You (might not) think anything of tossing overripe strawberries in the trash, but a growing number of companies are capitalizing on food waste, turning unwanted fruits, vegetables, stale beer, and more into profitable—and desirable—products.
According to a new industry census from the nonprofit coalition ReFED, the number of startups making food-waste products is exploding across the country. In fact, only 11 such companies existed in 2011—and now, the new census shows that number up almost 500 percent.
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"What was once considered 'waste'—or an accepted cost of doing business—is now seen as an asset and revenue generator," Chris Cochran, the executive director of ReFED, explained to The Washington Post. In fact, these companies have redirected thousands of pounds of food from landfills, the newspaper says, and have inspired other companies to up-cycle waste as a way to increase their profits.