groups, including the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, have called on the government to soften its anti-plastic policies.[Image Credit: © Hans Braxmeier]

"Amazon, H&M Pressing to Soften India's Plastic Ban", The Business of Fashion, June 29, 2018, © The Business of Fashion
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Student’s Invention Helps Fight Food Waste At Home

June 29, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Eleven-year-old British student Rumaan Malik didn’t like it when apples went bad while sitting in the fruit bowl at home. Concerned about wasted food, she invented what she calls the “Alarm Cup,” in the process winning online supermarket Ocado’s Food Waste Challenge award. The grocer then partnered with design website, Little Inventors, to create a prototype of the cup.  Her invention sounds an alarm before the fruit goes bad, thereby keeping it out of the trash. The cup also has a small touchscreen display with icons for different produce, and recipes such as apple crumble and banana bread that put aging fruits to good use. [Image Credit: © LittleInventors.org]
"Eleven-year-old girl's groundbreaking invention could help reduce food waste; Some £13bn-worth of food is binned annually", The Independent (United Kingdom), June 29, 2018, © Independent Digital News and Media Ltd
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Dairy Farmers Can Turn Waste Products Into Electricity, Methane Gas

June 29, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

A recent podcast sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation presented ideas for recycling inedible products from dairy farms. One farmer in Pennsylvania, for example, who is participating in the No Taste for Waste campaign uses an anaerobic digester – the original purpose was to reduce odor –  to recycle food waste into enough electric power and methane to supply the farm and roughly 100 other homes. It’s a better way to deal with waste than sending it to a landfill. But another solution is to, whenever possible, channel surplus food “to those that are less fortunate” and to animal feed processors. [Image Credit: © Univ. of Minnesota Extension]

Micheal Clements, "Farms Can Help Reduce Food Waste", American Farm Bureau Federation, June 29, 2018, © American Farm Bureau Federation
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RAW Pressery Founder Lets “Ecological Karma” Guide His Company

June 25, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Anuj Rakyan, founder and managing director of Rakyan Beverages, producer of India’s RAW Pressery juices, is a strong believer in the “sustainable lifestyle” and “ecological karma” and wants his brand to reflect these guiding principles. Rakyan’s three-part plan to achieve a sustainable lifestyle begins with the use of solar power in a new plant in Panvel (near Mumbai). The second leg is to put the waste material – seeds, stems, and pulp – to good use on farms and at animal shelters creating secondary raw material like manure or fodder. The third leg is trickier, because there really is no alternative to using BPA plastic bottles, an environmental hazard, as packaging because his juices are pressurized. The answer for Rakyan was to create Rawcycle, an initiative to increase awareness about plastic pollution and to offer incentives to recycle PET bottles.

Arun Janardhan, "From thought to action on reusing and recycling", Live Mint, June 25, 2018, © HT Media Ltd
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Blockchain-Based App Helps Atlanta Businesses Reduce Food Waste

June 24, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

A technology that allows distribution – but not copying – of digital information, blockchain was originally devised for the digital currency Bitcoin. Now a food waste management company in the Atlanta, Ga., area is using a blockchain-based app to connect businesses with local charities to ease deliveries of leftover food. The idea behind the Goodr app is to reduce food waste by providing data about what types of surplus food app users are producing. The Goodr app keeps a data ledger for clients showing how much food is wasted, and where they might be losing money. Data indicate what food gets wasted the most, what the community connections are, and how the environment is affected. Goodr hopes to expand to Seattle, Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., Miami, Dallas, Houston and San Francisco by the end of 2019.

