Do you want a cheap place to take your date that will impress him or her more than a five star restaurant? Try “The Rubbish Cafe” located in London at the Covent Garden… or at least it was… for two days, earlier this month! The cost of every meal was simply a piece of plastic rubbish removal! How’s that for a reasonably priced menu? It gives new meaning to the popular expression, “Pay with plastic.”

The Rubbish Cafe was a pop up restaurant put on by Ecover, a Malle, Belgium based company best known for their ecofriendly cleaning products. Ecover got started in 1980 selling phosphate-free laundry soap, years before phosphate-free laundry soaps were banned. Ecover is now turning its attention to the plastic rubbish removal problem in our oceans with the development of a plastic detergent bottle that is made from one hundred percent ocean debris plastic! This new bottle is just part of their commitment to do away with single use plastics and to encourage others to do the same.

Gauging from the enthusiastic tweets, The Rubbish Cafe was well received, an eco marketing slam dunk for Ecover all the way around. The menu featured food that was zero waste and created by the eco chef, Tom Hunt. The menu was all vegetarian, featuring vegan dishes like grain bowls and wild rice bowls with deliciously prepared vegetables and healthy vegetable oils. For dessert, you and your date could share some vegan banana bread filled with other types of fruit.

The interior of the pop up cafe was designed by Max McMurdo, a well known eco designer and an expert at upcycling rubbish removal. The concept of the Rubbish Cafe was also first envisioned by Max. The idea generated a huge amount of free publicity for both Ecover and the crisis we face with so much plastic littering our oceans. If someone showed up at the Rubbish Cafe with no rubbish removal in hand, they could still get a free meal by simply pledging to recycle their plastic. It was a “win win win” for Ecover, their customers, and the planet!

It also seems that the Rubbish Cafe isn’t the only type of rubbish removal cafe. A charity group called “The Real Junk Food Project” is busy setting up more than one hundred twenty such cafes in at least seven countries! The idea has caught on like wildfire and gone viral on social media so more people are getting involved all the time. So, perhaps if you don’t want to pay with plastic rubbish removal, you can instead enjoy eating it! LOL! You can also invite a friend along to help spread the message even further.

Some of these pop up rubbish removal cafes are in back alleys serving the people who experience real hunger and or a crisis in getting nutritious food. Often these are people on the margins of society who have no where else to turn for help. Other rubbish removal cafes are located in prime areas that raise awareness of the TWO BILLION TONNES of food that is going to landfills every year from grocery stores and restaurants. Each type of rubbish removal cafe serves an important purpose. The less food that is rotting in a dumpster, the less chance there is of rodent or insect infestations in heavily populated areas, which have been known to carry deadly diseases to humans in the past. There is only so much companies like can do. So really, there are many different ways in which this helps.

The founder of the The Real Junk Food Project charity staunchly believes that food is a basic human right and he treats all his customers, paying or not, with real dignity and respect. He also believes strongly in diverting food waste removal and other rubbish removal from landfills. He is putting ethics over profits or at least on par with profits. There is actually a wave of social entrepreneurs setting new business trends across the globe because they believe that ethics should play a critical role in business. Consumers are beginning to place an emphasis on this too when deciding which businesses to patronize. For instance, nowadays businesses are trying to reduce the amount of plastic in landfills by recycling it and making usable products. One such example can be ‘swaggr’ that makes sustainable socks by recycling waste plastic bottles with the motive to never let bottles end up in landfills.

Another social entrepreneur who has put ethics on par with profits is Daniel Long, the founder and CEO of Clearabee, a private on demand rubbish removal company based in the UK. Only eight years ago, Daniel left a high paying financial job to start his rubbish removal business with a man and van service. With a clear vision to divert as much rubbish removal from landfills as possible, he directed every aspect of his business to this goal.

Today, Clearabee has one of the best track records for diverting rubbish from landfills across all of Europe. They have greatly expanded the business and now collect rubbish across England, Scotland, and Wales. They boast about the fact that they reuse, upcycle, or recycle about ninety percent of all the rubbish they collect. This rivals countries like Germany and the Scandinavian countries who are on the front lines of diverting waste removal from landfills.