Sugarcane, Pina Coladas, and Yuhme's Water Bottles

So, you probably know by now that our water bottles are made of sugarcane but believe it or not, we haven’t taken a stalk of sugarcane, filled it with water and stuck a lid on it. Maybe something for the future but here I’m going to give you all a breakdown of how it really works and why we are the ‘World’s most eco-friendly, reusable water bottle with a purpose.’ 

Our bottle is made of polyethylene, which is a plastic designed for repeated use. The company that produces the raw material is based in Brazil, why’s this important? Because Brazil is the biggest grower of sugarcane in the World, mostly to produce ethanol which they run their cars off. Upto 96% of cars are flex-fuel; they run on petrol and biofuel.  

Now, I can sense the excitement and anticipation at the prospect of all this science but just control yourselves! So the brazilian sugarcane is taken and fermented and distilled to produce ethanol, basically alcohol, you know that you have in your beer or Pina Colada, depending on your taste. It’s worth mentioning that nearly all other plastics are produced from oil, unless they are a bioplastic (see the last blogpost on bioplastics, go on you know you want to?!), Therefore Yuhme's water bottles are produced from a renewable resource. Extremely important when we talk about our environment and sustainability for future generations. 

We take our ethanol, or Pina Colada if you prefer, and this is where our manufacturer in Brazil does it’s magic. They have created a process which turns Pina Coladas into ethylene, which is subsequently polymerised (lots of ethylene is bonded together) to create polyethylene. This is then shipped to our bottle manufacturer in Sweden which produces the Yuhme water bottles in a no waste production site.  

But why is Yuhme's water bottle the World’s most eco-friendly?  Because that whole process I’ve described above is CO2 negative, not neutral but negative.  That whole process actually absorbs more CO2 from the atmosphere than it releases. From the photosynthesis of the sugarcane, to fermenting the sugarcane, to burning the remains of the sugarcane to produce steam which is used to create electricity. This runs the plant that produces our Pina Colada plastic (polyethylene) and the excess is fed back into the grid to power homes, schools, hospitals etc. 

Take a bow Brazil! It’s a brilliantly clever technique that uses a plant to its utmost and allows us to create a product that is good for the environment and humanity. Let’s all raise our Pina Coladas to that!

sugarcane

  

Lost in Translation

We get a lot of questions and confusion around the term bio-plastic so we thought we would take a bit of time to explain what the different terms mean according to us. So at least you understand what we mean when we talk about them.

Bioplastics are not just one single material. They comprise of a whole family of materials with different properties and applications. According to European Bioplastics, a plastic material is defined as a bioplastic if it is either biobased, biodegradable, or features both properties.

So if you take our water bottle, it is produced from a biobased material, sugarcane but it does not biodegrade. It needs to be recycled in your conventional recycling systems.

If we take a bioplastic like PLA (polylactic acid) produced from corn, quite a lot of one use food items such as cutlery and bowls are produced from PLA now. They are biodegradable in commercial composters but they cannot be recycled and they will not biodegrade in your home composter. They need high temperatures, moisture and air in order to biodegrade and if they end up in landfill they will not biodegrade either and end up releasing methane gas which is a much stronger greenhouse gas than CO2.

So there is a bit of Monday knowledge for you. We’re all now a little bit smarter, just call me Hawking!

Picture from https://www.chuuzyconsumer.com/

Love

Alex Nash

Water for the Good, Bad and Ugly- The Jim Hocking Interview

The voice is deep and clear as it jumps out from my phone. The accent is distinctly American and betrays the childhood spent in the Central African Republic, as well as a large portion of his adult life. Jim Hocking is the founder of Water for Good, a man of faith but after speaking to him for just a few minutes it is clear that his faith is not just reserved for God. Within every anecdote, recollection, summation comes the emphatic and unrelenting faith in humanity.

