100 Ways graduates from Aster Foundation’s Inc. incubator and wins Engagement Award

Yesterday was a very special day. After 10 months of 100 Ways being part of the 2022/23 cohort of the Aster Foundation’s groundbreaking Inc. incubator, yesterday we graduated.

Although it was a bittersweet moment, with the current programme drawing to a close, it was uplifting too. 100 Ways in 100 Days was honoured and humbled to scoop Aster’s ‘Colleagues & Customers Engagement Award’ for our internal employee and external home renter programmes.

And when we say humbled, we mean properly, properly humbled. The cohort are all social impact businesses, single mindedly focused on making a positive difference in the world. It’s been a privilege to meet such warm and driven human beings, all with incredible ideas, energy and stories to tell.

They span technology that empowers independent living for older adults, to a monitor that measures invisible air pollution – and a platform for those with co-occurring addiction and mental health issues. Another platform is diversifying the cybersecurity industry. Then we have social gardeners who are pre-empting and combatting loneliness – and a practice of placemakers (architects creating vibrant, people-centred spaces that foster community and a sense of belonging).  A groundbreaking theatre project, for those with dementia, is jawdropping in its ambition.

A quarter of the ventures are dedicated to sustainability and helping save the planet.

We’ve just profiled Elle McIntosh (inventor of Twipes, the world’s first truly flushable wet wipes) on our website. Together with co-founder Al they are cleaning up, both here and in the US. Tze Ching Yeung on the other hand runs a community project aimed at getting young people into sustainable fashion. Ben Gibbons (who, incidentally, along with Compair’s Guy Monson, are two of the most elegant communicators we know) is founder of the extraordinary Circular11. It turns low-grade, otherwise unrecyclable plastic waste into building materials and home products.

So, thank you Aster Inc, and everyone who has made the last 10 months possible. Personal gratitude goes to: the wonderful Tamsin ‘the glue who holds it all together’ Southby; our sponsor, ball of strategic energy Aster COO Emma O’Shea, ‘The Chrisses’: Chris Bond, and, especially Chris Stenlake who encouraged us to apply in the first place. More thanks to remarkable Aster director Cam Kinsella and Aster’s financial wizard Toby Wernham. Mega-gratitude too, to superstar mentor Olya Yakzhina, head of people at the award winning social landlord data innovation, Switchee. Her razor sharp insights, practical advice and infectious enthusiasm have been an utter joy.

100 Ways in 100 Days is now a member of the ongoing Aster Inc. alumni group, meaning, together, we’ll deliver more impact, as a partnership across communities. We couldn’t be prouder.

The 100 Ways approach to food waste: Love your Leftovers!

Did you know that 33 per cent of food produced globally is wasted? And that uneaten and discarded food is one of the planet’s biggest offenders in terms of greenhouse gas emissions. They account for around 8-10 per cent.

If global food waste were a country, it would be THIRD LARGEST emitter after China and the US

That’s beyond shocking, isn’t it?

Various surveys have found that the top three wasted foods are bread, bananas and bagged salads, so for a slightly different, mini-blog, today we share some typically canny 100 Ways hacks to ensure your surplus grub is gobbled by YOU, not by your bin!

There are plenty of quick and easy ways to avoid waste. In our downloadable PDF, we’ve conjured up some delicious dishes for some of the most common groceries that get thrown away. Our Love your Leftovers micro-magazine has some super-easy tips to: revive wilty lettuce leaves, transform brown and bashed bananas into fancy French toast (fit for a boutique hotel) and to magic stale bread into crunchy, seriously scrumptious croutons.

Why not try them out? Just click the button below – and enjoy!

In today’s cost of living crisis it’s a relief to have ways of not only being kind to the planet, but being kind to your wallet as well.

You’re welcome!

French toast from Love your Leftovers - sustainable ideas in 100 Ways in 100 Days

Free tasty treat ideas to download

The Changemakers: Elle McIntosh, biomedical scientist and co-founder, Twipes

In this occasional series of interviews, we talk to pioneers conducting epic work in the sustainability sector. Our guest today is changemaker Ellenor (Elle) McIntosh. Elle is the inventor of 100% fully flushable Twipes wet wipes. She’s been recognised as a ‘Forbes 30 under 30’ young visionary and winner of the [London] Mayor’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

The inspirational Twipes team, along with 100 Ways in 100 Days, are part of the current Aster Foundation Inc. cohort of social impact entrepreneurs. Here we put the wonderful, and ever-modest Elle into our 100 Ways hot seat…

Can you explain what Twipes are, what they do and who they’re for?