Gillian Brassil, "Meet Goodr, the company using blockchain technology to reduce food waste", CNBC, June 24, 2018, © CNBC LLC
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Cut Back On Plastic Packaging, Leading Manufacturers Hear From As You Sow

June 22, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

As You Sow, a nonprofit group representing 25 investment companies managing more than $1 trillion in assets, has called on Nestle SA, PepsiCo Inc., Procter & Gamble Co., and Unilever NV, to reduce their use of plastic in packaging of their products. Signed by investment managers, including Hermes Investment Management and Impax Asset Management, the initiative calls plastic packaging damaging to the environment. Companies should reveal their annual use of plastic packaging, establish goals for reducing plastic packaging, and exert efforts to recycle plastic packaging, the group said.[Image Credit: © Emilian Robert Vicol]

Emily Chasan, "Investors Demand Nestle, Pepsi and Others Cut Plastic Use", Bloomberg, June 22, 2018, © Bloomberg LP
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U.S. Organic Coffee Producer Chameleon Debuts Sustainability Program

June 21, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Texas-based Chameleon Cold-Brew has launched a global sustainability program that hopes to create five community-driven coffee farming projects in four countries this year that will lead to better organically-grown coffee and improved farmer livelihoods. The company says it believes strongly that empowering farmer-partners with “proper tools, resources, and support” will drive sustainability at the grassroots level. The company’s first two projects include the completed Cenfrocafe Coffee Quality lab in San Ignacio, Peru, and the Myanmar Organic Initiative. Chameleon was founded in 2010 and acquired by Nestlé USA in 2017. It uses only certified organic, responsibly-sourced coffee.

"Chameleon Cold-Brew Launches Multifaceted Sustainability Program", Bevnet.com, June 21, 2018, © Bevnet.com
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Chicago Restaurant Chain Plans To Stop Using Plastic Straws

June 20, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Chicago-based restaurant chain operator Lettuce Entertain You Enterprise said it plans to stop using plastic straws by October 1, 2018. With more than 100 local restaurants and bars having committed support for the Shedd Aquarium’s “Shedd the Straw” campaign, the company’s support for the movement could speed up the elimination of plastic straws. Popular among restaurants and similar establishments, plastic straws are not easily recycled and usually end up in the ocean. [Image Credit: © LETTUCE ENTERTAIN YOU ® ENTERPRISES]
Greg Trotter, "Lettuce Entertain You restaurant empire to phase out plastic straws at its 120 restaurants", Chicago Tribune, June 20, 2018, © tronc
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New App Helps Reduce Food Waste With Smart Shopping, Storage, Cooking

June 20, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Silicon Valley-based Chefling, Inc., has created a smartphone app that helps consumers minimize daily food waste. Available now on the App Store and Google Play, the app includes food inventory organization, intuitive recipe suggestion, and shopping list management. According to the company, consumers using the app can track and make the most out of recently purchased and existing ingredients in the pantry. The app monitors the freshness of added foods, notifies the consumer when foods are about to expire, and suggests recipes for the foods already purchased. The app also features integration with voice assistant devices like Amazon Echo and Google Home: it will add foods to a shopping list and provide step-by-step cooking instructions. [Image Credit: © Chefling, Inc.]

"Chefling App Provides Consumers with a Simple Way to Minimize Food Waste with Intuitive Recipe Suggestions", PR Newswire, June 20, 2018, © PR Newswire Association LLC
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EU Clarifies Rules On Surplus Food Used As Animal Feed

June 19, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Surplus food cannot be categorized as food waste when it is used as animal feed, according to revised European Union rules known as the Waste Framework Directive. Substances already covered by feed legislation would not be unnecessarily included in the scope of waste legislation, a clarification advocated by the trade group European Former Foodstuff Processors Association (EFFPA), which represents companies that turn foodstuffs into animal feed. According to an EFFPA representative, under the old rules Europe-wide processors of surplus food occasionally would have had their operations interrupted by environmental control authorities who incorrectly interpreted former foodstuffs as a waste. [Image Credit: © Europa.eu]

Jane Byrne, "Legal clarity for surplus food used in feed", FeedNavigator.com, June 19, 2018, © William Reed Business Media Ltd
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Mexico’s AvoWater Arrives Soon In U.S. In Biodegradable Bottles

June 15, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

The founder of Mexico’s Grupo Escamp says it is finalizing modifications to packaging and labeling and will launch its avocado drink AvoWater in the U.S. within two or three months. The preservative-free RTD water, made with avocado, fresh lemon juice and peppermint, is rich in fiber, vitamins and protein, says Evelyn Escalera. It is sold in three sweetener variants: stevia, pure cane sugar and blended sugar-stevia. The drink is packaged in PET bottles, but the company recently rolled out 100 percent biodegradable bottles made with avocado seed resin. AvoWater will be sold in 500 ml and 360 ml bottles in the U.S., about half and half PET and biodegradable. 

