McDonald’s To Ax Plastic Foam Cups

We’re three months into the year and McDonald’s is showing up every fast food chain on the planet. From its impromptu discovery of an anti-balding agent in its fries, Mickey D’s is up to something even bigger. To get with the times, the Supersize Me star is phasing out all foam products by the end of 2018.

It’s the first time the fast-food giant has openly committed to a deadline to completely stop using polystyrene drink containers, which are eco-unfriendly and nearly impossible to recycle. The containers for its large cold drinks represent a mere 2 percent of its packaging, which still comes out to millions of dollars and cups annually.

The restaurant overlord last made a large gesture towards sustainability 27 years ago. The company then replaced styrofoam “clamshells” with eco-friendly paper packaging. Still, it’s a much-needed push en route to a greener Earth.

McDonald’s is expected to announce a packaging and recycling initiative [soon], said Conrad MacKerron, a senior vice president of As You Sow. “We do appreciate what McDonald’s has done,” he said. “It’s taken a long time, but better late than never.”

I guess slow and steady wins the race!

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Tofu Wine Is Singapore’s Tastiest New Drink

From turning wine waste into leather, your go-to bottle of chardonnay has come full circle. A team from the National University of Singapore has brewed up a curd-based wine made with every vegan’s BFF — tofu.

[Researchers] employed yeasts to ferment the waste product just like what winemakers do to make your favorite bottle of red or white. Amino acids and minerals found in tofu whey help foster the growth of yeast in the process.

The wine, dubbed Sachi, is entirely sustainable, as the fermenting process produces no waste. Producing Sachi requires a substantial amount of time and tedious storage procedures. With that in mind, its inventors are on the fence about its mass production. Still, the unusual drink is unexpectedly tasty.

“This alcoholic beverage has a refreshing taste, is easy to drink and tastes like sake,” said co-creator Chua Jian Yong… “Even though it is made from tofu whey, it has a very mild to undetectable soy taste. All the flavors in the drink are derived from fermentation, without artificial flavors or flavor extracts.”

While there has yet to be any word on Sachi becoming commercially available, us wine enthusiasts remain hopeful.

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Sustainable Bar Serves Tasty, Low-Impact Cocktails

For some, chocolate is the cure to a broken heart. For me, it’s a cold brew. With news of a probiotic “healthy” beer in the making, I couldn’t imagine anything better — until Trash Tiki. The sustainable pop-up bar serves tasty, low-impact cocktails made with food waste. Spearheading the project are Kelsey Ramage and Iain Griffiths.

The duo’s website features a recipe for citrus stock that makes use of already-juiced fruit, to address the fact that “citrus is once again front and centre, this time as it is by far the biggest waste product of any craft cocktail bar.”

Trash Tiki also hosts industry seminars that are open to the public — conveniently dubbed Trash Talks. The bartending twosome are among the first of their kind, stating that waste reduction is a priority mostly in restaurants.

“Perhaps surprisingly, (zero/anti-waste) isn’t really an idea that has infiltrated the bar scene that much — certainly not as much as the rest of restaurants, like it does in kitchens,”

Making the drinks are often hours-long ordeals. But if it’s doing a service to the planet (and my liver), then perhaps worth the wait.

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This Vegetable Leather Is Made From Wine Waste

Toast ale craft beer and human waste charcoal are proof that you can make anything out of anything. Lately, innovators have pushed the boundaries even further, creating vegetable leather out of wine byproducts.

The production process begins with pressing the grapes and separating the grape marc… The grape marc is dried to avoid degradation and to enable its preservation up to three years from the date of desiccation… Next, physical and mechanical patented treatments are carried out, thus obtaining a mixture that is then coated and transformed into sheets of the material.

Sustainable leather-maker Vegea projects that the 7 billion kilograms of grape marc produced each year can account for 2.6 billion square meters of leather.

“We believe that the exploitation of winemaking by-products is crucial for environmental sustainability. In Vegea’s production process, these organic by-products are transformed into a high value added biomaterial,”

Plant-based leather is not only environmentally risk-free — it’s a blessing for vegans and sigh of relief for thousands of cows who don’t have to bite the dust.

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