Entrepreneur Spotlight

Kenyan company finds large market for eco-friendly pencils

Kenyan entrepreneurs Anthony Kirori and Ivan Ochieng manufacture hundreds of thousands of pencils every year from recycled newspaper at their factory in Nairobi. They co-founded Green Pencils Ltd in 2012 to offer an eco-friendly alternative to wood-based pencils.

“There was also an obvious gap in the industry. Although there is a big market for pencils, Kenya mostly relies on imported products. About 100 million pencils are imported every year,” says Kirori. “By using recycled newspapers we are helping protect the environment by reducing littering and the number of trees being cut to produce wooden pencils.”

We often hear in Japan the expression ‘mottainai,’ which loosely means 'wasteful’ but in its full sense conveys a feeling of awe and appreciation for the gifts of nature or the sincere conduct of other people.
— Hitoshi Chiba, Look Japan, “Restyling Japan: Revival of the 'Mottainai’ Spirit”, 2002

(word submitted by extraordinarysitay)

Ramadan Reinspired: Day One

Our mothers in Syria. Our brothers in Palestine. Our sisters in Iraq. Our family in Kashmir and everywhere else. Most of them go to bed hungry every night without even a bite of stale bread to chew upon. So the next time you’re throwing away that last plate or that morsel of food, remember that somewhere around the world a mother is trying to put her starving children to sleep.

We need to be more considerate about others and the environment, and encourage our family & friends to do the same. When you see someone wasting food, speak against it.

“And eat and drink but waste not by extravagance, certainly He (Allâh) likes not Al-Musrifûn (those who waste by extravagance)”

[al-A‘raaf 7:31]

More Inspiration | www.LionofAllah.com

How we waste different kinds of food, in one graphic

Over the past week on It’s Okay To Be Smart, I’ve been posting a series of videos all about energy: What it is, how we harness it, and how we use it, and what exactly Doc Brown meant when he screamed “1.21 jig-a-watts!!” The third video in the series looks at a huge and often-ignored energy problem: energy waste

It’s a well-accepted rule in physics that energy can not be created or destroyed, but it can definitely be thrown away. As it happens, food is one of the main energy waste culprits: what we toss in the trashcan, what we don’t eat, what spoils, there’s a multitude of reasons that much of the food we produce never goes into nourishing any human bodies. But we never seem to think about the wasted water, fertilizer, transportation, processing, packaging, and storage that we’re throwing away with it. 

We throw away a whopping 40% of our food in the US. All in all we’re throwing away about 2% of our annual energy budget in the form of food. That should leave a bad taste in your mouth.

The infographic above (you can view it larger here) details the places where different food types get wasted. Grains, for instance, have a long shelf life, but they are relatively cheap, so we tend to throw what we don’t away without much thought. Meat and dairy, on the other hand, are thrown away slightly less because of their higher cost, but far more energy and water goes into producing them, so those losses are amplified.

Head over to PopSci to get a detailed analysis of this important infographic, and please eat everything on your plate :)

infographic by Katie Peek


Ugly produce is having a moment. After decades of going straight to landfills and compost heaps, three-legged carrots and bulbous tomatoes are starting to make it onto shelves at a few pioneering grocery stores.

For stores that aren’t quite ready to put weird-looking produce on display, a new brand in the Netherlands is selling the vegetables in a different form. Kromkrommer—a play on the Dutch words for cucumber and crooked—blends imperfect potatoes and beets into soup and packages them up with cute cartoon versions of the misshapen veggies.

More: How To End Food Waste, One Ugly Vegetable At A Time | Co.Exist | ideas + impact

— rw