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Four initiatives that are turning waste into wealth

There is an old saying that says that “one person’s trash is another man’s treasure”. This integrated and inclusive approach is now more and more adopted by individuals and companies in order to carve new sustainable business model or to reduce the amount of household’s waste that ends up incinerated or in landfills. Despite the multiple wake-up calls provided in reports, waste production will keep on increasing if there is no change of habits. Because plastic pollution is inherent to the mainstream economic system, some men and women around the world have decided to take action to turn this menace into an opportunity and to give second life to this long-lasting material. From cooking innovative dishes to creating new building materials discover in this article 4 solutions that are turning waste into wealth! #EarthBeats

A woman entrepreneur in Nigeria is turning tires into the new hit furniture

According to the World Bank, 90% of the waste is mismanaged in low-income countries and is either disposed in informal dumps, rivers or is openly burnt. This lack of safe structure of the waste disposal contributes strongly to air, water and soil pollution and has disastrous consequences on human health and the environment. In Nigeria, female entrepreneur Olabanke Banjo tackles this issue thanks to her creative agency that shows the unlimited potentials of waste. Cyrus45 Factory gives a second life to tires, items that produce dangerous fumes when incinerated. She transforms those objects into functional and ultra-modern household items that are adopted by the local population. The company has won awards proving the high-quality of the items and plans on expanding its business on the African and the international market! Read more on The Hindu, The Nation or The Philippine Star (in English), L’Economiste (in French) and Corriere della Sera (in Italian).

Olabanke Banjo — Directrice Artistique de Cyrus45 © Dan Ikpoyi

How to transform household waste items into eco-friendly building materials

Despite efforts, waste keeps accumulating leading more and more entrepreneurs to think about new ways to use waste into new materials. The Israeli startup UBQ Material has found a way to turn the waste processing system upside down by converting trash into a new composite materials that could be used as a brick. They can also transform unsorted waste into a plastic that is fully recyclable. Using food residues, plastic and other unsorted garbage, this artificial material looks and acts like plastic and respects the environment. Read more on Yicai Global, The Hindu, Haaretz (in English) or on Dong-A Ilbo (in Korean).

Jack "Tato" Bigio, PDG et fondateur d’UBQ, assis parmi des déchets que l’entreprise convertira en plastique et matériaux de construction © UBQ

Yeonjigonji has developed an alternative to mitigate the dependance on straws

More and more companies are banishing plastic straws in order to symbolise their effort to alleviate the threat of plastics. Yeonjigonji  is a Korean start-up that has gone further than the simple swap to paper straw versions and has launched edible straws that produce zero waste! The straws are made from rice and tapioca and have been adopted by small cafés, hypermarkets and hostels in South Korea. The company is currently producing up to 500 million straws a month and is planning on developing disposable cups, cutleries and bags that will be available nationally and internationally. Read more about this in Haaretz, The Hindu, Yicai Global, The Philippine Star (in English), Dong-A Ilbo (in Korean), Le Figaro and L’Economiste (in French).

Kwangpil Kim, PDG de Yeonjigonji, tenant des pailles comestibles conçues à partir de riz et de tapioca, à Séoul, Corée du Sud. © Jaemyoung Kim

Kucha Madre is bringing responsible hedonism to costumers’ plates

In Ljubljana, Slovenia a restaurant has opened to only offer microbiota-friendly foods to the clients. Kucha Madre is promoting a responsible diet that is beneficial both for the human health and for the environment all that while proposing flavorful and playful plates. The restaurant also addresses the pressing issue of food waste: in Slovenia alone, some 130,000 tonnes of food are discarded every year, while almost 270,000 of the inhabitants struggle to afford basic goods. Every two months, the restaurant teams up with the global network Food For Life and donates the proceedings to fund healthy meals for the most vulnerable. Ultimately, they plan on distributing 200 meals to those in need by 2020. Read more about this multi-faceted restaurant in English on Yicai Global and The Hindu or in Slovene on Delo.

Clients à Kucha Madre © Kucha Madre

While citizens mobilize for Earth Day, 18 media outlets investigate local initiatives against pollution and waste. The collaborative editorial operation Earth Beats gathers renowned newspapers: including Le Figaro, Corriere, Haaretz, L’Economiste, La Nacion, Yicai Global, Delo, L’Orient Le Jour, The Philippine Star and the Hindu Business Line. The operation is coordinated by Sparknews with the support of ADEME, the UNESCO MAB Programme, Le Jour de La Terre, Impact Hub and CDC Biodiversité.

You, readers, citizens, leaders, investors, consumers, can broadcast these solutions, so that tomorrow’s world remains sustainable.

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