- Washington-based WISErg, a food scrap-to-fertilizer company, recently raised $4 million to further develop its device. This puts total funding for the company over $24 million.
- The company's "Harvester" machine is meant for use in grocery stores and restaurants. It grinds food scraps, which are taken to a nearby facility and turned into liquid fertilizer.
- WISErg's technology has been sold to companies such as PCC, Red Apple Markets, and Whole Foods. The new funding will be used to increase operations on the West Coast.
The company, founded by two former Microsoft employees, has been receiving lots of attention since it launched in 2010. Fast Company named it one of the "Most Innovative Companies in Food" in 2015 and funding has come quickly.
In addition to processing the food, WISErg also collects data on what's being thrown away. This is invaluable information for businesses dealing with large quantities of perishable goods on a daily basis. The goal is to use the fertilizer product on non-grain crops, such as lettuce, potatoes, and tomatoes.
Further expansion for WISErg comes at a time when food waste is a growing concern — even for celebrity chefs. The widely reported statistic that Americans waste 40% of their food every year has helped drive that conversation, along with a continuing interest in zero waste goals. While large-scale action from governments and businesses will be required to truly turn the tide, entrepreneurs are smart to see windows of opportunity for small-scale collection and processing as well.