As we write this, the UK – and the rest of the world – is in the grip of the Coronavirus pandemic. The news headlines keep reminding us (as if we needed reminding) that these are extraordinary and unprecedented times, and – in just a few short weeks – COVID-19 has already turned the world we knew upside-down. It’s shown us that, for all our technology and scientific advancements, we are still small and vulnerable in the face of nature. It’s forced us to re-examine the way we’ve been living our lives, and to recognise the responsibilities we have to ourselves, each other, and the welfare of our planet.
If we’re going to build a happier, healthier, and more successful and affluent future for ourselves and our children, it’s more important than ever to focus on our individual health and wellbeing, the health and wellbeing of others, and the health and wellbeing of the Earth. It’s time to reduce our global footprint, reverse climate change, prevent plastic pollution and environmental waste, and stop the unnecessary plundering of our world’s natural resources.
That’s what Earth Restored is all about, and it’s a journey that’s inspired by founder Maxwell Madhoda’s children.
Maxwell explains: “My children are very, very conscious of the environment. They worry about the environment and they complain about anything they see that’s detrimental to the environment, like using plastic straws or not recycling properly. Although I’d always been aware of the issue, and did my best to do the right things, our children opened my eyes even further. That’s when I felt a need to act, especially where climate change is concerned.
“We need to be savvier about our environment and the place we live in. We need to be more responsible. No matter what certain politicians have said, the climate change movement has shown us that there is a problem, we’re on a countdown, and it’s important to come up with solutions and business ideas that will address and reverse the damage that climate change is doing.
“Plastic pollution is also a major problem. So is wasting water, unnecessarily using harmful chemicals, digging out landfills and dumping them full of waste that doesn’t biodegrade.
“One of the sectors that produces a phenomenal amount of waste is the food industry. That’s why we created Earth Restored, to produce food packaging and disposable tableware for households, restaurants, takeaways and retailers that can be composted, recycled, and is a naturally sustainable, biodegradable, plastic-and-chemical-free product.”
Maxwell’s previous roles as an accountant and healthcare recruitment specialist have given him a unique perspective on finding innovative solutions to challenging problems. He’s learned a lot from working in very different sectors, with very different people, although ultimately he believes everything operates in the same way; “It’s a matter of adjusting, just as we’ve got to adjust to how the world is changing and how much we’re influencing the climate. Whatever we do, we always have to look for the best solutions, and constantly ask ourselves the question ‘How can we make it better?’ When it comes to addressing the problem of food industry waste and climate change, Earth Restored is our answer. We’re very excited about it, and we hope everybody else will be too.”
The importance of building awareness
“Society still needs so much more information,” Maxwell says. “There are plenty of people out there who want to do more for the environment but believe the paper plates they’re currently using are still adequate. We’d like them to stop and think about that for a moment; have you considered the many environmentally harmful industrial processes those paper plates have gone through, the materials and chemicals required to produce them, the trees that have been torn down and not replaced? From a practical standpoint, are your paper plates even robust enough?
“The majority of our products are made from sustainable, vegetable raw materials. That means they offer far more practical and environmentally ethical benefits than paper or plastic alternatives. We don’t strip the trees; we use the leaves that have naturally fallen. We don’t use chemicals in the production of our packaging and tableware, we offset all the emissions we cause, and our entire range is 100% carbon neutral. Our vegetable-based products are also strong and sturdy and can hold liquids and hot foods with ease, whereas a lot of other disposable tableware can quickly become warped and soggy.”
Building awareness is an important part of Earth Restored’s mission. “If we can build the awareness that things need to change and make people aware of the benefits our Earth Restored products can give, we’ll all start to be the difference,” says Maxwell.
Beginning the journey
Earth Restored has two main brands. Our ‘be the difference’ brand is aimed at household consumers, and it’s perfect for day-to-day use, parties, barbecues, picnics, and any other social event or entertainment you can think of. For example, when you don’t feel like doing the washing up, or if you want to save water and energy bills by not putting traditional plates in the dishwasher, just drop our products in the recycling bin to be composted. You’ll also have the satisfaction of knowing that the Earth Restored tableware you’re using has been responsibly sourced with a minimal footprint left on the environment.
Our other brand, ‘ética’, has been especially designed for the business market, with a particular focus on the takeaway sector. Like all our products, it is biodegradable, compostable, produced from sustainable raw materials, and cost-and-energy efficient. Not only does that make sound economic and ethical sense for the restaurant or takeaway that’s using our ética plates and packaging, it sends a positive message to their customers too: ‘We’ve just bought our food from a vendor who cares about the world we’re living in.’
Giving back to the community
The Earth Restored brand has only just been launched, so Maxwell currently leads a relatively small team here in the UK. in partnership with Norwich’s prestigious Rooftop Gardens. However, there are over 100 people working for Earth Restored in Chenai, India, where the raw plant materials are sourced and our plates and packaging are manufactured. “We selected Chenai because, after talking with other potential suppliers, Chenai seemed the most natural, organic fit for what we’re trying to achieve,” explains Maxwell, “The people of Chenai face incredible social and economic challenges with poverty, unemployment, and lack of education. I was born in Zimbabwe, so I have a very good understanding of all the challenges the Third World faces in just trying to get basic education for their children. When a family can’t afford the school fees, you end up with scenarios where the child drops out of school, stays at home and tries to feed the family because that’s the only way they can survive. So, by working with the local people, using the naturally sustainable resources available in the area, and supporting the various Thuvakkam educational projects that are taking place in the community, we’re really hoping we can make a big difference to everybody’s futures.”
Be the difference
We began Earth Restored at the very start of 2020, almost two months before COVID-19 arrived in Europe, and our motto was three simple words: ‘be the difference.’ Now, being the difference is more important than ever, but what does that really mean?
No matter how young or old we are, we can all individually change the world. Greta Thunberg has proven that. At just seventeen years old, she’s put the environment and climate change at the forefront of everybody’s agenda. George Clooney, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Jane Fonda are just three of the high-profile celebrities championing climate change awareness too. It’s amazing what you can do when personalities are involved and a face like Greta’s becomes the face of the environmental movement. She has power, but so do you.
‘Be the difference’ means each and every one of us making the changes to make things better. Changes like eliminating waste, cutting emissions, and choosing products that are sourced sustainably and can be easily recycled without harming the environment. We all have to make those changes and be the difference because, if we don’t make them, things will go the wrong way. We’re already seeing how disastrous that can be.
But, on the flipside, we’re also seeing the wonderful things that can happen when we leave nature to take care of itself. When Italy was locked down because of COVID-19 it was a tragedy, but no sooner had the boats and gondolas stopped ploughing up the Venice canals than the water cleared and the fish began to return. On the docks at Sardinia, dolphins appeared and started to play.
This current COVID-19 crisis is awful but look at the way it’s bringing people together (ironically, even in self-isolation!) Hopefully this unity will continue, because it’s the only way to heal our planet and reverse the effects of climate change. And unity begins with each of us, being the difference.
That’s why we hope you’ll join us on our journey, and choose Earth Restored.