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Open Table: using surplus food to foster community

Open Table uses surplus food to create wholesome community feasts, bringing together people from all walks of life. We spoke to Angela O’Toole, who coordinates the regular lunches and dinners that happen in different neighbourhoods across Melbourne, about the wonderful work Open Table is doing. What is important about the work that Open Table does? Officially Open Table has two core purposes, reducing food waste and fostering community connectedness. The food waste issue is a huge one, given that the estimates of food waste annually in Australia is around $8 billion. That is edible food, not scraps! For me getting that message out there is more important than physically reducing that amount of waste, and that is what our dinners...

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Swedish Stockings: closed loop tights

“Each year, two billion pairs of tights are produced, worn once and then discarded, helping to make the textile industry the second most polluting industry in the world.” Nadja and Linn are the two ladies behind Swedish Stockings - the world’s first sustainable hosiery company. Not only are they producing pantyhose out of recycled yarn, they have introduced a collection program in which people are invited to send in their old stockings in exchange for a 50% discount on their next Swedish Stockings purchase. While they have not yet worked out how to make new stockings out of discarded pantyhose, they are committed to closing the loop. In the interim, they ensure your old stockings are recycled rather than ending...

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Loop Growers: re-thinking what waste actually means

“We start by re-thinking what waste actually means and end with farmer-delivered produce to your kitchen.” Loop Growers is the project of Brisbane's Alice Star and Phil Garozzo. Their vision is simple; they turn cafe waste into compost, which in turn grows food that is delivered back to the same cafe to use in the meals we eat. What they are doing is seriously awesome considering food waste that goes into landfill is not just a wasted resource - it undergoes anaerobic decomposition (because of the lack of oxygen) and generates methane. When released into the atmosphere, methane is 20 times more potent a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. So keeping this stuff out of landfill is really important. And this...

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Fix and Make: Extend the life of your stuff

The Fix & Make program at Canberra’s Hotel Hotel is inspiring us from afar. The talks, events and workshops are designed to expand understanding about how things work, and try to get them working again. People bring in iPhones with dead buttons, or a torn pairs of pants, and all the broken-stuff victims come together to try breathe new life into their things. Fix & Make's fun and simplicity so quickly draws attention to how absurdly deconstructive our current model is, where we heap outdated fast fashion onto throw-away coffee cups onto disposable ballet flats onto used tents from festivals. This beautiful photograph shows the Japanese technique of Kintsugi, which uses a binding lacquer blended with powdered gold or silver to repair broken...

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Interface: A model for purpose-driven business

Interface are true leaders in the field when it comes to restorative manufacturing. It was 1994, and Interface’s 22nd year of doing business, when the company’s founder Ray Anderson made a drastic change in the company. He shifted the focus from just manufacturing carpets, to manufacturing carpets in a truly sustainable fashion, with a mission of reducing the environmental footprint and increasing profits for the company. Often these two values are seen as polarising, opposites, but it’s companies like Interface that show the power business has to make change in the world. Ray’s vision values both stakeholders and shareholders equally - an integral part of creating purpose driven businesses. “Be the first company that, by its deeds, shows the entire...

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