The Expiration Game

Swapping for Change

It’s all about sustainable style for Samirah Aziz. This up-and-coming fashion student has found a way to combine her two loves. Aziz says she’s not about to buy into fast fashion trends. This 20-year-old wants other fashion-conscious consumers to do the same. 

The fashion industry and the excessive consumption of clothing have negatively impacted the planet. According to recent studies, the fashion industry uses 3,000 litres of water for every cotton T-shirt. 

Aziz is shocked to learn that according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, 85% of discarded clothing ends up in landfills. 

What can a young fashion enthusiast do to make a difference? Environmental activism, clothes swapping, and buying second-hand clothes are just a start! 

Sustainable Fashion

People don’t always know what is meant by “fast fashion”.  Kareen Ng, a fashion design major at Toronto Metropolitan University knows all too well the unfortunate realities and impact on the environment. 

This young fashion environmentalist says we must make greener choices in order to save our planet. 

According to recent statistics, each year, it is estimated that 80 billion pieces of clothing are purchased worldwide, many of which end up in landfills.

The Centre for Social Innovation Director, Stefen Hostetter shares ways in which he helps small Toronto area businesses such as the Good Swap, post-pandemic. 

Social Enterprise in a Global Pandemic

If you’re an entrepreneur and interested in green solutions, you won’t want to miss this podcast. Stefen Hostetter is our guest. He’s the Community Director for the Centre of Social Innovation. 

It’s a place where environmentally conscious people go to figure out ways to make the world a healthier place to live. The ultimate goal is to guide entrepreneurs toward investing in a circular economy. 

Hosteller says our world has been altered by the COVID-19 pandemic. He also says it’s an opportunity to reinvent ourselves through greener choices.

Stephen Hostetter, Director, Centre for Social Innovation

From Seneca to Artevelde

Let’s head to Belgium to see how local initiatives, an ocean apart, are contributing to a global circular economy by designing out waste, repurposing or regenerating.

Some Expired Food is Still Good

Expired food vending machine at Artevelde University, Belgium.

Imagine finding a bag of potato chips in one of your cabinets in the kitchen. The bag was never opened but expired a week ago. Would you still eat it?

Some people would answer yes to that question.

Now, imagine going to the supermarket to buy a bag of chips but the only ones they have… expired one day before. Chances are, many people would not buy that bag.

Environmentalists say we need to rethink – food waste. Experts stress, in many cases, it is okay to eat expired food. So, why are retailers and consumers trashing it?

A recent study by Happy Hours Market in Belgium, says food waste averages 10,400 tons per day in the country. It seems the motto of this commercial company is to reduce food waste while giving folks a chance to buy cheaper food.

Win–Win! Right? This concept got students thinking at Artevelde University in Belgium. The idea of an eco-friendly vending machine was born.

More Than a Vending Machine

It’s much more than a vending machine. It’s a symbol of sustainability. A part of a circular economy which benefits students at Artevelde University. You could say they feed off what it has to offer.

It sells unopened bags of cookies and chips that are expired but still safe to eat. Less food waste and it costs less than 50 pence (less than a loonie in Canadian funds).

Artevelde Students Making a Difference

These vending machines offer expired cookies, chips, dried fruit and chocolate. The flavours are also compelling. They’re ones not easily found in supermarkets.

It’s a way for students to get a variety of snacks quickly and inexpensively while cutting down on food waste. The question is… are consumers helping the environment in the process?

In many ways, yes, but it is worth noting that packaging waste and greenhouse gas emissions from running the machine hurt the environment.

Solution? Environmentally friendly vending machines which sell safe, expired food wrapped in environmentally friendly packaging at a reduced cost! Inventors take note.

Expired food vending machine at Artevelde University, Belgium.

Meet the Team

Iranna Baniasadi

Seneca College
Producer: Sustainable Fashion

Maria Jose Lopez Sotelo

Seneca College
Producer: Swapping for Change

Rahma Shafi

Seneca College
Producer: Social Enterprise in a Global Pandemic

Sijmen Moors

Artevelde University
Producer: Artevelde Students Making a Difference

Chloë Martin

Artevelde University
Producer: More Than a Vending Machine

Camilo Villar

Artevelde University
Producer: More Than a Vending Machine

Fien Moons

Artevelde University
Producer: Artevelde Students Making a Difference

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