More Media Love for Ecoscraps

New Ideas in Recycling Starting to Hit the Mainstream

March 4, 2013

Great piece by the Wash­ing­ton Times (full arti­cle here) on DBL Part­ners’ port­fo­lio com­pany Ecoscraps.

ecoscraps

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 3, 2013Waste is ram­pant in our soci­ety. Amer­i­cans pro­duce over 200 mil­lion tons of trash every year – enough to fill a major league foot­ball sta­dium twice a day.

Accord­ing to some stud­ies, almost 45 per­cent of munic­i­pal solid waste in land­fills can be recy­cled. Many com­pa­nies have seized on this oppor­tu­nity and are lit­er­ally turn­ing trash into cash. But money is just one com­po­nent; these com­pa­nies not only want your cash, they want to change the world.

Food waste in the U.S. is an alarm­ing prob­lem. A recent study esti­mated that nearly 40 per­cent of our food – close to $165 bil­lion worth – goes uneaten. Not only is this a ter­ri­ble waste, but food is also the largest sin­gle com­po­nent of solid waste in Amer­i­can land­fills, and gen­er­ates eight to nine per­cent of the total pol­lu­tion in the U.S.

In 2010, while at an all-​​you-​​can-​​eat restau­rant, Dan Blake, a then-​​business stu­dent, saw how much food we waste and decided to do some­thing about it. “I was intrigued by the idea of start­ing a busi­ness that uti­lized food waste to man­u­fac­ture a dif­fer­ent prod­uct,” he says.

Why not com­post? After a lot of dumpster-​​diving, exper­i­ment­ing with com­post­ing processes, and cre­ative use of an aban­doned build­ing, Blake came up with Eco­Scraps: com­post and other lawn prod­ucts made mostly out of dis­carded fruits and vegetables.

Here is how it works: Eco­Scraps con­tacts a gro­cer or retailer and offers to haul their unsold pro­duce for a fee. Depend­ing on loca­tion, Eco­Scraps trans­ports the waste to one of their pro­cess­ing facil­i­ties around the coun­try, where it is com­posted and pack­aged for sale.

As Eco­Scraps began to grow, it part­nered up with Costco in a pilot pro­gram where Costco gave Eco­Scraps unsold fruits and veg­eta­bles that it would oth­er­wise have thrown in the trash. Eco­Scraps then processed the pro­duce and sold it back to Costco as com­post for sale in its gar­den depart­ment. Eco­Scraps announced a sim­i­lar con­tract with Tar­get last week, which will make Eco­Scraps prod­ucts avail­able nationwide.

Eco­Scraps basi­cally sells com­pa­nies like Costco and now Tar­get back their trash, while reduc­ing food waste, and help­ing the environment.

Accord­ing to their web­site, to date Eco­Scraps has recy­cled over 15 mil­lion pounds of food waste, kept over nine mil­lion pounds of methane from being released into the atmos­phere, and col­lected what oth­er­wise would be trash from 96 out­lets. This is the equiv­a­lent of reduc­ing the emis­sions from 845,000 cars for two weeks.

Eco­Scraps states on its web­site that it wants to start a com­post­ing rev­o­lu­tion. Instead of aggres­sively mar­ket­ing its prod­uct, Eco­Scraps wants to mar­ket its phi­los­o­phy. It asks vis­i­tors to its site to net­work, tell their friends, and get involved.

“We care about the envi­ron­ment and doing what’s right for our planet,” says Eco­Scraps CMO, Lance Archibald, “food waste is a huge prob­lem and it is very harm­ful to the envi­ron­ment. We want peo­ple to not only be aware of this prob­lem, but to under­stand that they can all make a dif­fer­ence. We want peo­ple to under­stand that they can make a pos­i­tive impact. We want peo­ple to feel good about what we are doing and want their sup­port to help solve this food waste prob­lem in our country.”