Food waste is a hot topic nowadays, appearing on dozens of Food Trends for 2016 listicles. Hell, last night’s episode of Darren Star’s biggest post-Sex In The City hit, Younger, even featured a book imprint launch party at a Greenpoint waterfront club where guests were served bruschetta with “rescue tomatoes and day-of-expiration burrata.” (!!) Dan Barber, the chef-thinker behind last year’s wastED popup that got people talking about the subject, maybe didn’t envision having quite so vast an impact.
The topic got renewed life when France’s new food usage laws went into effect January 1, requiring certain size restaurants to offer a doggy bag — an anomaly in France — in order to combat waste. Now, there’s a new machine aimed at putting scraps to even better use. In Redmond, Washington, WISErg, a company founded by two former Microsoft software engineers, is converting food waste into organic fertilizer with a refrigerator-sized machine called the Harvester, according to Waste360.com.
The Harvester is already in the testing stages at grocery chains such as PCC Natural Markets (local to Seattle) and Whole Foods. With the Harvester, store employees can also input what is being thrown away, the condition and age and reasons for it getting tossed.
Brian Valentine, a board member of company and investor, describes the machine as a “highly intelligent garbage disposal” that can accept 300 to 400 pounds of food waste. After the waste is collected, it’s liquefied and then turned into fertilizer at WISErg’s Seattle production plant. He also says that the company is hoping to install the Harvester at casinos, cafeterias, jails, hospitals, schools and more grocery chains.
Perhaps they should add locations in France to the expansion plans, and save Parisians the indignity of shlepping home “le doggy bag.”