Monthly Archives

October 2017

Sustainable Businesses

Nespresso’s Sustainability Actions

Without a doubt, all of us know Nespresso for its spokesperson, George Clooney. But besides their unique use of capsule and aromatic coffee, there are a few things that Nespresso is doing in regards to sustainability that you probably didn’t know of:

1. Closing the loop

Did you know that aluminium is one of the natural resources that can be recycled infinitely? It also provides the best protection against oxygen, light and humidity which causes it to be the best material to be used for Nespresso’s capsules. Aluminium requires up to 95% less energy to recycle than to produce primary metals. Since it is 100% recyclable, these capsules can be given a second life and transformed into drink cans, bicycles or computers. Nespresso collects back these capsules and you can find the collection points here!

2. Recycling has never been so convenient!

So if you find it a hassle to travel down to the stores to recycle your aluminium capsules, fret not, as there is another alternative. You can fill up their recycling bag with the used capsules and hand it to the delivery man on your next order. And did we mention? The recycling bag is free!

3. Paying it forward

This year, Nespresso embarked on a partnership with The Food Bank Singapore to encourage coffee lovers to pay it forward by recycling their used Nespresso capsules. Each time you recycle your used capsules, you are providing approximately one meal to a person in need.

4. Save every resource

So what happens to your capsules after use? Well, the aluminium capsules would be recycled while the used coffee grounds are sent to a local farm (Quan Fa Organic Farm) as compost for vegetable farming. The use of coffee grounds improves drainage, aerates the soil and acts as a natural pest repellent.

 

To find out about other actions Nespresso is taking in terms of sustainability, click here!

Green Talk

Interview with Foodbank Singapore

Would you have expected Singaporeans to generate a total of 791,000 tonnes food waste? That’s almost equivalent to 108 full load double-decker buses! Despite being a little red dot, we are guilty of contributing to high level of food wastage with 77% of Singaporeans regularly waste food at home. Over the past 10 years, food wastage has increased by about 40%. On the other spectrum, 1 in 10 Singaporeans is food insecure which creates a gap in food distribution.

Foodbank Singapore, a registered charity, aims to bridge the gap in the market by collecting surplus food in the market and providing it to organisations and people in need of food.

We had an interview with Foodbank Singapore’s Co-founder, Nichol Ng.

TSP: What inspired you to start Foodbank?

As our co-founders are in the food business, we realised that a lot of surplus food was being thrown away because suppliers/wholesalers did not have an avenue to donate them. At the same time, we felt that we should not be throwing any surplus food away when there are still people in need of food. This was when our co-founders decided to start The Food Bank Singapore to try and bridge this gap. Watch this video to find out more!

TSP: Can you tell us a few challenges you faced when carrying out activities for Foodbank? 

In the past year, we have faced an influx of donations and manpower was starting to be a problem. Besides hiring more people, we also tried to engage our volunteers even more and incorporated technology to ease the burdens off our team.

One major challenge we have been facing since the start is the lack of donations from supermarkets, even though we are finally starting to work with one major supermarket chain. We hope that companies are more open to donating their surplus food and not just conveniently dump them away.

TSP: Since the launch of Foodbank, what is the general response from the public?

The public has slowly warmed up to the idea of the food bank since we spend a lot of time on advocacy work and building up a stronger volunteer pool. Food companies and businesses have also strengthened their support quite a fair bit since 2012. Although no one has yet to take a firm stand of donating all their excess, at least more companies are open to the idea. Having said that, we are far from what we should be doing.

TSP: Can you share with us a few statistics on the impact of Foodbank over the years?

 

TSP: For those who are interested in getting involved with Foodbank, can you share 2 to 3 quick and easy steps to get started?

You can find out more about getting involved at http://www.foodbank.sg/index.php/get-involved.

TSP: What do you think should be done by the government to combat the issue of food wastage?

Along with incentives for other forms of recycling, they should really be looking at incentives to encourage recycling. Another way is to penalise for people who throw or incinerate. In general, recycling has to make commercial sense to businesses as well.

