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Discarded Spirits Co Create World First Face Mask From Waste Milk

Discarded Spirits Co, an innovation brand from William Grant & Son’s, continues to challenge perceptions on waste by creating a face mask made entirely from the byproduct of another mass consumed ingredient - milk. Pioneers of the circular economy, Discarded is excited to announce their latest project - Milk Masks. The initiative is driven from the brand's commitment to protect the environment and support bar staff who are returning to work to new hygiene and safety measures, in what is still an extremely uncertain time. Discarded is working with Mi Terro, a company that extracts the casein protein molecules from the bacteria found in "bad" milk and uses Dynamic Flow Shear Spinning to create sustainable fibres which Discarded has creatively reused to make rewearable face-masks. Discarded Milk Masks are the first of their kind and, in a bid to help the hard hit on-trade during the global pandemic, Discarded will be distributing them free of charge to selected bars around London and parts of the UK. Further supporting the on-trade, Discarded employed furloughed staff from the hospitality industry to make the face masks; providing work to those that have been most affected by the pandemic.

London-based bartenders who helped to deliver the masks: Sam Trevethyen, Head of Beverage Training & Development, Grind said: “It’s been said that face masks are the new plastic bottle in terms of the waste they are generating. Using an aspect of the supply chain that we are all involved in for example, milk waste is a really good way to give back to the bartending community. Regardless of your personal stance or your venue stance on wearing a mask during service, we all need a safe way of travelling to and from work, and wearing a mask is a vital part of that.” Alex King, Bartender, Artesian said: “We closed in March and we don’t know when we are going back. Face masks made from wasted milk is such a brilliant idea, obviously sustainability is a massive topic especially in the food and drink industry because of the amount of waste that is produced. If we can make face masks out of anything, especially things like wasted milk, it is a huge deal. Face masks are creating so much waste themselves, literally dumping them in the streets and littering. I’m really excited to see what Discarded makes next.” Chelsie Bailey, Happiness Forgets and Ever After said: “I think for me personally, wearing face masks are so much safer even though they are not necessarily mandatory by the government, here at Happiness and Ever After, we put that in place that the staff have to wear face masks. At first, I was very very confused that you could make a face mask from wasted milk but I think it’s great what Discarded have done, they have taken a waste product and made a sustainable product with it which I think is fantastic!” As always, Discarded is committing to reducing the amount of waste that ends up going to landfill. Milk is one of the worst products in terms of wastage per household.

  • UK dairy farmers produce around 14 billion litres of milk each year and 5 billion litres of that milk is sold for drinking - enough to fill 2,000 Olympic swimming pools.*

  • The UK wastes 490 million pints of milk as a nation - or 18.5 pints per household**

Shana Gujral, Marketing Executive, William Grant & Son’s said: “We have encountered a truly drastic change in the on trade and it is vital that we support our bartenders going back to work in a completely new environment. Typically, face masks are single use and have been named the new plastic bottle as they contribute to marine debris with a 450 year lifespan. So in true Discarded Spirits fashion, we sourced fabric which uses biotechnology to turn wasted milk into cotton fibres. This creates a super soft and breathable material, perfect for face masks and champions one of the UK’s most wasted household ingredient.”

Discarded is exclusively giving away a select number of limited edition masks to the public. To be in with a chance of winning and for further information, head to the Discarded Instagram page here.

Discarded offers two unique products with sustainability at the heart:

Discarded Banana Peel Rum, a fruity-forward rum turning what would otherwise be trash into treasure, is the latest product in Discarded Spirit Co’s growing sustainable portfolio. The original purpose for the Caribbean rum that forms the base of Discarded Banana Peel Rum was to impart flavour to prepare empty whisky casks for the final phase of maturation. Traditionally, the rum is then often sold on or even disposed of. Available to buy from RRP £25 Discarded Cascara Vermouth, a sweet vermouth made from left-over cascara berries which are dried and fermented and then steeped in alcohol for two weeks to extract the optimum flavour.

During the coffee bean harvest, billions of tonnes of cascara, the leftover fruit, are discarded as waste. To combat this mammoth waste of produce, Discarded creatively reuses cascara to create a rich, fruity and refreshing vermouth like no other. A key ingredient used to form the base of the unique vermouth is fortified wine, which itself has been creatively reused to season empty whisky casks; imparting flavour into the barrels ahead of whisky maturation. Available to buy from Waitrose RRP £19

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