Kacey Culliney, "AvoWater primed for US expansion and focused on biodegradable bottling", Beverage Daily, June 15, 2018, © William Reed Business Media Ltd
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McDonald's In The UK To Phase Out Plastic Straws

June 15, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

McDonald’s in the UK will start using recyclable paper straws later this year, with plastic straws withdrawn completely next year. The company in the UK uses some 1.8 million straws each day, and the move follows a two-month trial at certain UK restaurants. It also follows a similar announcement by UK supermarket chain Waitrose. McDonald’s in other countries, including France, Norway, Sweden and the US, are expected to run trials later this year in their own efforts to find schemes to eliminate plastic straws.[Image Credit: © Manfred Richter ]

Adam Vaughan, "McDonald's to switch to paper straws in UK after customer campaign", The Guardian, June 15, 2018, © Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies
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TIPA Of Israel Develops Biodegradable Plastic Packaging

June 14, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Israel-based TIPA said it has developed a fully compostable plastic packaging film. While the product has most of the characteristics of plastic packaging, it disintegrates into water, carbon dioxide, and organic matter that can be degraded by bacteria. In 2016, TIPA began selling its packaging film, which the company started developing in 2012. Later, the company secured the required certifications, including for food packaging. TIPA, which now has 30 employees, saw sales of its packaging films grow four times in 2017 from the previous year.Israel-based TIPA said it has developed a fully compostable plastic packaging film. While the product has most of the characteristics of plastic packaging, it disintegrates into water, carbon dioxide, and organic matter that can be degraded by bacteria. In 2016, TIPA began selling its packaging film, which the company started developing in 2012. Later, the company secured the required certifications, including for food packaging. TIPA, which now has 30 employees, saw sales of its packaging films grow four times in 2017 from the previous year. [Image Credit: © TIPA Corp.]
Ruth Schuster , "Israeli Company Invents Plastic Packaging You Can Compost", Haaretz, June 14, 2018, © Haaretz Newspaper
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Tesco Sells Greener Lemons To Help Prevent Food Waste At Home

June 11, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

British supermarket chain Tesco has relaxed its rules on the color quality of lemons it sells to prevent food waste at home. The company is selling lemons that are slightly green to extend the shelf like by an extra couple of days. According to the company, the lemons are as crisp and zesty as the fully yellow versions. Tesco imports most of its lemons from South Africa, whose lemon harvesting season begins in late June. The company will now take the greener South African lemons earlier than usual to keep supplies going. [Image Credit: © Tesco]

"Tesco to sell perfect 'green' lemons to help customers facing U.K. shortage and cut down on food waste", Fresh Plaza, June 11, 2018, © Fresh Plaza
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Carlsberg Sees Coal-Free Power Generation Within Four Years

June 8, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Danish brewer Carlsberg is committed to obtaining all of its energy from renewable sources and eliminating the use of coal by 2022. With the energy storage market expected to double six times over the next 12 years, Danish brewer Carlsberg is exploring integration methods for energy storage to support and optimize onsite renewable power generation. Carlsberg’s director of environment and utilities told a webinar that storage solutions are being explored as only one part of the energy matrix. The company considers battery storage a supplementary solution along with solar projects. Carlsberg is one of only three major companies that has approved a science-based target to reach a 1.5 C ambition in line with the Paris Agreement. It sources 45 percent of its electricity onsite, but storage solutions aren’t as advanced as onsite renewables. 

