As someone who’s worked in the restaurant industry since high school, it’s always so disheartening to watch the waste that occurs from left over food. As a server, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thrown away food in the trash bin. According to the EPA and USDA, food waste represents roughly between 30 to 40 percent of the food supply in the US. It’s hard for commercial food companies like restaurants and grocery chains to properly dispose of the waste because of the cost, and the smell from compost bins. So, into landfills the food waste goes.
Local Issaquah company, WISErg Corporation, has come up with an ingenious solution: The WISErg Harvester. This machine essentially takes the food waste, converts it into a liquid, and that liquid can be turned into nutrient rich fertilizer. WISErg Corp. has partnered with PCC Natural Markets in Issaquah, and the hope is to see more Harvesters at PCC Natural Markets around Seattle.
The part about this technology that I love is how it promotes sustainability. According to WIESrg, The Harvester will “ Lower greenhouse gas emissions pound by pound, compared to landfilling” and “growers use fertilizers to produce food for local markets”.
The Cost: The installation of the Harvester the can range from $40 to $55 thousand per store, and monthly servicing can range from $350 to $800 depending on the amount of food waste. However, the servicing fee is vastly cheaper than the current monthly pick up fee of $1,000. Return on investment is about seven years, but that could be significantly less as the price of fuel increases. The hope is that the initial investment in the Harvester will be offset by the profit made by selling the organic fertilizer.
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