Any big change in your life is not the result of one big stride but small steps in the right direction. Three eco-warriors, Rooftop Republic, UglyGood and The Kommon Goods have made it easy for us to make small but meaningful changes in what we eat, how we eat and how food waste is repurposed.
These social enterprises nurtured by DBS have made saving the environment their business, quite literally. Making issues of food sustainability, conscious consumption and repurposing food waste their mission, these creative minds have gone outside of their comfort zone to solve real environmental issues with their businesses.
In recent years, contaminated food has become a cause for concern for millions of Hong Kongers. From drinking water to margarine spreads, food safety has come into the spotlight. Fruit and vegetables are no exception. Of all the vegetables Hong Kongers can buy, only 2 per cent are locally grown.
One of the most densely populated cities, Hong Kong has little arable land. But, thirty-nine floors up of Hong Kong’s busy central business district is… an urban farm. The Bank of America’s skyscraper was home to Rooftop Republic’s first farm and Hong Kong’s first farm in the commercial district. Today, the Bank of America’s rooftop farm is one of 50 urban farms by the Rooftop Republic.
The Rooftop Republic also holds workshops and events that teach participants how to grow their own vegetables. These events hope to spark an awareness of what it takes to grow their own food and an appreciation of what they eat.
Food isn’t the only thing we should be more conscious of. Plastics, one of the most important inventions of our time, now threatens our world. Sucked into the convenience of single-use plastics, we are sending an unprecedented amount of plastic into oceans and landfills. Sadly, a report revealed that Asian countries are responsible for dumping more plastic into oceans than the rest of the world combined.
In Asia taking out food normally involves a single-use plastic container, plastic utensils and a plastic bag to carry it all home. The Kommon Goods are nipping the issue in the bud by encouraging consumers to change their everyday habits with their affordable eco-friendly alternatives. These seemingly small choices like bringing metal straws, reusable water bottles and bamboo utensils will have an impactful bearing on our oceans and landfills in the long run.
In Singapore, apart from plastic, food is the second largest category we send to our landfill. 800,000 tons of food waste is being thrown out each year. This represents ten per cent of all waste that goes into our landfills. While this may seem insignificant, the amount of food waste generated today has almost doubled since a decade ago.
UglyGood focuses on juicing industry and has to date rediverted 40,000kg of solid fruit waste from landfills. Shockingly, only 50% of the fruit – the juice – is squeezed and sold. What happens to the peel and the pulp?
While we may view fruit pulp and peels as trash, UglyGood sees this “waste” as good business. Apart from reducing the burden on our landfills, they have made eco-friendly products out of what people consider trash. Using green bioprocessing technologies, they convert fruit waste into animal feed and transform peels into organic multi-purpose cleaning solutions and calming essential oils.
Combined, these eco-warriors have a strong dedication to their work that will benefit generations to come. Our support will go a long way in helping to reverse the damage. To find out more about the good work they do, visit The Rooftop Republic, The Kommon Goods and UglyGood.