"Carlsberg exploring energy storage to supplement onsite generation", Edie.net, June 08, 2018, © Faversham House Ltd
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Indian PM Announces Single-Use Plastic Ban By 2022

June 6, 2018: 12:00 AM EST


India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, announced that the country plans to scrap single-use plastic by 2022, as part of World Environment Day, which India is hosting this year. Modi also announced a scheme to address marine plastic, and agreed to join Clean Seas, a UN campaign.[Image Credit: © United Nations Environment Programme]

"India to eliminate the use of single-use plastics by 2022", FoodBev , June 06, 2018, © FoodBev Media Ltd.
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N.Z. Supermarket Tests Bring-Your-Own Meat Containers

June 1, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

A New Zealand supermarket is testing an unusual solution to waste management: customers may bring their own reusable containers to the store to package fresh meat purchases. For the time being, the test is limited to the butcher and seafood counters, but if successful could be extended to bakery, deli and bulk foods. Other stores, however, are casting a skeptical eye at the initiative, mainly because of concerns about food safety, hygiene and correct measurement of weight. The store says there are restrictions: containers must have lids and be suitable for weighing and handling; price labels must be placed on containers for security; and customers must provide clean containers and accept the safety risk. ]

Michelle Cheng , "Supermarket encourages customers to bring their OWN containers for meat and seafood - but is it safe?", Daily Mail Australia, June 01, 2018, © Associated Newspaper Ltd.
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Carrefour Announces 100% Recyclable, Reusable Or Compostable Packaging Goal

May 31, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

French supermarket chain Carrefour is aiming for own-brand packaging that is 100% reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025, and to stop using non-recyclable packaging for organic fruit and vegetables by the end of this year, as well as ending the sale of plastic straws. By 2022, it intends to use 50% recycled plastics in bottles for its juice, soda and water products. The announcement coincides with a European Commission announcement to ban single-use plastics like straws and drink stirrers in the European Union. Plans also cover plastic cutlery and cotton buds, and by 2025 EU states will be expected to collect 90% of single-use plastic beverage bottles.[Image Credit: © annca]

"Carrefour own-brand products to have fully recyclable packaging", FoodBev , May 31, 2018, © FoodBev Media Ltd.
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In India, Coca-Cola Learned A Lesson About Addressing Community Concerns

May 31, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

People in communities around the world where Coca-Cola bottlers operate know that water is the main ingredient in the company’s products and assume that production consumes vast amounts of water. When the people of Kerala, India, accused the local Coca-Cola bottler of depleting the water supply – the company denied the charge – it dawned on executives that it needed to “address its responsibility for water” beyond the confines of the plant. The company launched a risk assessment, interviewing customers, supply chain partners, academics, NGOs, governments, and industry peers. The conclusion: “action on the state of water was necessary.” Coca-Cola realized that a sustainable approach to water was essential. But the assessment also shed light on the fact that the social aspects of water use, especially local community concerns, need to be addressed when implementing strategic goals.

Barie Carmichael and Brian Moriarty , "How Coca-Cola came to terms with its own water crisis", The Washington Post, May 31, 2018, © The Washington Post
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Food Industry Paper Reports On Progress In Fight Against Waste Since 2016

May 26, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

After the British food waste experts at Wrap reported on the enormity of the problem, trade newspaper The Grocer in 2016 launched an editorial campaign to double the amount of edible food being redistributed, to lobby for governmental fiscal incentives to curb waste, and to encourage greater engagement and cooperation in the food industry. Wrap had reported that 1.9 million tons of edible food was being wasted annually, some by grocery stores, but the most by producers who left ugly but otherwise perfectly good produce in the fields to rot. A lot of edible food – 525 million meals – could have been donated to serve the hungry but wasn’t. Since the launch of the campaign, there have been some major changes in the U.K. food and beverage distribution system, particularly in the areas of redistribution; commitment by retailers, suppliers, trade bodies, and campaigners to waste reduction; and increased transparency about waste policies and practices in the food industry.

