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Waste Not
Inventive Solutions to Food Waste Continuing to Grow

Here, we have 3 examples of startup innovation at its finest — with stellar solutions from Ambrosia, Back to the Roots, Treasure8 and Shameless Pets promising to bite off a chunk of the US’ massive food waste issue.

Clean your house with water, organic compounds from food

Image credit: veles

A new household cleaning product launching this week represents a completely new approach to addressing food waste: veles is the first all-purpose household cleaner composed almost entirely of recovered water and common organic compounds (acetic acid, lactic acid, and alcohol) scientifically derived from food waste — effectively making it a resource-negative product.

Like many of her creative counterparts (some of which are featured below), entrepreneur Amanda Weeks — CEO and co-founder of veles's parent company, Ambrosia (fka Industrial/Organic) — saw food waste as a high-value resource; and built a company that uses biological and mechanical processes to recover water from food waste and create value from the byproducts of this process.

Typical liquid cleaning products are typically over 90 percent water — so, if every US household used a 16-ounce bottle of cleaning product every month, they would use nearly 175 million gallons of water a year. Using products such as veles, which are instead comprised of water and active cleaning ingredients from food waste, would instead divert 2.5 million tons of food waste from landfills. The company says the savings in greenhouse gas emissions from the otherwise wasted food would be comparable to taking 1.5 million cars off the road for a year. Oh, and the company also uses recyclable and biodegradable packaging and shipping materials.

Attention, Walmart shoppers: Back to the Roots continues to take over the world

Image credit: Back to the Roots

This week, indoor gardening pioneers Back to the Roots announced yet another giant retail partnership that will bring the educational, indoor gardening experience to homes across the US: Along with other nationwide retailers including Target, The Home Depot and Whole Foods, the Oakland, California-based startup’s grow-your-own, organic gardening kits will now be available in over 2,300 Walmarts across the country — cementing its position as the nation’s fastest-growing organic gardening company.

Launched a decade ago, the company’s first product — grow-your-own mushroom kits — used recycled coffee grounds as part of the substrate. The prolific startup has since created a host of ready-to-grow produce kits for eaters of all ages, as well as a line of organic, four-ingredients-or-less cereals all aimed at reconnecting people to food.

The company’s ongoing mission to “undo food” has been fueled by a diverse array of strategic partnerships in the past few years, including with celebrity cook Ayesha Curry, rock band Fall Out Boy, the New York City public school system; and Nature’s Path – the world’s largest organic cereal company – which in 2018 brought Back to the Roots cereals into every school cafeteria across the US.

“Building a new retail category and reshaping how consumers engage with certain products is tough — it takes a lot of hard work, the right partners and the right timing. But if a brand can pull it off, like Back to the Roots is doing now, it has a chance to reshape mainstream culture quickly,” says John Foraker, co-founder & CEO of Once Upon a Farm, and former CEO of Annie's. “These new gardening sets in national retailers are going to rapidly accelerate awareness and access to organic, fresh food for millions of families across the country.”

Treasure8 now upcycling juice pressings into healthy pet treats

Image credit: Shameless Pets

Meanwhile, across the Bay in San Francisco, Treasure8 — a tech startup working to fight food waste and climate change through upcycling — recently announced a partnership with dog snack company Shameless Pets, to help SP further its mission to reduce the environmental impact of pet food with its nutritious, upcycled pet treats. 

“The folks at Shameless Pets are innovative and creative people — a perfect example of when passion meets purpose and we’re proud to call them partners in this Resource Revolution,” said Treasure8 co-CEO Derk Hendriksen

Read more about the new partnership hereand find Shameless Pets treats at Target stores across the country.