New York, United StatesNew York, United States
Organization type: 
for profit
Project Stage:
$1,000 - $10,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

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

MintScraps is an online platform that helps restaurants and other food service establishments track their food waste, divert it from landfills, and donate still consumable food to nonprofit organizations.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

On a global scale, consumers in rich countries generate almost 222 million tons of food waste per year. Nationally in the U.S., almost 36 million tons of food waste was generated in 2011. When waste decomposes in landfills, it produces a greenhouse gas that is 21 times more potent than carbon dioxide, called methane, that harms the environment.

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

In order to manage a problem, it must first be measured and quantified. MintScraps addresses this problem in two ways. First, using our mobile and web based app, food service establishments can easily track and measure their waste. By engaging employees with food waste measurement through our app, it raises their awareness and helps bring their attention to the items they throw out. Also, employers have data and insights to streamline production and reduce waste. Second, we make it easier for food service establishments to connect with nonprofits and donate food that would have otherwise been thrown out through an online platform called MintScraps Marketplace. The donations also help restaurants save money from a tax deduction.
Impact: How does it Work

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

George’s restaurant spent $4,000 in June on landfill disposal fees. Not only is this a big financial cost, but they have no idea how much and what kind of waste they are generating to avoid being gouged by their hauler. Since using MintScraps in July, employees have been entering the number of landfill, recyclable & compostable waste bags. Under compostable waste, they can choose the appropriate food category. After 3 months, restaurant management determines that bread drove the largest amount of compostable waste and reduce purchasing. They also use MintScraps to easily notify & donate leftover food to nonprofits. By November, they were able to reduce waste by 20%, reduce hauling fees to $3,200, and receive $1K in tax deductions.

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

A private company called LeanPath offers a hardware centric solution that is a hassle for restaurant employees to use and thus not sustainable. It takes several steps to record food waste. With our software centric solution, users simply count and enter the number of bags/containers of waste into our mobile app in one step. As we learn from our pilot partners, we will refine our software solution and make it even more efficient in quicker iterations than a hardware solution could offer. Additionally, technology is our focus for donating leftover food while others utilize manual labor.
About You
About You
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About Your Project
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Organization Country

, NY, New York, New York County

Country where this project is creating social impact

, NY, New York, New York County

How long has your organization been operating?

Less than a year

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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.

Throughout my life, I've always been interested in the environment. I've always appreciated the outdoors as my family and I went camping to national parks and grew up in a town full of nature. Even while growing up, I've been engaged in outdoor activities such as hiking and camping internationally. Traveling to these different places I both witnessed the amount of trash being thrown in the environment and the amount that goes to landfills. This is especially prominent in the U.S. where perfectly good leftover food is thrown out, yet it surprised me that there's no good way to measure it yet.

Select Sector(s): To which of Unilever's categories of sustainability does your solution apply?

Greenhouse Gases, Waste.

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?

We are targeting restaurants as they are the largest generators of commercial food waste. Thanks to winning the 2nd prize in the NYC BigApps Competition 2013, we have been reached out by a number of restaurants. Specifically, a NYC restaurant group, which owns several high end restaurants worldwide, has begun a pilot with us.

We’re also excited to provide the app and collaborate with the Mayor's Office in the Food Waste Challenge, a city-wide competition involving 100+ restaurants in NY

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

Currently, our software platform is in use at a number of locations including one of NYC's largest restaurant chains. In the future, we are looking to reduce the overall amount of waste going to landfills. Over 66% of restaurant waste will be recycled and only one third will be sent to landfills. The total amount of waste will be reduced by 20% after one year. Accordingly, restaurants will reduce their waste disposal fees by 10 to 20%. Qualitatively, restaurants will build their brand by informing the general public about their environmental stewardship. We will give each restaurant a sticker to post on their window. Additionally, restaurant managers and employees will become more conscientious about waste and thus be more diligent about what they throw in the trash. Once restaurants better understand their waste stream, they can streamline their operations and food costs.

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?

We are working with a large restaurant group in New York as our pilot partner who is very willing to share data with us and help refine our software platform. At the end of the pilot, if successful, we will publicize the results. Our team has several years of experience in the restaurant, software, and waste management industries to help make this a success.

Once we complete our pilots, we plan to scale our activities by reaching out and partnering with industry associations and initiatives that have a mutual interest such as the National Restaurant Association, The Food Waste Reduction Alliance, The Food Marketing Institute, the Grocery Manufacturers Association, etc.

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

We have four potential revenue streams: 1) Monthly software licensing & technical support fee for restaurants. Fees for premium features such as reporting & advanced analysis. 2) Data access license fee for municipalities, clean tech companies, consultancies, and industry associations interested in waste stream data 3) Per transaction tax deduction estimate fee for food donations

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

At the University of California, San Diego, I was part of a team that raised $100,000 to fund the future purchase of a waste to fertilizer system (anaerobic digester). My experience with this validated my ability to raise funding and provided me with domain expertise in waste management and sustainability.