Megan Tatum, "Reversing the rot on food waste: two years of our campaign", The Grocer, May 26, 2018, © William Reed Business Media
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Iceland Trials Return Scheme For Plastic Bottles

May 21, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

UK supermarket Iceland has installed a reverse vending machine in its Fulham store in London. The trial supports a government plan for return schemes to cut down on single-use plastics. The machine gives a 10 pence voucher, redeemable in-store, for each returned Iceland plastic bottle. The retailer has also pledged to eliminate plastic packaging from its own-label products. Earlier in May, the Co-op supermarket said it is going to trial a deposit scheme using machines at a number of music festivals over the summer.[Image Credit: © Iceland Foods Ltd]

"Iceland reverse vending machine pays customers to return bottles", FoodBev , May 21, 2018, © FoodBev Media Ltd.
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UK Plastics Tax May Reduce Single-Use Plastic, But Efforts Must Be Coordinated

May 18, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Introducing charges or taxes on plastics might reduce single-plastic usage in the United Kingdom. However, in response to a HM Treasury consultation on the proposals, the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) wants to ensure that any initiatives avoid duplicating policies and the costs associated for both businesses and consumers. In particular, the ACS has asked HM Treasury to consider the interaction with the current Packaging Recovery Notes System and the work being undertaken to reform it. 

Liz Wells, "ACS responds to consultation on single-use plastics", Talking Retail, May 18, 2018, © Independent Retail News
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Polish Student Invents Edible Vegetarian Packaging Made From Kombucha

May 16, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Edible packaging is becoming a reality with the creation of Scoby, the brainchild of Polish design student, Roza Janusz. With the potential to help reduce the use of plastic in packaging, Scoby is a vegetarian wrapping material made by mixing sugars and other organic substances with kombucha, a fermented drink produced with yeast, bacteria, and tea. During the process, the biocellulose membrane forms on the surface of the mixture and layers into a sheet-like material, similar to how an onion grows. With its long shelf life, Scoby can be used to wrap farmers' produce including vegetables, fruits, herbs, and seeds. It can also be used to pack instant meals. Given Scoby's acidic PH level and mineral compounds, it can also be used by farmers as a natural fertilizer. While Scoby is not yet available in the market yet, Janusz said plans are in the pipeline to make this alternative packaging commercially available soon.  [Image Credit: © Growing Pakaging]

Jesus Diaz, "This new edible packaging is grown from kombucha", Fast Company Design, May 16, 2018, © Mansueto Ventures, LLC
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Successful Australian Start-Up Sells Snap Frozen Unwanted Berries

May 16, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

An Australian couple committed to reducing food waste in their region have created a company that puts so-called “wonky” (i.e., miscolored, misshapen, or otherwise unsold) fruits rejected by supermarket chains to good use. They maintain a warehouse where they and their small staff snap freeze raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, and blackcurrants. Stuart and Allison McGruddy say they wanted to help berry growers manage any oversupply and reduce the waste. In 2016 found a niche market for safe and quality frozen berries, restoring public faith in the product after food scares associated with imported berries. The berries are carefully hand-picked, washed and frozen on the same day before being packaged into transparent zip-locked pouches. The berries arrive at the buyer’s door packed in dry ice.[Image Credit: © myberries.com.au]

"Couple put the freeze on berry growing waste", Moreton Life, May 16, 2018, © Moreton Life
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Singapore’s New Food Waste Standard: 70 Percent Recycled By 2030

May 16, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

After Singapore’s National Environment Agency (NEA) reported that the country generated more than 800,000 tons of food waste in 2017 – 140 kg per person – the Food Standards Committee and chief science agency issued a standard for food manufacturers to limit food waste. Singapore recycles about 16 percent of food waste now, according to the government; an NEA official said the new national target is 70 percent by 2030, requiring industry-wide cooperation between stakeholders, manufacturers, and processors. The new standard is expected to help reduce food waste and improve manufacturing practices through the more efficient use of food resources at all levels of the supply chain. It will consider food loss, waste, overproduction, expiration, spoilage, overcooked items, and contaminated foods.[Image Credit: © Singapore NEA]