They need to start realising that food is also a precious commodity we have learnt to take for granted but have not accorded as much respect and attention like water, paper and plastic.

TSP: What are some of your future plans for the Foodbank? 

In 2018, we plan to engage even more food companies and corporates. At the grassroots level, we plan to do more advocacy as well. For more on our activities, check out http://www.foodbank.sg/index.php/programmes-events.

 

Others

Oslo Innovation Week 2017

Oslo Innovation Week is an event that brings together speakers, experts, entrepreneurs, investors, startups and innovators from around the globe and challenges them to solve problems, collaborate and drive sustainable change. Oslo Innovation Week 2017 highlights solutions that solve real global challenges through entrepreneurship, technology and innovation to push the world forward towards sustainable change.

This September, we were given the opportunity to attend a few talks during Oslo Innovation Week and here are 2 key takeaways that we have learnt!

  

Sustainable Business Model

One of the speakers, Ms Ragnhild Nilsen, shared her take 4 traits (FAIR) a business needs to compete in a sustainable way:

Fairplay: Competing amongst equals

Attract the good stories: Search for people who perform well and make it better

Innovate: Be creative and try to do the usual things in a different manner

Respect: Practice balance and have a win-win attitude for both parties

 

Circular Economy Strategies

Currently, linear companies practice the “take, make, waste” concept and engage in the following activities:

  • Utilise non-renewable or toxic resources
  • Prioritise sales of new products
  • Monopolise knowledge and IP
  • Maintain status quo

As shared by Circle Economy‘s Matthieu Bardout, circular economy strategies include:

  1. Prioritising regenerative resources
  2. Preserving and extending what is already made
  3. Rethinking business models
  4. Using waste as a resource
  5. Collaborating to create joint value
  6. Designing for the future
  7. Incorporating digital technology
Others

A Peek Into Norway’s Waste To Energy Plant

Norwegian salmon. Northern Lights. Brown Cheese. These are just a few items that are associated with Norway, the country ‘powered by nature’. But did you know, the country is also known for their sustainability efforts? The country is driving environmental conservation through its unique waste to energy disposal system. This system converts waste to energy and contributes to Oslo’s district heating!

So how do they exactly do it?

The green and the blue bag

In Norway, green and blue plastic bags have a much deeper meaning to it. Waste in the green bags contains food waste while waste in blue bags contains plastic waste. Any other form of waste, excluding paper and glass, will go into bags of any other colours. Even though it is not compulsory to sort your waste, most citizens do it out of goodwill! They can find these free green and blue plastic bags readily available at supermarkets/recycling centre.

Where does the trash go?

After the various waste bags are being collected, they are being treated in the waste to energy plant. In the plant, the bags are being separated by their colours through an automated system. Green bags are sent to the biogas plant and transformed into biogas and bio-fertiliser. A bus can drive 250 meters on the waste from a green bag.

The blue bags are transported to Germany for plastic recovery or recycled into new plastic.

The remaining waste will be incinerated. The energy obtained from incineration can be used to provide heat energy to the district heating system in Oslo.

The 3 Plants

Currently, Norway has 3 Waste to Energy Plants – Haraldrud, Klemetsrud and Romerike Biogas.

The Haraldrud Plant was the first waste to energy plant that was built in 1967. It has a recycling and sorting capacity of 100,000 tons of waste annually.

The Klemetsrud Plant is the largest plant with a recycling capacity of 310,000 tons of waste annually.

The Romerike Biogas Plant was completed in 2012 as Oslo’s largest biogas plant. It produces both biogas
and bio-fertilizers based on food waste and has a capacity of 50,000 tons of food waste per year. The plant supplies 135 buses with biogas and 100 medium-sized farms with nutritious bio-fertiliser.

Pollution from incineration?

Fortunately, the smoke that is released during incineration goes through purification. So, 99% of the smoke is actually pure water!

 

 

To watch the whole documentary of the waste to energy plant, click here!