If you spent any time in a bar last year, you very likely heard the buzz surrounding single-use straws. Little table tents and posters proclaiming “Straws suck” are everywhere. Across the nation, bars are eliminating single-use straws. But have you heard of single-use foods? No? Well, that’s where Kelsey Ramage, Iain Griffiths, and their concept-driven business called Tiki Trash, come into play.

Founded in 2016 by Ramage and Griffiths, co-workers at the time in a London cocktail bar, Tiki Trash aims to educate bartenders about the myriad values, and multiple uses an ingredient can offer a mixologist. While the name sounds sensational, the duo isn’t literally plucking items from a wastebasket and adding them to spirits. Rather, the idea is to “intercept” ingredients that would otherwise be headed for the trash and teach bartenders — professional and amateur —how to reuse them in creative ways.

“As bartenders,” says Griffiths, “we saw that chefs had a respect for the produce they were using, chefs had an understanding of the value of everything that came through the door. But the bartenders were missing it. So, we thought it’s about creating a mental shift.”

Since its inception, the two founders have traveled to over 100 cities and 120 events to spread their ideas at pop-up cocktail bars and educational seminars, partnering with food scientists and agricultural experts to ensure quality and sustainability. Upon learning about Tiki Trash, New York City bar Pouring Ribbons created a 24-drink menu without one single-use ingredient included.

Photography By- Lyndon French

No matter how diligent and scientific the duo’s messaging, the question remains: what is the average person’s reaction to a drink concocted, created, and poured by folks with the words “Tiki Trash” emblazoned on their chests? “We do make sure everyone knows this stuff hasn’t been in the trash and that it’s safe,” says Ramage. “And our recipes are researched. You just have to look to the non-profit, Rethink Food, in New York City, for another example of how effective this education can be.” Rethink has provided over 61,500 meals to the homeless from ingredients that would otherwise be destined to be thrown out.

Photography By- Lyndon French

While using foods in multiple applications saves the consumer money, it also helps the planet by slowing the growth of landfills. “If all the wasted, reusable food were a country”, explains Griffiths, “it would be the third largest carbon emitter in the world, behind only America and China. This alone is reason to rethink how we consider food waste,” he says.

But saving food can also be an enjoyable challenge. To imagine how one ingredient can be used multiple times can be a fun puzzle to crack. For example, the fennel greens chopped from the base can be used to garnish a cocktail. Or the lime juiced for a gin and tonic can be first peeled and those peels used to make lime bitters for a new ingredient offering.

Photography By- Steve Ryan

“There are so many hacks we can learn,” Griffiths says. “A single piece of citrus can provide 3-6 uses. We have to consider how we can hack the products we’re buying to get the most out of them. Sustainability has to be at the root of what we’re doing from now on.”


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