The world has persistently focused on salvaging ozone layer depletion by curbing industrial carbon emission and fighting for more use of renewable energy. But that’s not all the fight required for the sustainability of our ecosystem. It’s unappealing to learn that food waste from our homes would account for 3 billion tons of carbon emissions – ranked third top emitter of greenhouse gases if considered as a country. FAO reports that about one-third (1.3 billion tones) of the food produced worldwide for human consumption yearly is wasted. This is worth $990 billion aside from the hazardous footprint – environmental degradation and prejudice to the starving 800 million people in the world.
Several campaigns have been initiated globally to reduce food waste, having recognized its increasing damage. Most of which include societal sensitization in view of influencing cultural and social factors not recognized by economic rationality, and composting which struggles to take care of just 2% of the global food waste. What if we could recycle the food for consumption?
Pale Ale Beer from waste bread
A food waste activist and an award-winning British author, Tristram Stuart has initiated a big move by establishing a beer brand, Toast Ale, manufactured from waste bread. Most importantly, he has released the recipe for the beer brand and is consistently encouraging individuals to embark on homemade brewing using bread waste from homes in view of cutting down food waste. Toast Ale is an alcoholic drink brewed from “fresh surplus bread that is otherwise thrown away by bakeries, delis and sandwich makers.” A report from the UK: TheGuardian says “Of all the edible food we buy, bread suffers the worst fate when it comes to waste.”
The idea of tackling bread waste at the industrial level came to Stuart after he visited a microbrewery in Belgium, Brussels Beer Project; a brewery that produces Babylone – bread-based beer made using an ancient Babylonian recipe. According to the Chief Toaster at Toast Ale, Rob Wilson, 44 percent of the bread baked in the UK goes to the waste bin through standard regulation and disposals from households that throw away about 24 million slices daily.
Toast Ale was launched in January 2016, with the first batch brewed in Hackney, London. Sales began at London restaurants, online, and gradually distributors. Now, the beer brand has three varieties; Bloomin’ Lovely, Much Kneaded, and Purebread. Toast is currently working with many local food charities for food waste reduction.
After 22 months of its launch in the UK, Toast started its brand with Green Lab brewery in Rio de Janeiro for the benefit of Gastromotiva, a charity organization that trains and empowers the country’s poorest citizens. In November 2017, Toast Ale became a brand in South Africa, brewing the bread-beer with Devil’s Peak Brewery for the benefit of Soil for Life, a charity organization that trains the unemployed to grow food. In the same month, Pale Ale was launched in Iceland, with the proceeds going to Vakandi, an organization fighting food waste. Toast Ale was first brewed in the US by Bronx-based Chelsea Craft Brewing Company, also in 2017. The brand is growing stronger in the US through new partnerships – their most recent being with the Shake Shack.
Toast has brewed over 9 tons of bread – equivalent to 4.5 tons of CO2 since its beginning. According to Stuart, “all proceeds from the company will go to Feedback, his nonprofit group, which plans to finance future anti-waste campaigns.”