Food Waste Alchemy

Food Waste Alchemy

Rochester, United States
Year Founded:
2013
Organization type: 
hybrid
Project Stage:
Idea
Budget: 
$500,000 - $1 million
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Invent an integrated alert system for food pantries and food waste recycling centers that restaurants and stores will be linked into. Dry foods are donated, perishable food products will be converted into bio diesel or compost fertilizer, and the rest is stripped down for destruction and recycling.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

On average, one person creates 1400 pounds of waste every year. Each day we each generate about 4-5 pounds of these scraps. If you were weighed based on this, that would be like gaining 9 pounds every two days. The direct cause is that 40% of food goes uneaten, which makes up 34 million tons of garbage a year because 97% of all food scraps are trashed. This is only in America! Imagine the rest of the world.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

An alert system that connects businesses will let food shelters and food waste recycling centers know when a grocery store or restaurant are dumping items, and schedule a pickup. All dry foods should be donated to food shelters, as so many hungry people would be happy to eat it. Old food waste and perishable foods can be converted into biodiesel by recovering the fats, oils, and greases. The rest of the material can be converted into nutrient rich composts to create high quality organic fertilizers. The containers and plastic products left behind are then destroyed, and since they have been stripped of all residues they can then be recycled. Households can opt into a program where they can convert their waste or donate products.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

If the grocery store is restocking their shelves, the very next day a truck from a food pantry can be alerted through a digital application and prepare for a new incoming shipment. Loaded with cans, cereals, rices, or other products they then have enough in their food pantry to feed struggling families. When a restaurant is tossing out daily unused food, the food waste recycling center can then be prepared to schedule a pickup. From this they can grind down the waste into biodiesel and organic fertilizer. They can either donate or sell the biodiesel and fertilizer for cheap, as this form of fertilizer is nutrient rich creating highly productive plants. This encourages everyone to go full circle with waste rather than leaving trash on Earth.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

Instead of food going to the garbage while people stay hungry, the meting out of donated foods from the wealthier suburbs to the food shelters in all corners of a country can remedy food disparity. An alert system will keep everyone on a path of communication, so no trash is missed, and all food waste goes to a good end. This would greatly change the way we live, the way we view trash. We would see products come out of our waste rather sent to a useless end. Waste would become a circular process rather than linear. This alert system would help connect the many different initiatives trying to make a business from waste.
Sustainability

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

There is a high interest in recycling inorganic materials, and opening up a new area for organic materials would spark the interest of everyone. Not only would there be many ecology-wary volunteers, but technology companies and businesses interested in investing in this kind of project.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

There are many different organizations providing solutions for waste and creating products from it. My favorite is Epiphergy, which not only creates biodiesel and compost, but also makes high protein and healthy animal feed from food waste. They also have a delivery system for households. Most of these organizations work on composting biodegradable products such as toilet paper, tissue, wood, old greens, and food. However none of them are organized, nor are they connected to any grocery stores or restaurants. People need to know where food is going to waste and when so it can be salvaged.
About You
About You
First Name

Shinei

Last Name

Gibbs

About Your Project
Organization Name
Organization Country
Country where this project is creating social impact

, NY, Rochester

How long has your organization been operating?

Please select

Your Solution
Founding Story: Share a story about the “Aha!” moment that led you to get started and/or to see the potential for this to succeed.
Select Sector(s): To which of Unilever's categories of sustainability does your solution apply?

Waste, Sustainable Agriculture.

Measurable Impact
Audience: Who have you identified as your customers/recipients and why? How will you get your solution to them or engage them in your initiative?

My recipients would be food pantries, poor families, farmers, large grocery stores, schools, large restaurants, and other organizations that deal with food. Customers would be the average person, and sustainable ecology companies. I would contact the appropriate person for correspondence and do a presentation of the idea either in powerpoint format at a meeting or online with a Prezi.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date and expected impact in the future?

Instead of food going to the garbage while people stay hungry, the meting out of donated foods from the wealthier suburbs to the food shelters in all corners of a country can remedy food disparity. An alert system will keep everyone on a path of communication, so no trash is missed, and all food waste goes to a good end. This would greatly change the way we live, the way we view trash. We would see products come out of our waste rather than sent to a useless end. Waste would become a circular process instead of linear. This alert system would also help connect the many different initiatives trying to make a business from waste.

Growth, Finance & Leadership
Scaling the Solution: How do you intend to scale your activities over the next two years (e.g., reach new markets, diversify solutions, etc.)? What will make this possible?

It would go from a digital platform that is used by people who are more interested in being sustainable, to a widely adopted program that will become a trend and used by most grocery stores and restaurants.
This will begin as an advocacy group then become a well established system through promoting, word of mouth, and advertising the benefits of its capabilities through traditional means (marketing and social media).

Financial Sustainability: What is your business model to ensure financial sustainability?

The recycling centers can sell the biodiesel fuel and highly nutritious compost for a low price. The costs can go to supporting the upkeep and maintenance of the alert system used by various businesses. Also there will be grants to keep the outcome of the system successful.

Experience: Please provide examples of any previous entrepreneurial initiatives you have pioneered.

I once created a small nonprofit to donate highly nutritious, low maintenance, free organic gardens to low income families as well as teaching them gardening and permaculture skills. This was supported by a small grant fund of 1500 over two years in which I was able to help 16 families. Nearly half of these families continued to grow their own food and were successful.