Talal Husseini, "Singapore unveils first standard for food waste reduction", Food Processing Technology, May 16, 2018, © Verdict Media Limited
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Eat17 Escalates The Fight Against Single-Use Plastic

May 15, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Eat17, the eco-friendly retail and restaurant chain, is joining the battle against single-use plastic, introducing paper straws and bamboo cups in its restaurants. It is also bringing in refillable stations in its Bishop’s Stortford store for a range of products, including organic milk, wine, nuts, cereals and grains, and also washing up liquid and laundry detergent. It expects to roll the stations out to other stores during the year. Eat17 said the moves align with customers looking to become more eco-friendly and cut down on single-use plastics and pre-packaged food.[Image Credit: © EAT17]

Liz Wells, "Eat17 introduces initiatives to cut plastic waste", Talking Retail, May 15, 2018, © Independent Retail News
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Companies Start To Adopt World’s First Plastic-Free Packaging Mark

May 16, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

A ‘plastic-free’ Trust Mark has been launched to advise shoppers on the material used to package food and drink, as part of initiatives to cut the use of plastic in packaging. It was created by environmental group A Plastic Planet. Iceland is the first British retailer to adopt it, and it plans to use on its own-label products as part of its pledge to stamp out single-use plastic packaging by 2023. Beverage brand Teapigs will also display the Trust Mark on its packaging, and Dutch supermarket chain Ekoplaza is another early-adopter. It is the first retailer to build plastic-free aisles in its supermarkets. [Image Credit: © A PLASTIC PLANET]

Sarah Knapton, "World’s first plastic-free mark will help shoppers choose eco-friendly products", The Telegraph, May 16, 2018, © Telegraph Media Group Limited
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Keeping Coke Relevant In Nepal

May 10, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Coca-Cola’s country director for Nepal Ambuj Deo Singh says Coke has remained pretty much the same during its 132-year history but has also managed to be relevant in his country, and in many others. Relevance, he notes, comes from talking to consumers about their needs “in the language that they want us to speak.” An example is the recent ad campaign (“Coke Kham Russia Jam”), which “relates to everyone here in Nepal” because it is associated with momo (a type of dumpling). Coca-Cola is also associated with the festival of Dashain, celebrating human relationships. Singh says the company is planning to introduce new products, such as juices, in the near future. Plans also include making Kinley available nationwide and expanding the distribution base.

"‘Staying locally relevant under global vision is Coca-Cola’s mantra for success’", Onlinekhabar, May 10, 2018, © Onlinekhabar.com
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Sen. Casey‘s Bill Would Reimburse Farmers For Food Donation Costs

May 10, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-Pa.) introduced the Farm to Food Bank Act of 2018 (S. 2824) to establish food recovery networks in each state that would incentivize farmers to donate their produce directly to food banks to be distributed to the needy. The bill would authorize assistance to farmers and ranchers by reimbursing them for the costs to produce, harvest, pack, process, store, or transport to foodbanks food that is safe for consumption but lacks access to a retail market or supply chain. The bill is a response to the fact that food is often discarded on the farm if considered "ugly," overproduced, market conditions are unfavorable, or if an existing contract or retail market is lost. According to Feeding Pennsylvania, the commonwealth produces an abundance of fresh and nutritious food, yet 1.7 million residents struggle with hunger every day, 500,000 of whom are children.[Image Credit: © Sen. Bob Casey]

Sen. Bob Casey, "Casey Looks to Fight Hunger, Address Food Waste", Sen. Bob Casey, May 10, 2018, © Sen. Bob Casey
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Ecover Opens “Rubbish Café” Pop-Up

