Food processing

For Cleaner Water, Just Add Beer

Read the full story in CityLab.

Leave it to Colorado to dream up a greener beer: The city of Boulder is teaming up with Avery Brewing Company to use weak wort—a sugar-water brewing byproduct—to help treat municipal wastewater.

In a state with many breweries and some of the nation’s stricter clean-water regulations, it’s a winning approach that both city and brewery hope others will replicate.

Slow Money: An ingredient for a more sustainable food system?

Read the full story in GreenBiz.

Recent years have ushered in greater recognition of a link between “too-big-to-fail” investment practices and the growing list of casualties resulting from the industrial takeover of our food systems.

One response: Think smaller. The restoration of healthy, local food systems — which can be achieved through greater emphasis on nutrient- and carbon-rich soil and small-scale, ethical, sustainable farming enterprises — offer an alternative to Big Food.

Woody Tasch’s paradigm-shifting book, “Slow Money” — a rejection of hyper-complex financial systems that argues to “bring money back down to earth” — has  become a beacon for people who recognize the big money-agriculture linkage and hope to reform our food system. That is especially true amid controversy over new types of genetically engineered food products, increased anxiety about lagging food supply for a growing population and massive amounts of food waste.

Coffee Horror: Parody Pokes At Environmental Absurdity Of K-Cups

Read the full post from The Salt.

You want a cup of decaf. Your significant other is craving the fully caffeinated stuff. With the simple push of a button, Keurig’s single-serving K-Cup coffee pods can make both of you happy.

But those convenient little plastic pods can pile up quickly, and they’re not recyclable. And that’s created a monster of an environmental mess, says Mike Hachey. Literally…

The point, says Hachey, is to use cinematic tactics to raise awareness of the waste. Consider this startling statistic: In 2013, Keurig Green Mountain produced 8.3 billion K-Cups — enough to circle the Earth 10.5 times. (In 2014, output shot up to 9.8 billion portion packs.)


Food Industry Drags Its Heels On Recyclable And Compostable Packaging

Read the full post in The Salt.

Let’s face it: We are people who consume many of our meals on the go. That means we’re not eating on real plates or bowls but out of plastic containers and paper boxes. And perhaps daily, we drink our coffees and sodas out of plastic or plastic-lined paper cups.

Overall, Americans recycle at the lamentable rate of 34.5 percent and recycle plastic packaging at the even measlier rate of 14 percent. So the majority of that food packaging is ending up in landfills, or on the street as litter, where it may eventually get swept into the ocean. There, our wrappers and cans and cups become a much bigger problem — a direct threat to marine life that may ingest it and die.

According to a report published Thursday by the environmental groups As You Sow and the Natural Resources Defense Council, most of the major players in the restaurant and beverage industry are not doing a whole lot to ameliorate this problem. There’s a big onus on the makers of packaged foods and beverages to reduce plastic and paper waste and also make it easier for us to recycle and compost the materials we use.

Oregon Water Treatment Company Wants To Turn Sewer Water Into Beer

Read the full story from Oregon Public Broadcasting.

Clean Water Services of Hillsboro has an advanced treatment process that can turn sewage into drinking water.

The company, which runs four wastewater treatment plants in the Portland metro area, wants to show off its “high-purity” system by turning recycled wastewater into beer.

But right now, the state of Oregon wouldn’t allow anyone to drink it.

Clean Water Services has asked the state for permission to give its recycled water to a group of home brewers. The Oregon Brew Crew would make small batches of beer to be served at events – not sold at a brewery.

The Oregon Health Authority has already approved the company’s request. But the Oregon Environmental Quality Commission will also have to sign off on it before anyone serves a beer made from recycled sewage.

Biomimicry Global Design Challenge

The Biomimicry Institute and the Ray C. Anderson Foundation are inviting professionals and students from across the world to participate in a Biomimicry Global Design Challenge. Using biomimicry as a tool, participants are invited to tap into nature-inspired solutions to help solve key food and agriculture issues like food waste, food packaging, agricultural pest management, food distribution, energy use, and more. Participants may be featured in high profile media, will have access to biomimicry experts and mentors, and can compete for cash prizes totaling $160,000, including the Ray C. Anderson Foundation $100,000 “Ray of Hope” Prize.