Jim Hocking is the son of 2 former missionaries in the Central African Republic, his mother and father moved there in 1957 to take up a position in a youth training programme. He enjoyed his childhood or as he describes it, “ It was a real boy’s world, we spent our days playing, building forts and hunting. The experience cannot be said to be the same for my own daughter however, she did not enjoy it as much as my sons.”

There were also the negative sides of living in the CAR during that time. The biggest being communications and logistics, as Jim says himself,

“We could expect food shipments every 6 months and it’s not like it is now, where you can get anything you need in the CAR. If you were running low on food there wasn’t anywhere else to get it. You just had to hang on for the next shipment.”

Communication was just as dreadful, explained Jim,

“We didn’t find out about the death of my grandpa till 1 month afterwards. It took that long for the telegram to reach us.”

In 1984 Hocking returned to the CAR fulltime as a missionary youth trainer using the skills that he had learnt, over a 20 year period he trained carpenters, mechanics and plumbers among other things. He quickly realised that they were smart people and as Jim recollects,

“Many of them became better than I was and what was most remarkable was the change in the person when they realised that they weren’t useless, that they had a skill. That empowerment and pride changed them in unbelievable ways.”

Thus highlighting the difference between charity and aid. While aid short term has the ability to deliver vital resources into an area with an acute problem very quickly to relieve that problem, long term it creates dependency. Charity on the other hand, while unable to deliver the short term impact of aid, has a greater long-term significance in generating jobs, schools, industries and ultimately hope if done in the right way. While these two definitions of charity and aid are not necessarily applicable in all situations, I think charity can became aid and vice versa, they are a good measuring stick.

Water for Good, founded in 2004, by Jim Hocking and his wife is a great example of what a charity can achieve if it commits to a cause and doesn’t betray the trust of the people it is there to help. As Hocking explains,

“We gave AIDS education, hygiene and sanitation advice and we dug wells and most importantly, we kept coming back. Because we kept coming back they started to trust us and they wanted to know why we kept coming back. They had such a low opinion of themselves because so many people and organisations had come and gone that they thought they were worth nothing. When we stayed it offered hope.”

Fast forward to 2016 and the wells being drilled in the CAR are done by Marcellin Namsene, a Central African whose father became friends with Jim Hocking in the 1960s. Hocking goes on to say,

“Marcellin does a great job and it was a necessary step to make. In order to empower the people of the CAR they need to take on the responsibility for the drilling and maintenance of the wells, although it’s been hard for Marcellin, he has established a business. He finds it hard with the bookkeeping, which we help him with, but now it works well and all the maintenance teams pick and train their own people, often younger .That way they are empowering future generations to take care of the water for themselves.”

Water for Good supplies about 10% of the CAR with water and recently plans have just been agreed to supply every region within the Central African Republic with clean water by 2030. This is bold ambition on the part of WFG but something we at Yuhme believe they can achieve and hopefully we can contribute in many ways to supplying clean water to the people of the CAR.

And where does Jim Hocking fit into all this? Well, he is no longer CEO having stepped down a year ago through a board decision which was extremely hard but which forced him to face up to some of his weaknesses, as Jim describes,

“We had to train and empower the American staff as well and I can see now that I tended to micro-manage especially in the beginning. I think I am more of a creator and innovator.”

He also adds,

“Richard Klopp who has taken over as CEO and Jon Allen who is COO, both do an excellent job and are both excellent managers.”

But Jim still travels to the CAR with WFG 2-3 times a year with sponsors, as well as travelling to other parts of Africa namely the Congo, Sierra Leone, Ghana and South Sudan where he works as a consultant for other charities and NGOs. So, at 63 years of age Jim shows no signs of slowing down but that is in keeping with the man himself, in his own words,

“ I am a little crazy! “

The man who has shaken the hand of every president but one of the Central African Republic, an innovator and creator of an organisation that works in one of the most dangerous countries in the world with some of the most forgotten people on the planet. A man who provides water to them but more importantly a voice out to the world that had long ago stopped listening and caring because there was nothing in it for them. A population that, through Water for Good, have been allowed to show their worth, regain their pride and integrity because someone gave them a chance. Not a handout, but a chance. An opportunity to prove to themselves and anyone else who cared to listen, that they have the ability to succeed and lead themselves out from the ruin of their colonial past.