May 8, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Ecover, a household cleaning brand with green positioning, opened a pop-up café that aimed to educate consumers about single-use plastic by inviting them to swap their plastic for a free meal in the “Rubbish Café”. It was part of the brand’s "Let's Live Clean” campaign, to raise brand awareness and also recognition of the problem of single-use plastics. It ran for two days in early May in London’s Covent Garden.[Image Credit: © Ecover UK Ltd]

Georgina Brazier, "Ecover uses 'Rubbish Cafe' to educate consumers on clean living", Campaign Live UK, May 08, 2018, © Haymarket Media Group Ltd.
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USDA Secretary Perdue Commits To Raising Food Waste Awareness

May 8, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

At a recent roundtable discussion, U.S Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue discussed food waste with legislators, food industry leaders, and non-profit groups to raise awareness while discussing solutions with leaders throughout the food supply chain. Perdue later issued a statement saying that America’s food supply should “nourish those in need, not fill the trash.” He said groups and companies should cooperate with each other on finding “holistic” solutions to the food waste problems. USDA remains committed to helping reduce food waste, Perdue said, and “excited to work with all stakeholders from farm to fork.” Food loss and waste eats up nearly 40 percent of the food supply in the U.S., while millions of Americans need access to safe, wholesome, affordable food, the USDA said. [Image Credit: © USDA]

"Washington: Secretary Perdue Commits to Prioritizing Food Waste Solutions", USDA, May 08, 2018, © USDA.gov
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Dutch Restaurants Thrive on Sustainability, Re-Purposing, Zero-Waste

May 5, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Restaurants in The Netherlands, particularly in the capital Amsterdam, are showcasing innovative and accessible sustainability projects that focus on zero-waste practices and creative reuse of buildings and materials. Moer Restaurant, for example, is housed in a former Michelin tire shop; its serving pans are made from old train tracks. It has replaced the traditional buffet table piled high with bound-for-the-bin meats, cheeses, and pastries with a buffet of all-organic offerings, including juices from Dutch orchards, dairy and egg products from a local farm, and homemade granola and breads made with grain and beer waste from brewery Gulpener. The Instock restaurant uses only surplus food for ingredients and wastes nothing. It gets unused food from Albert Heijn, the country's largest supermarket chain. There is so much discarded but edible food that the restaurant has set up a wholesale distribution center to serve other restaurants.[Image Credit: © Moer Restaurant]

Diane Daniel, "Doing good, deliciously: Sustainable dining in Amsterdam", The Washington Post (published in the Toronto Star), May 05, 2018, © Toronto Star Newspapers Ltd
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Japanese Entrepreneurs Tackle Food Waste Problem With Smartphone Apps

May 5, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

According to Japan’s agriculture ministry, 6.46 million tons of untouched food were discarded in 2015. Japanese entrepreneurs, however, are making progress using technology to tackle this crticial food waste issue. Among the advanced solutions are online services that link restaurants with consumers wishing to buy food at lower prices that would otherwise be discarded. An example is Shifft Inc., which launched the Reduce Go smartphone app service last month to offer registered users economic benefits by allowing them to pick up food directly twice a day from restaurants and food outlets for $18 (¥1,980) a month. About 25,000 users have signed up for the free version of the app, while 32 restaurants, bars, and shops in Tokyo and its environs have signed on to the food giveaway.

Sakura Murakami, "Tokyo-based startups look to link consumers with restaurants to curb food waste", The Japan Times, May 05, 2018, © The Japan Times Ltd
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USDA Issues Proposed GMO Food Labeling Rules For Public Comment

May 4, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

The USDA has issued proposed rules on the labeling of foods that contain “bioengineered” ingredients, a more neutral term than “genetically modified organisms” (GMO). The rules implement a federal law enacted in 2016 (National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard, PL 114-216) that was a victory for backers of federal mandatory labeling, but also for opponents because it did not require all food companies to put readable information on packages. The law also barred states from writing their own mandatory labeling laws. The proposed rules allow small food manufacturers to inform consumers via websites or telephone numbers. Larger companies can use a label on packages, a symbol to be developed by USDA or bar codes, or other digital means scannable with smartphones. Public comment on the proposal is open until July 3; the final rules will be issued July 29.

