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Waste Not
SUEZ, US, Hong Kong Startups Uncover New Ways to Tackle Food Waste

New solutions to the world’s massive food waste problem are popping up almost daily. The latest innovations to arise come in the form of a digital organic waste platform in France and a card that prolongs the life of perishable food items.

New solutions to the world’s massive food waste problem are popping up almost daily. The latest innovations to arise come in the form of a digital organic waste platform in France and a card that prolongs the life of perishable food items.

French environmental services firm SUEZ is driving down global food waste with the launch of a new platform that connects organic waste producers with biogas operators. Dubbed Organix®, the digital marketplace will enable food industry manufacturers and cooperatives with methanation units to transform their waste into energy.

Through Organix®, organic waste can be sold securely on an auction platform. Producers of organic materials make an offer with details of the quality and the nature of its flows, then waste-to-energy operators can accept the offer, in which case the transaction is validated immediately, or make an offer as part of the auction system. When the auction closes, the producer accepts or rejects the best offer.

SUEZ ensures the quality of the materials with an audit of the producers and a flows diagnosis, as well as provides logistics and transportation.

The program is the first of its kind in France and provides a breakthrough from the existing trading system and simultaneously addresses two different needs. It is already available in the regions of Brittany, Normandy and Pays de la Loire and will cover the entire territory by the end of the year.

Producers of organic do not always find the right recovery channel, while operators of anaerobic digestion plants often have difficulty securing feedstock due to inconsistent quality, unreliable sources, regulatory compliance and traceability.

By optimizing the connection between these actors, Organix® encourages and facilitates waste recovery and the production of new organic and energy resources at a local level for the benefit of the circular economy and the regional energy transition.

“SUEZ confirms its ambition to become the leader in smart and digital services for recycling and recovery. These innovative solutions take up the new challenges facing industry, businesses and local authorities and they contribute to the concrete development of circular economy in our regions,” said Philippe Maillard, Senior Executive VP Recycling & Recovery Europe and CEO R&R France.

Meanwhile, Nature’s Frequencies has been awarded the 2017 United Fresh Innovation Award for Best New Food Safety Solution for its Food Freshness Card™. The company developed the product in an effort to curb the $165 billion of food wasted in the U.S. every year.

The card, which can be used in both commercial and consumer applications, extends the life of fruits, vegetables and bread by inhibiting the growth of mold, fungi and bacteria. The card uses a new patent-pending technology that replicates the essence of natural elements and herbs by using a range of sound, light and longitudinal electromagnetic waves that provide natural anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties.

“The Food Freshness Card™ has the unique ability to assist with freshness at any point in the food chain; from the farm to packaging, pallet, container and all the way to distribution and retailer,” said Rick Hassler, Director of Nature’s Frequencies. “Even in the home, the Food Freshness Card™ can extend the shelf life and prolong freshness of many fruits, vegetables and breads.”

In a recent pilot, 36 Food Freshness Cards™ were installed in the in the commercial kitchen facilities administered by Sodexo at Bridgewater State University. Prior to installation, average spoilage and waste cost Sodexo approximately $500 per month. During the three-month case study, Sodexo recorded $0 spoilage, resulting in savings of $1,500.

“The impact of the Food Freshness Card™ can have on sustainability and the planet cannot be understated,” said Hassler. “Worldwide, more than $1 trillion in food is wasted annually. The energy and resources used to produce the 40 percent of food waste — in the U.S. alone is enormous. If the Food Freshness Card™ can reduce food waste — even by one percent — the savings in energy and resources would be astronomical. In addition to its successful application in farms, supermarkets, commercial kitchens, shipping containers, walk-in refrigerators, post-harvest and food processing areas, the card works great in a home refrigerator. Our unique technology can be utilized to solve many sustainability issues and will continue to expand with more uses and customized solutions.”

Finally, Hong Kong-based yoga wear brand Rumi X is pushing the envelope on sustainable sportswear with its line of active wear made entirely from non-virgin materials.

Working with Singtex, an environmentally focused Taiwanese textile manufacturer, Rumi X is turning coffee grounds and recycled plastic bottles into polyester yarn for its line of fitness gear. One t-shirt, for example, is made from three cups of coffee waste and five plastic bottles. Singtex sources the feedstock from landfills and ensures that the oil found in the leftover beans is extracted and sold to soap and cosmetic companies.

“Our mission is not to turn something natural that is in the environment into garments. We want to take materials that would end up in our landfills or oceans and save that by turning it into something else,” Melissa Chu, founder of Rumi X, told Fast Company.

Poised at the cutting edge of technology, manufacturers such as Singtex offer Chu the opportunity to work closely with them to develop materials that meet the specific needs of her customers — including fabrics that are soft and have four-way stretch, as well as moisture-wicking properties that make them ideal for hot, humid climates. The use of coffee grounds also provides the fabric with unique odor management properties.

Chu is now focusing on developing a fabric made from discarded crab shells in collaboration with scientists in Bavaria. The researchers have uncovered a way to extract the shells’ naturally occurring chitin, a biopolymer, to blend with viscose to create a new material — Crabyon. The fabric has natural anti-bacterial and anti-microbial qualities, making it ideal for active wear.

Rumi X’s sportswear is available directly for purchase on the company’s website, as well as brick and mortar stores throughout the Asia Pacific region.