The incumbent President, Faustin-Archange Touadera, has just had a disarmament meeting with both the Seleka Muslim rebels and the Christian anti-balaka group. The first time that both parties have sat down together to discuss disarmament. I hear both the hope and caution in Jim’s voice as he tells me about the promise that this potentially has for the country but in a land where there has always been a certain degree of instability he is understandably guarded. But hope springs eternal and there is one thing that is unshakeable with Hocking, and that is his faith in God and humanity.

Water for Good is based in Winona Lake, Indiana and works exclusively in the Central African Republic.

If you would like to know more or make a donation then you can visit their website@ www.waterforgood.org.

Lots of love,

Alex & Alex

Yuhme Tribe

Have you ever wanted to make a difference? Do something that is bigger than yourself? Help others? Or fulfill your own inner dream of a higher purpose?

We have noticed that in our journey on trying to make a difference that we all need to work together. That is something that the world of Social Entrepreneurship really has taught us. We are you and you are us. Yuhme is our way of sharing our view and dream of the future, but Yuhme is also yours. Your platform to use for the greater good.

The power of Social Media has done great things for us, selling all over the world already after only four months. People are coming together that want to do good for humanity and the earth they walk on. However, there is one thing more magical than this. The personal meeting- when you sit down with one person, look them in the eyes, your undevoted attention, the ability to read reactions, to hug and to inspire.

As people leading with our hearts, this is what we see for us and you. We are on the hunt for our Yuhme Tribe, the ambassadors, the passionate, the inspirational, the people that see that one single person’s actions matter.

Maybe you want share our message with the world, get your family to buy gifts with a purpose for Christmas, host your own event for clean water, get your sports team to drink out of a renewable resource, the options are endless. What matters is we do this together as the Yuhme Tribe and that we keep in mind that we can all make a difference.

If you are interested in becoming a part of the Yuhme Tribe please email us at alex.nash@yuhme.se . We will be searching for the entire month of April just in time to get that water drinking sorted for the summer.

 

Much love Alex & Alex

What's a social Entrepreneur?

Well we all know what an entrepreneur is, in fact you could say that it is the profession of the moment. It seems that all you need to be an entrepreneur these days is an instagram account and a few thousand followers, then you can open a web shop  because the masses have automatically started gravitating towards you because of your incredibly witty and insightful blog. Unfortunately, it is not that easy and I'm not entirely sure that is what qualifies as being an entrepreneur, or at the very least there is a big difference between the Richard Bransons and Elon Musks of this world compared with the Kim Kardashians. Building a business on the back of the cult of celebrity is, while showing great entrepreneurial instinct, not in my eyes the definition of an entrepreneur. We think a good way to judge whether someone is really an entrepreneur is to ask yourself if the respective person is known because of a product or invention as opposed to is their product/invention known because of them? While not true in all cases, it's a pretty good measuring stick.

But what is a social entrepreneur and or a social enterprise? In the case of our company, Yuhme, the business is set up to make a social impact (by providing water) to one of the world's most impoverished countries (Central African Republic) through our partner Water for Good. We also have an environmental impact because our water bottles use a renewable resource, sugarcane and the whole manufacturing process of the plastic is CO2 negative. The knock-on effect of providing clean water to someone in the CAR is that people, particularly children, don't have to walk such great distances to fetch water, which is often dirty and makes the family sick. The children stay in school and the parents can spend time working to provide for their children. In the CAR this is mainly agriculture which obviously also benefits from having a clean water source close at hand. So a little thing such as a clean water has a massive social impact, especially in the continent of Africa and especially in the CAR where the average life expectancy is 44 years old.

