Approximately 40% of food in the United States – about $165 billion each year – is wasted. Much of that food ends up in landfills. In addition to being an ethical and moral matter, the issue of food waste also represents a practical challenge for grocery stores.
Can a Washington-based start-up founded by former Microsoft employees help? WISErg is a hybrid technology company combining bio-, clean- and high-tech systems. The company claims that its Harvester machine can turn “food matter into a high-nutrient liquid that can be converted to organic fertilizer.” After converting food waste – which can take between six and 24 hours, the liquid is processed at a WISErg facility. After processing, it’s sold to farmers…and consumers. Right now, WISErg says its processing 15,000 gallons of fertilizer each month.
The Harvester also delivers data to help stores cut down their food waste. “It’s not about just how much goes out the back door but why it goes out the back door,” [Larry] LeSueur says. “My job is to make that product go out the front of the store so that you can get paid for it.”
The Harvester is being used by several retail chains, including Whole Foods. In the future? The company is working to develop Harvesters that would “fit in restaurants or homes.”