Approximately 63 million tons of food are wasted in the U.S. each year, a monumental number that has significant environmental and social repercussions. In an effort to reduce the amount of food that is lost and wasted, the Closed Loop Foundation has granted $350,000 to projects across the U.S. working to advance the reduction, recovery and recycling of food waste.
Closed Loop reviewed 150 proposals over a period of nine months, finally selecting eight to receive funding to develop and scale their solutions.
“The Solution Search model has proven to help identify and help commercialize early stage solutions to disrupt generation and disposal of waste. We were surprised and impressed with both the quantity and quality of the proposals we saw. We worked with expert advisors from across the industry to help us narrow the pool down to the final recipients,” said Chris Cochran, Executive Director of ReFed, a multi-stakeholder nonprofit committed to reducing food waste in the United States.
Three of the selected projects come from San Francisco Bay Area and put forth solutions for efficiently recovering wasted food from retail (ALL IN Alameda), converting post-consumer food waste into a compostable bioplastic (Full Cycle Bioplastics) and upcycling byproducts from food production processes into high-value, nutritious products (Renewal Mill).
Initiatives are also being backed by Closed Loop in Atlanta, Indianapolis, Flint, Mich., Middlebury, Vt. and Spokane, Wash., including the recapture of renewable thermal energy created by composting systems (Vermont Natural Ag Products), development of a collection and processing system for restaurant and retailing composting (Indiana Recycling Coalition) and creation of a technology that turns food waste into a sludge that can be incorporated into waste water digesters (BioWorks Energy).
Closed Loop Foundation received financial support from the Walmart Foundation and the City of Phoenix to award the grants.
“The Walmart Foundation is happy to support the Closed Loop Foundation on this initiative as part of their strategy to address the issue of waste and advance the pursuit of a circular economy,” said Eileen Hyde, Director of the Walmart Giving team. “This initiative identified innovators that are creating new models for reducing food waste and we are excited to lend our support to accelerate progress on addressing this critical issue.”