But we are by no means the 1st social enterprise. We were inspired by the story of TOMS shoes, founded by Blake Mycoskie. On an adventure travelling around Argentina he noticed that there were many children without shoes, and this in turn affected their health, ability to go to school and collecting water from the local well. After seeing and speaking to a woman doing a local shoe drive and understanding the problem he decided to use local artisans to make the national shoe called an alpargata. He would then sell the shoes on the US market and here is the social part, for every pair of shoes he sold he would give a pair to a child in need. Fast forward to 2014 and Mycoskie sells half the company to Bain Capital for around $300 million after donating over 10 million pairs of shoes.

So what's our point? Donate a certain amount of money to earn loads of money by selling your company to a capital investment company? Well, not really, Of the money Mycoskie got from Bain Capital he has pledged to give away $150 million to newly started social businesses, this in itself encourages the growth of this kind of business. But the point is of greater perspective, imagine if all businesses pledged to involve themselves in a social/environmental/humanitarian problem? The effect of this would be huge, no longer would these problems just be funded by governments(taxpayers) and the people that worked for these companies would certainly feel a greater sense of worth because of what their company contributed. Not so much money would have to go through the corrupt governments of these lands where the world's most needy and impoverished wallow. In our eyes this kind of thinking is to the benefit of all of us and this is the path that Yuhme has set out on.

Love
Alex & Alex

 

 

Feel the Power!

Explosive! There’s nothing quite like explosive power to impress the baying masses, whether it be Usain Bolt running the 100m in 9:58 secs, Eddie Hall deadlifting 500kg or Kolokov hang snatching 200kg. These feats of extreme power leave us as spectators breathless with anticipation of can he/she do it? To pounding hearts during the event, it is almost as if we are the performing athlete. Followed by that post-adrenaline glow and impression of dumbfoundment at what you have just witnessed. That’s a power event ladies and gentlemen and this is the number one draw in motivating, inspiring and getting people hooked on sport. And what a drug it is.

The road to these extraordinary displays of power is as hard as that of a marathon runner, It’s just the training methods are different but no less brutal. As with any sport, the battle ground is between your ears, in your own head, trying to push yourself that bit further than your limit, while not capitulating to your fear of failure and preserving your self-belief. These are the areas where sport is won and lost, very rarely on the day of the event itself but in the hours in the gym, the early mornings, the nights you missed out with your friends, the injuries you come back from, the stiffness and pain that is there every morning but you don’t even acknowledge it now because it’s like your oldest friend from childhood.

Yeah, that’s power alright, the power of sport.

 

Now I would like to present our 2 athletes giving their top tips on beefing up your strength and power. Kirsty Palmer@kirstypalmer_fit and Jordan Glossop@jord_velocity travel the world working as professional coaches learning from the best in the industry and producing great results for their clients.

kirsty and jordan.jpg

With their wealth of experience they know a thing or two about how to get you stronger and moving with power!

Here are their top five tips:

1. Find a local coach to supervise your training,

2. Begin a progressive overload program,

3. Perfect the basic compound lifts,

4. Don’t let your ego take over, remain patient,

5. Correct nutrition and hydration are vital.

 

And there you have it, 5 basic tips to get us all started on the road to sport superstardom or maybe just to get out of bed feeling like you did a workout yesterday.

As the great Muhammad Ali said,

 

“I hated every minute of training, but I said, Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.”

 

And while we can’t all be champions like Ali, we can be the champions over ourselves. You’ve just got to use the power between your ears.

 

Alex Nash

Yuhme

 

It's a marathon not a sprint

On the release of our 2nd training post by Sarah Eriksson @simplifythegetgoing we're talking about endurance, and I mean serious endurance! Not 10, 20, 40 or 50km but someone who has done a 100km race, the Transgrancanaria. Now there are many people that say long distance is boring, it has nothing on the 100 or 200m and maybe from a spectators point of view that is true to some people. But there is at least 2 sides to every story and the other side is how many long distance events are there all over the world compared to short distances? I don't know the exact figures but there is something that draws us to long distance running, or should I say long distance events; marathons, ultra-marathons, triathlons, iron-mans, bike tours across Europe, swim-runs, even cross-fit is a test of strength-endurance, you name it, as long as it's long we love it. So why is that?

