FoodCycler shaking up how cities manage food waste

After getting its start helping hotels, hospitals and casinos reduce their waste collection costs, FoodCycle Science is seeing new opportunities in assisting households around the world rethink the concept of home composting.

The Ottawa-based firm’s core product is an indoor “food recycler” that reduces the weight and volume of food scraps by up to 90 per cent by turning it into a nutrient-rich byproduct that can be mixed in with garden soil.

On-site technology that reduces waste appeals to large, food-serving venues and institutions, which typically have to pay private contractors to haul their garbage away. But FoodCycle is increasingly selling to consumers, as well as partnering with schools and municipalities.

“As we had success in the commercial sector, it dawned on us that if we scale this technology and create a solution that’s viable in the home, we have a big business (opportunity) here,” says CEO Brad Crepeau.

He argues the countertop appliances have a role even in cities with existing green bin programs that collect household organic waste. Weekly green bin pickups require a large number of trucks and drivers on the road – a considerable expense for municipalities. Crepeau says using the company’s products to reduce the volume of waste and turn it into an odourless byproduct can allow cities to reduce the frequency of pickups.

He says the solution has even more appeal to mid-sized cities that may lack the population size or financial capacity to construct their own municipal composting facilities. In British Columbia, for example, the City of Nelson plans to equip homes with FoodCyclers as a food waste pre-treatment system for residents. For those who can’t use the byproduct in their gardens, the city will pick up the residual materials quarterly.

Crepeau says he believes that the business opportunities will only increase as attitudes evolve.

“We believe that not that long from now, you’ll look at food waste in the garbage the same way you look at glass bottles in the garbage – a faux pas,” Crepeau says.

Watch the video above to hear Mark Van Dusen’s full interview with Crepeau.