In early 2019, while on a hiatus from Architecture and Placemaking (and 20 years of everything sustainability and food systems), our founder Jean, found herself sitting next to a number of sustainability and waste consultants at an ESD consulting firm. It was around this time she was graduating from a course in Regenerative Practice, in reconnecting to place through systems change through regenerative design and development.
It was precisely this brew between regenerative ecosystems design and waste management plans (and watching the massive volumes of council permit assessments being processed in property development projects) – that she became besotted with everything waste management. Imagine this – the core minimum requirements for permit approvals with waste management plans in particular, are landfill, recycling and vehicle access.
It was immediately clear that this was a systemic issue that needed to be addressed – now and FAST. Not just the waste from food supply chains, but the entire food production to consumption ecosystem creating this dire issue.
Roughly 97% of food produced ends up in landfill in Melbourne, meanwhile our current farming methods based in monocropping are rapidly depleting carbon reserves and reducing biodiversity in our agricultural farms, and specifically the destroying of our soils. which is the lifeblood of growing food for our communities.
Stephen joined in at the end of 2019 as we focused on prototyping and testing the concept of hyper localising food waste, entwined with the story of soil, and the goal to add valuable organic matter back into it. Together with some invaluable volunteers, we set out on a series of street campaigns to understand the complex social, procedural, infrastructure and culminative systemic issues around reducing and keeping food waste out of landfill, and the global and local impacts of methane (25 times more potent than CO2 produced by cars, by the way).
No doubt about it – Food is our fuel and one of the most connective social and cultural fibers of society. However how it comes served and packaged weighs in too – food has been served au natural for more centuries than we have served it in plastic.
Fast forward to 2022 and 1 x pandemic, 6 lockdowns, 40+ volunteers, community members, project partners, pro bono supporters, collaborators and grant funders later, we began to shift towards a wider macro lens on waste and food systems – looking at it from a bird’s eye view. It’s not just food waste we kept tripping over, but all the micro plastics in our waterways, the greenwashing, the climate craziness that is now our “typical” Australian weather. Couple this with other pressing factors, increasing urban density and rising waste charges, single use plastic bans – the time is ripe for action.
It is this mission to transition our inner cities to circularity, that we are committed to using 50% of all our profits to prototyping and scaling up circular waste initiatives, urban research and supporting other circular business models in Australia, with a primary focus on urban waste in the built environment.
With our deepest gratitude, we thank you, especially to those who believed in us and in particular the amazing people who have so far joined us on this madcap journey.
Our soft plastics program is available in Oct 2022.
Do something drastic & cut the plastic. Single-use plastic food packaging is a major contributor to the global solid waste problem. Although the food industry is developing strategies to reduce single-use plastic packaging, we need to better understand consumer awareness and attitudes about the issue.
When you toss a plastic bottle into your recycling bin, there’s no guarantee it actually gets recycled. In fact, odds are, it doesn’t.
This is one of our key priority streams, where by using the same containers, in the same form, over and over again – it eases demand for virgin materials, reduces energy needed to spit out thousands of new plastic bottles or cardboard boxes, and prevents heaps of trash from ending up in landfills or oceans.
They’re bulky, large in size and consumes large amounts of space.
We use paper and cardboard in so much packaging and stacks of it still ends up in landfill, resulting in stacks of methane production, a major greenhouse gas.
When when you recycle cardboard waste and keep it free of oil and contamination, you end up saving ample amounts of water and energy and minimise trees being chopped down to get virgin material.