I have a theory. Nothing scientific, just a pontification. Like life, endurance races aren't necessarily about winning, they're about surviving. It's about us exhibiting all those traits, commitment, resilience, fortitude, stubbornness, determination, perseverance etc. that we need in life to succeed. And if we are talking about success in life in pure scientific terms then it's passing on your genetic code with someone else who has good genetic code, outside of your immediate family, or not so immediate family. Best to just keep the genetic code sharing well outside of the family! Anyway I digress, it's not about 1st, 2nd or 3rd. It's about surviving, you survive then you win. Probably best for me to leave it to Sarah to explain,

Sarah aka Simplifythegetgoing

Sarah aka Simplifythegetgoing

" I write headlines and go for them. I am resilient, determined and have learned how to adapt. I have encountered major challenges in life and managed every curveball thrown my way. I believe in dancing with the moves and rolling with the punches but still keep moving forward. I turn obstacles into opportunities and my energy ignites, motivates and inspires, this is my biggest asset. I believe it is about the journey, not the destination and that you are up to you. I believe in knowing what your drive is and feeding that. Creating your own contentment and that it's about moments not things. I believe in passion and navigating through the highs and lows while managing obstacles. I believe it is about deep relationships and the most important one is with ourselves. I believe in not getting intimidated by fears and living life with a positive mindset. I believe in you."

And there you have it, if you can't feel the passion coming through that paragraph from Sarah then you probably can't read. You can check out Sarah's post @ouryuhme on instagram and you can get 15% off the Yuhme Endurance bottle by using the code 'simplify15'. Go get yourselves the World's most eco-friendly, reusable water bottle with a purpose and follow Sarah's top tips to get yourself in shape for that first marathon, triathlon or fun run. It's inevitable.

 

Yuhme and Yoga

Welcome to the 1st Yuhme blog post. So what's this all about? Well, to those of you who don't know what Yuhme is, we are a social entrepreneurial company. What's that? We basically make money to give it away! We have designed and sell the World's most eco-friendly water bottle with a purpose. Every bottle we sell, we give 6 months clean water to someone in the Central African Republic through our partner Water for Good. Any thing else you want to know you can find out on the website.

During January we're going to have 3 guest training posts that represent our 3 bottles the Namaste, the Power and the Endurance by 3 experts in their field. And we're starting with Yoga Johanna, and unsurprisingly yoga. What's that I hear? You're too tough for yoga! Or yoga is for women. Or any other stereotype you want to throw in there. I played semi-pro rugby back home in England for 10 years before I moved to Sweden because of woman. Not just any woman though, she is now my wife and we have 2 children together as well as being the brains behind Yuhme. Anyway back to the rugby, if I had known about the real benefits of yoga when I was playing I definitely would have done it. I try and do yoga about twice a week now because I'm so tight in my hips from years of playing rugby. I've got pretty good flexibility on the whole but when it comes to trying to get my butt on the ground in one-legged king pigeon or even trying to cross my legs for fire log, I start to resemble a man having an MMA fight with himself. Put simply, yoga will make you a better athlete and it is suitable for people of all ages and physical abilities. Don't get me wrong, just because you do yoga you're not going to go from Kermit the frog to rocky Balboa but you will be more flexible and the associated benefits of that. Also, there are psychological and spiritual benefits, better focus and control and if nothing else you get some time with your own thoughts, something that's important if you have small children.

But don't take my word for it, let me present the amazing @yogayohanna as seen in the picture below. Head on over to our instagram @ouryuhme to see Johanna in action.

 

Johanna aka Yogajohanna

Johanna aka Yogajohanna