The Herald of Everett, Washington
Customer service  |  Subscribe   |   Log in or sign up   |   Advertising information   |   Contact us
HeraldNet on Facebook HeraldNet on Twitter HeraldNet RSS feeds HeraldNet Pinterest HeraldNet Google Plus HeraldNet Youtube
HeraldNet Newsletters  Newsletters: Sign up  Green editions icon Green editions

Calendar

Splash! Summer guide

HeraldNet Headlines
HeraldNet Newsletter Delivered to your inbox each week.


Published: Thursday, April 3, 2014, 1:00 a.m.
In Our View/Innovation in business


New tool targets food waste

These days, when people talk about “innovation” it usually refers to whatever is to become the latest got-to-have-it gadget, like a “smartwatch” or some other electronic “wearable.” Despite garnering all the media attention, such doodads have little to do with most regular day-to-day businesses (unless you happen to sell them, of course.) Which is why it was exciting, yes, exciting to read about a new development in grocery store food waste disposal (also known as throwing food away.)
On March 31, Herald Business Journal editor Jim Davis reported on a Redmond company named Wiserg that has created a machine that turns such waste into liquid fertilizer — rather than it being thrown in a trash compactor, or even a compost heap. And it does it more efficiently than those options, and in a way friendlier to the environment and business.
About 35 million tons of food waste — from all sources — reach landfills and incinerators each year in the United States, according to the EPA, more than any other solid material. Only five percent is diverted for composting.
At the grocery store level, an average store throws away anywhere between 800 pounds to a ton of food waste a day — and most don’t even know how much, Wiserg’s CEO Larry LeSueur said. Which is where his company’s machine — the Harvester — comes in. It has a hopper with a large tank and tablet built in to track food waste. Food is thrown in the hopper, munched up and pumped into the tank where microbes turn it into a black liquid. Wiserg empties full tanks and sells the fertilizer to farmers. The Harvester can also handle meat, bones and other items. Unlike composting, the process captures most of the nutrients in the food waste, doesn’t release warming gas, or create odors.
Central Market in Mill Creek is trying one out. Tony D’Onofrio, the store’s sustainability director, said the machine will cost a little more upfront, but will pay for itself in four years. It will cost less to pay Wiserg than to have composters to haul away food waste.
The Harvester’s high-tech other half is equally impressive: Employees enter the type of food being thrown away and the reason into a tablet built into the machine, which weighs food scraps, and takes digital pictures. The idea is to help stores prevent inventory loss in the first place, and learn how food is being wasted.
The process would seem to have more applications — for restaurants, school cafeterias, and even American homes. Some innovations make so much sense, they don’t need to be “sexy” to be the latest “must have.”

Share your comments: Log in using your HeraldNet account or your Facebook, Twitter or Disqus profile. Comments that violate the rules are subject to removal. Please see our terms of use. Please note that you must verify your email address for your comments to appear.

You are logged in using your HeraldNet ID. Click here to update your profile. | Log out.

Our new comment system is not supported in IE 7. Please upgrade your browser here.

comments powered by Disqus
digital subscription promo

Subscribe now

Unlimited digital access starting at 99 cents, or included with any print subscription.

loading...

Herald Editorial Board

Jon Bauer, Opinion Editor: jbauer@heraldnet.com

Carol MacPherson, Editorial Writer: cmacpherson@heraldnet.com

Neal Pattison, Executive Editor: npattison@heraldnet.com

Josh O'Connor, Publisher: joconnor@heraldnet.com

Have your say

Feel strongly about something? Share it with the community by writing a letter to the editor. Send letters by e-mail to letters@heraldnet.com, by fax to 425-339-3458 or mail to The Herald - Letters, P.O. Box 930, Everett, WA 98206. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We'll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 250 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it. If your letter is published, please wait 30 days before submitting another. Have a question about letters? Contact Carol MacPherson at cmacpherson@heraldnet.com or 425-339-3472.

HeraldNet Classifieds