Naked cucumbers and banana hammocks

19 November 2010
Breaking news: Waste management is fun. Now okay, it might be a term used by the mafia and taken singularly, neither the word, ‘waste’ or, ‘management’ is going to evoke excitement at a dinner party. But, if you get stuck into it (the subject, not actual waste), you will find that it is a sexy topic rife with banana hammocks, naked cucumbers and incidents of ‘glassphemy’. In case you’re still a little confused, let me explain. Banana hammocks were created by Tesco to replace the cardboard boxes previously used to display bananas in order to reduce waste. Naked cucumbers are, as you might expect, cucumbers sold without the plastic covering. And glassphemy is pulverising glass as you recycle to displace aggression. All of these ideas fall within the realm of waste management and serve to make it a fun topic, but not fun enough. We need more ideas so it’s time for a Supply Management challenge. The challenge: To engage in a little bit of outside-the-box thinking (feel free to take this literally, boxes are a big issue) and come up with ideas to reduce waste. The rules: You are encouraged to try and make them as feasible as possible, but failing that, just let rip. The only hard-and-fast rule is that it has to relate to waste management. 
 
To give you a helping hand, here are a few examples to get you thinking:
 
Naked cucumbers: By removing the plastic packaging, the Co-Op claim they will make annual savings of eight tonnes of plastic. Hot Swedish bodies: An office in Stockholm was able to use the heat generated by busy commuters  in the city’s central station to heat water, which was then pumped into their office to provide 15 to 30 per cent of the office’s heat. It cost £19,500 but is claimed to produce annual energy savings of 15-30 per cent. Designer handbags: Dutch company Rag Bag collects plastic bags from the streets of Delhi, processes them into strong thick sheets of plastic which are then converted into an array of products including handbags, wallets and documents holders. Final advice: Don’t get bogged down with the details, we’re looking for concepts, think about some of the things your company could use more efficiently and then let your mind run free (and post your ideas in the comments section below this blog).
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