Here is how you can make $10 for every slice of leftover bread and save our environment!

Janet Gao
3 min readAug 31, 2020
CRUST Bread Ale made from surplus bread

Did you know that roughly one third of all the food produced in the world for human consumption each year — approximately 1.3 billion tons — gets lost or wasted? This is enough to feed 815 million hungry people in the world four times over.

Additionally, food loss amounts to a major and needless squandering of resources, including water, land, energy, capital, and labor. It also has a huge impact on the planet, responsible for a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions. This translates to exacerbating climate change and a loss in biodiversity, whether from coral reefs or populations of mammals, birds, insects, fish and reptiles, upon which humanity depends on for survival.

Food loss is a symptom of systemic failures in the production and distribution of food. These range from faulty date labeling, which results in the disposal of perfectly fresh food, to cosmetic standards, which mean that fruits, vegetables, and other goods are rejected due to appearance rather than nutritional value.

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted our current economic system’s vulnerability to risks and inefficiencies, challenging us to rethink our old ways for resilience. “Business as usual” will not deliver the type of progress needed to ensure a prosperous and sustainable life on Earth. With a commoditized global system, we’ve more often than not lost the connection to local growers and producers. We need to value and appreciate our food’s journey. The disruptions present an opportunity for us to learn and to adopt business practices that are ecologically harmonious.

One company that is responding to the crisis in a way that also brings attention to the global challenge of climate change is CRUST Group [https://www.crustbrewing.com/]. CRUST, built around a belief in sustainability, provides unique circular economy solutions to the challenge of food waste. The circular economy is about developing new business models to eliminate waste and keeping materials within the economy for as long as possible. Fresh surplus ingredients are reincarnated into CRUST beverages and other products, granting them a new lease of life and thus helping to minimize food wastage. CRUST aims to change society’s mentality to wasting food with a positive message to maximize our resources.

CRUST’s flagship product is the CRUST craft beer made out of bread. By using surplus bread from bakeries, hotels, supermarkets, and other outlets, CRUST keeps unused bread from ending up in a landfill where it can take up to 25 years to decompose. To date, CRUST has saved 275 kg of bread through producing 4482 liters of beer. This equates to roughly 2135 kg worth of carbon emission saved based on a study done by BBC (Source: https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20200224-how-cutting-your-food-waste-can-help-the-climate).

To limit their carbon footprint, CRUST uses locally sourced ingredients through local farmers rather than importing. This cuts their carbon footprint drastically and in turn helps the environment and farmers in each market they operate in. At the end of the brewing process, spent grain is upcycled into nutritious granola bars, pancake mix, or back into the environment as feed and fertilizers. A circular beer indeed.

If we take our learnings from the current crisis seriously, the dawn of a new era of responsibility and community is upon us. The call to action is salient for companies and consumers alike in the food industry, given its outsized impact on humanity and the environment. As the food and beverage industry considers how best to meet the needs of the earth alongside those of their consumers, CRUST reminds us that there are compelling alternatives to a wasteful existence. What better way to end the day than with an ice cold beer, saving the environment while you’re at it? #SaveACrust

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