In the Daily Digest, the Waste Dive team rounds up insights and moments you may have missed.
MAERSK GOES BIG ON SPOILER ALERT
International shipping conglomerate Maersk has announced plans to invest in Boston-based Spoiler Alert for a strategic round of funding. The funding is expected to help Spoiler Alert accelerate product development and expand staffing in its engineering, customer and sales teams.
“We are extremely bullish on their ability to distill insights from companies’ inventory and waste data and introduce real-time decision-making capabilities for their customers," Peter Jorgensen, venture partner at Maersk Growth and leader of its Fight Food Waste team, said in a press release. Jorgensen will also be joining the company's board.
In his own statement, Spoiler Alert CEO Ricky Ashenfelter said he's committed to "building an enduring company that operates across global supply chains" and this is a key step forward in doing that. “Maersk offers unparalleled logistics expertise, as well as access to thousands of food brands that leverage its transportation and supply chain services to move perishable product around the world,” he added.
Spoiler Alert's technology offerings give large manufacturers, distributors or retailers of food the ability to gain insight into the lifecycle of their unsold inventory. That may mean discount sale, donation or recycling. Since it started in 2015, the company has signed on Sysco, HelloFresh and a variety of other undisclosed Fortune 500 clients.
As the largest transporter of food in the world, Maersk has taken a keen interest in addressing waste recently with multiple initiatives and investments. Over the summer, Maersk Growth launched a one-month FoodTrack accelerator program for 10 start-ups focused on the issue. Last month it also invested in two start-ups — Telesense and Ripe.io — that offer solutions for reducing food waste in the supply chain.
Following the recent release of a UN report showing mixed progress toward a global goal of halving food waste by 2030, and given the fact that states trying to emulate it are focused more on reduction rather than recycling, this type of investment is a clear signal that progress is possible with more upstream solutions.
IN OTHER NEWS
Trump administration announces new "Winning on Reducing Food Waste" multi-agency initiative — Waste Dive
Indiana mixed waste processing project hits zoning setback — The Times of Northwest Indiana & WFIU
The Gary City Council unanimously rescinded zoning approval for a proposed facility from Maya Energy at a meeting earlier this week, leaving the the project's fate uncertain. A zoning variance was required to site the facility across from a charter school. Initially billed as a recycling facility, Maya now says it would also be processing municipal solid waste. That hasn't gone over well with the community.
According to a permit application filed with the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, the facility would have capacity for up to 1,600 tons per days from Lake County and the Chicago area. Paper, cardboard, plastic and metals would be recovered for resale. The remaining material would be used as RDF or sent to a landfill. The site would also have capacity for up to 800 tons of C&D material per day.
While the technology often varies, similar facilities have experienced challenges getting sited in other cities during recent years as well. Though proponents maintain that this is a more efficient way to handle material and could be highly beneficial in the right scenario.
Rhode Island cuts the ribbon on new landfill solar project — Solar Power World & pv magazine
Gov. Gina Raimondo and a bevy of other local officials were all on hand for the unveiling of a new 2.6 MW solar panel installation at the closed Smithfield Road landfill yesterday. The 12-acre site, developed by Southern Sky Renewable Energy, is now home to 6,700 solar panels. The host town of North Providence expects to save $5.1 million over that timeframe. This is the latest in a series of landfill solar announcements from states around the country in recent months, as the concept becomes an increasingly attractive option for owners and local governments to generate new revenue from otherwise dormant sites.
UK regulator highlights serious plastic export fraud — The Guardian
The UK's Environment Agency has been investigating reports of systemic fraud around export data, with multiple companies said to be inflating their numbers for profit and some allowing the material to leak into rivers. The agency has suspended the license of six exporters within the past three months.
Under the current system, retailers purchase plastic export notes known as "Perns" to verify that their material is being recycled. Yet this self-reported system allows for inflated claims and potentially misleading information about where material is heading. The Guardian reports that export firms claim to have shipped 35,135 metric tons more plastic than customs officials recorded. Some material is also being recorded as going to the Netherlands, but its final destination is actually in Asian countries.
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