Cathy Siegner , "GMO labeling moves one step closer to reality, but what will it look like?", Food Dive, May 04, 2018, © Industry Dive
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Coca-Cola PH Donates Used Bottle Caps To Water Accessibility Initiative

May 3, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Coca-Cola Philippines has started recycling used plastic bottle caps to make rubber gaskets for water ram pumps. The firm's bottling partner, Coca-Cola FEMSA Philippines, has already delivered over 65 kilograms of high-density polyethylene and 625 kilograms of polypropylene caps to Alternative Indigenous Development Foundation, which was developing a cost-efficient and easily-maintained ram pump model. The scrap bottle caps will be used to manufacture ramp pump spare parts. This is part of Coca-Cola's Agos Program, a water accessibility initiative that makes use of hydraulic ram pumps and gravity to supply water to upland communities without the need for electricity or fossil fuel. [Image Credit: © The Coca-Cola Company]

"Coca-Cola backs plastic recycling", Manila Standard, May 03, 2018, © manilastandard.net
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Detroit Area Benefits From Tyson Foods, Flashfood Food Waste Initiative

May 2, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Tyson Foods has partnered with Toronto, Ont.-based Flashfood Inc. in a Detroit area pilot program that lets shoppers buy quality surplus food items at a discount rate. The Flashfoodbox program involves other services – nonprofit Forgotten Harvest, Michigan Farm to Freezer for processing and packaging, and AxleHire Inc. for shipping – but the core is the Flashfoodbox. The boxes are ordered online or via the Flashfood app and are delivered directly to customer homes. Weekly, biweekly, or monthly subscriptions come with a 10 percent discount. At $44.99 a box, customers get about five pounds of protein, including meat, and nearly 10 pounds of rescued vegetables and fruits, enough to prepare 14 meals at less than $4 per plate. [Image Credit: © Flashfood Inc.]

Tyler Clifford, "Companies partner to reduce food waste in Detroit", Crain’s Detroit Business, May 02, 2018, © Crain Communications, Inc.
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Kroger Provides Update On Its Zero Hunger-Zero Waste Program

April 27, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

The Kroger Co. says that since it launched the Zero Hunger-Zero Waste food rescue initiative last September it has provided 325 million meals for “food-insecure” families across America. The company directed a total of $181 million in food and funds to end hunger in local communities and rescued 91.2 million pounds of unsold safe, nutritious food from its retail stores, or shipped from its distribution centers and manufacturing plants. The food was donated to Feeding America food banks in 2017. The program was originally launched 10 years ago as the Perishable Donation Partnership. Kroger said it is also working with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) on a company-wide food waste analysis to identify where the company stands today in its journey to zero food waste. The company said it will donate $5 to WWF for each customer who shares a food waste reduction idea or photo on Kroger’s Facebook page.[Image Credit: © Kroger Co.]

"Kroger Celebrates Zero Hunger-Zero Waste Progress", Kroger Co., April 27, 2018, © PR Newswire Association LLC
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Starbucks Hopes To Trim $75M In Food Waste by 2020

April 27, 2018: 12:00 AM EST

Starbucks Corp. is losing $500 million a year on waste in its more than 8,000 company-operated U.S. stores, but hopes to cut that by 15 percent ($75 million)over the next year-and-a-half through greater efficiency. The company says its business model – “strict product quality requirements” plus “product availability” – always results in some waste. Food discarded because after the expiration date, and lost sales associated with a lack of inventory, are part of the costs. During Starbucks' fiscal second quarter, it cut waste costs by focusing on “outlier stores” that had high waste as a percentage of sales. It also improved training on the process of pulling .

Coral Garnick, "Wasted food, other items cost Starbucks $500 million a year", Puget Sound Business Journal, April 27, 2018, © American City Business Journals
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