There are more ways than ever to combat the massive problem of food waste—a new grocery store selling food otherwise destined for a dumpster, a start-up that will fill your kitchen with “ugly” food and now a compost company tackling the problem one garden at a time.
Ecoscraps, which sells compost and plant food made from discarded food, began when its founders discovered that the infrastructure for food waste recycling didn’t exist. Composting was generally limited to what people did in their homes or small, local operations.
Creating a national infrastructure from whole cloth to handle the recycling would be challenging to pull off, so cofounders Dan Blake and Craig Martineau decided to court those already dealing with waste to use their powers for good. Working with existing waste management companies and smaller local haulers who specialize in organic waste, Ecoscraps transports food that doesn’t sell to a network of composters around the country. Blake says they work as a sort of clearing house to make sure that we are composting as much food waste as we can.
They bring in much of their haul from large grocery stores and big-box establishments with produce sections, like Walmart or Costco.
Blake says Ecoscraps moves 50 million pounds of food waste straight from dumpsters into people’s gardens every year. And while compost alone will not solve the problem—America currently tosses 35 million tons of food a year—Blake and Martineau are ensuring that we attack the problem from every side. Not to mention that their scraps really work. When they tested Ecoscraps against synthetic compost and food, they got identical results. For Blake, using food waste is a no-brainer: “If it costs the same, gives the same results but helps solve a huge environmental problem at the same time, why wouldn’t you try it?”