Twipes are the world’s first truly flushable and truly biodegradable wet wipes. They’re entirely plastic-free, so they won’t clog pipes or add microplastic pollution to our oceans. Twipes are dermatologically-tested and gently antibacterial, so they make an excellent all-purpose skincare wipe – great for anything from post-gym wipe downs to messy toddlers, and of course toilet use (naturally).

What’s the benefit, for consumers and for the planet?

They’re designed to disperse in water in just three hours and begin breaking down the minute they’re flushed, before reaching the main drain. They also break down in landfill in just seven days, faster than bamboo or cotton wipes which range from three weeks to six months. This means our product takes less of a toll on the environment and your pipes – which is essential considering the UK alone uses 11 billion wet wipes each year.

What did you do prior to setting up Twipes – and what motivated you to turn your back on that career?

What didn’t I do!? I was working in a restaurant, Parliament, an oncology lab and running the business.

I wouldn’t call it turning my back on the career, at the beginning I started out working in a lab, which I loved – I plan on going back to the lab as soon as possible. What I now love about working on Twipes, is that I can work for myself, I have goals that I can work on and it’s for the business to go forward. It’s so refreshing to know that I can work for myself and toward my own goals, versus feeding the corporate machine or working toward the goals of someone else.

What’s your typical day like?

I wake up at 6:30-7 (on a good day) and head to the gym. After the gym I grab some food and a coffee and check my emails, manage the staff and go over business goals for the week, month, year. This is then broken up into daily goals that are distributed among the staff.

As a young start-up in sustainability, what have been your biggest challenges?

The biggest challenge is education. The problem for sustainable businesses like ours is cutting through the noise of misinformation. There’s so much of it and that is a challenge. To educate and teach the public that the sustainable options don’t always have to be more expensive, nor does it have to be harder.

And biggest successes?

Our biggest success has definitely been our move to America. We have recently received funding that has helped us secure a factory and an ability to move out to the States and ship Twipes from there too.

Funniest or weirdest moment?

My favourite question I’ve ever been asked about the Twipes is “can I drink the water after it [Twipes] has been dissolved in it.” Both me and my co-founder looked at each other and were confused as this is clearly a product for bathroom use. Just an FYI you can drink the water, but I most certainly would not recommend it.

What keeps you going when you fear everyone’s journey to Net Zero is going far too slowly?

That it’s not being ignored. People are still trying and whilst it may not happen as quickly as we want it to, at least we know that it is happening, and people are aware and are trying to do something about it.

What’s your top tip for easily achievable things people can do either at work, at home or at play to be more sustainable?

Take one day a week to do something sustainable. Meat-free Mondays are a great way to start. If you can start with one little change, you’re already doing your bit for the environment.

What’s the most exciting sustainability development you’ve heard about recently?

I think it’s less about one or two things and more that there is an influx of sustainable businesses being created. The changing attitude toward sustainability and the expectation that every single business now needs to have sustainable goals means that there are massive changes happening within traditional industries.

And finally, what’s next for Twipes?

I’m excited to be getting back into the labs, developing new products and tackling the world of other single-use plastic products. We are currently targeting retail and plan on getting our products into the likes of Whole Foods and Target.

How 100 Ways in 100 Days is helping to solve real world environmental problems

Wondered how 100 Ways in 100 Days™ came about? Well, a couple of years back, our founder Sue was running her own multi-award winning PR and marketing agency. One day she noticed a Deliveroo driver, delivering a bubble tea, on his moped, from a café just three minutes walk away, to someone in the office above. It was swathed in serviettes and sat in not one, but two plastic bags – and was accompanied by a plastic knife and fork.
An hour later, she spotted it, totally undrunk, with all its packaging, in the LANDFILL bin, right next to plastic and paper recycling.
She was aghast at how people could live their lives so unsustainably and 100 Ways in 100 Days was born.
Hackathon happy

Roll forward to last April and the University of Surrey (with whom 100 Ways has been working), held its #Hackathon17. It sought to get students together to come up with the most innovative ideas to address five environmental ‘problem statements’. All had to support the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (the SDGs).
The University was so inspired by the case of the bubble tea – and shocked at the scale of waste in the beverage industry that it was inspired to use the story as the basis of one of its ‘problem statements’. The industry uses huge amounts of plastic and packaging, much of which goes to waste.
One Hackathon team came up with an ingenious idea of collecting and recycling all the excess plastic, turning it into highly insulating, cosy blankets, with many going towards homeless charities and the rest sold for a profit. The team won a £500 award to get started on their new business idea – and then scooped another award from the University’s Living Lab to take it still further. Research and development is now in full swing. Watch this space!
What a superb partnership! Huge hats off to the people involved, especially: chemical engineer Shanahan Cox; ZenChai Bubble Tea founder Monz Islam and the amazing Kat Mack, student enterprise manager at the university.