Today, approximately 40% of the food produced in the U.S. goes to waste and 97% ends up in landfills. There it decomposes and produces methane gas — 25 times more harmful than CO2 as a greenhouse gas and a major contributor to global warming and the destruction of the ozone layer. A similar story can be told across the globe.
Food waste poses a significant risk to both food security and the planet, but new technologies and creative reuses of waste streams are pushing the food industry towards more sustainable, circular models.
First, London food waste startup ChicP, founded by food waste entrepreneur Hannah McCollum, aims to bring healthy hummus and dips to the mainstream food market by utilizing imperfect fruit and vegetables.
“Over the last nine years, I’ve cooked for catering and events companies and as a private chef in the UK and Europe. Having witnessed the colossal amounts of food waste at catering events, I felt driven to respond,” McCollum shared. “While cooking as a private chef, time and time again I would convert leftover vegetable dishes into dips for the next meal. Nearly every day the question would be ‘What’s the dip of the day, Hannah?!’”
All of ChicP’s low-calorie hummuses are made from surplus or ‘ugly’ raw fruits and vegetables, and all are gluten-, dairy- and sugar-free. The company, whose a crowdfunding campaign on Tesco Back It closes in mid-January, has already garnered significant attention for its unique line of products, winning the Best Convenience Food Innovation Award for the World Food Innovation Awards 2016.
ChicP is currently stocked at WholeFoods, Fortnum & Mason, As Nature Intended, Sourced Market, Rude Health Café, Pickles of London and smaller outlets in and around London. More stores, including Harrods and Selfridges, will soon offer the brand.
Meanwhile, Emerson’s Grind2Energy food waste recycling system, launched in 2014, has been helping large food waste generators — such as supermarkets, hotels, casinos and sports arenas — recycle their food waste, helping to minimize their environmental impact and maximize their operational efficiency. The waste-to-energy technology processes food scraps into a slurry that is pumped into an onsite holding tank, which is then carted off by Emerson to an anaerobic digestion facility, where it is converted into fertilizer and renewable energy. In addition to preventing the release of methane gas into the atmosphere, Grind2Energy offers businesses a number of hygienic benefits, including the elimination of leaky compactors and the problems posed by open-air trash bins, such as vermin.
“With the Grind2Energy system, Emerson has diverted 7,400 tons of food waste from landfills. That’s equivalent to 12 million few miles drive on the road,” said Tim Ferry, group president of Tools & Home Products at Emerson Commercial & Residential. “We plan to roll out hundreds of IoT-connected Grind2Energy systems over the next few years. With AT&T’s help, we will be able to better serve our customers with the added IoT capabilities.”
Equipped with AT&T Global SIMs and IoT solutions, Emerson will be able to:
- Optimize system uptime. With near real-time visibility into every connected piece of equipment, repairs can be made faster, minimizing downtime and perhaps avoiding a customer service call altogether, ultimately improving the overall customer experience.
- Improve tank-monitoring and pump-out scheduling. Sensors will alert Emerson’s local tank service provider when the holding tanks are nearly full, streamlining communication, decreasing wasted fuel from trucks, optimizing pick-up scheduling and minimizing costs.
- Provide customers with near real-time usage & sustainability reports. Collecting data will soon be easier, faster and more robust than ever before. Before AT&T IoT solutions, Emerson manually pulled system data onsite, a process that is both time- and resource-consuming, and poses potential inconveniences to customers. Emerson will soon be able to immediately access sustainability reports and share with customers electronically.
- Leverage data for predictive maintenance. With the help of AT&T M2X and Flow Designer, data will be collected, organized and analyzed. It will predict when equipment needs service and advise customers how to more efficiently use the solution for maximum uptime. In the long-run, Emerson will be able to analyze larger sets of data. They can then predict the amount and quality of food waste material that will be generated by region, further simplifying the supply chain process.
- Help customers eliminate unnecessary waste and shrinkage. Grind2Energy users will be able to compare system runtime across multiple locations in a chain. As customers become more aware of their waste, they become more efficient at managing their operations.
“Businesses understand the need to blend their sustainability efforts with their goals of continuously improving quality, efficiency and profitability.” said Chris Penrose, President of IoT at AT&T. “Our work with Emerson is a great example of how the IoT can help businesses lower costs, gain efficiencies, improve competitive advantage and create a more sustainable world.”