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Remember when, not so long ago, the saying “what was old is new again” had a negative connotation, being seen as a lack of originality? These days, it’s quite the opposite; we praise those who turn something old into something new, contributing to circular economy. A closer look at this sustainable economic model and how it can be integrated into our daily lives.

Searching for products made from recycled ingredients

There are many ways to contribute to circular economy that goes beyond what we eat! Several goods support this model, such as personal care products by Malté (sold exclusively at Rachelle Béry). An exemplary model of circular economy, Malté makes its products from spent grains of malt from microbreweries in Quebec. Spent grains have multiple properties beneficial to skin and hair; they can be found in divine-smelling shampoos, conditioners, and body cleansers by the brand.

In line with its desire to reuse materials, the company also offers eco-responsible packaging, including biodegradable soap boxes printed using vegetable-based ink, 100% recyclable bottles made entirely of plastic recovered from ocean banks, as well as wheat straw bottles that are biodegradable within a maximum of three years. Moreover, Malté designs bar soaps, shampoos, and conditioners whose ecological footprint are much lower than that of their liquid counterparts. Taking care of our planet has never been so rewarding!

A perfect example of circular economy and eco-responsibility!

Searching for products made from recycled ingredients

Circular economy: a revolving principle

Recyc-Québec defines circular economy as a production, exchange, and consumption system aiming to optimize the use of resources at every step of a good or service’s life cycle, in a circular optic, while reducing the environmental footprint and contributing to the wellbeing of individuals and communities.

The goal of circular economy is two-pronged:

  • Review production and consumption methods in order to reduce the need for resources and protect the environment and ecosystems they generate;
  • Use the resources already present in our lives optimally (use the products more often, extend their longevity, and find a second use for those no longer needed).

The economic spin-offs of circular economy benefit both the local economy and society (by fostering food security, for example), as well as the environment.

Fighting food waste

Everyone, from producers to consumers to governments, has a part to play in circular economy. Knowing that 30% of worldwide greenhouse gas emissions are linked to diet, the first action to be taken daily is to limit food waste to a maximum. The kitchen is a good place to start, by giving a second life to veggie scraps (carrot peel chips are truly delicious!) and meat carcasses (hello, yummy broth!), and making new recipes with leftover meat.

You can also support companies and initiatives that make use of undesirable food. La Transformerie, for instance, makes spreads, marmalades, and sauces from fruits and vegetables that would otherwise have ended up in the trash.

Ugly and imperfect fruits and vegetables—those with an unusual shape, size, or colour—are another example of food waste . . . and a perfect opportunity to take advantage of great prices.

Know the difference between “best before” and “use by”

People are sometimes eager to toss any food whose “best before” date has passed. But hold up! They may still be safe to eat. This is the case for yogurt, cheese, and a variety of dry food (think grains, cereal, and dried fruit), or canned goods and condiments. Flour and oil (including vinaigrettes) can turn rancid over time, but they are still safe for consumption past their “use by” date.

Obviously, if there is a change in the taste or appearance of food, or if you notice mold, it’s best to bid said food farewell!

The use by date is to guarantee the freshness, texture, taste, and nutritional value of food. It does not, however, guarantee food safety.

When it comes to meat, eggs, fish, and prepared food, it is important to respect the dates specified to avoid food poisoning. Note that fresh meat is often only marked with the packaged date; you need to calculate the shelf life yourself based on category (poultry, pork, fish, beef, etc.) and cut (ground, cubed, fillet, whole, etc.). Refer to this table by the federal government as needed.

Changing mentalities to do more

The thought of consuming food “waste” is not very appealing to most. A psychological barrier stops many from drinking beer made from wasted or recovered bread, or from biting into a granola bar made from dry food waste. But let’s try being open and have a taste instead! Tastes are indeed acquired—remember when you were a kid and hated mushrooms and Brussel sprouts?

Whether you are supporting local companies like Malté or choosing a tomato with imperfections at the grocery store, there are 1,001 ways to contribute to circular economy and do your part for the planet.