American consumers, manufacturers and retailers let 60m tonnes of food go to waste in 2010; in the European Union nearly 90m tonnes are spoiled annually. According to the United Nations the developed world wastes almost as much food as sub-Saharan Africa produces in a given year. Unsurprisingly, startups are lining up to tackle this “market”.
The WSJ had a piece last month detailing what a real estate company is doing to reduce waste and green its spaces.
“With more green roofs sprouting up across New York’s skyline, the Durst Organization says it will spend between $750,000 and $1 million to install more than an acre of green space atop its Midtown Manhattan buildings.”
And food waste is a big piece of the solution.
“Food waste from the pantries and kitchens from the Durst buildings in the city—11 buildings totaling 13 million square feet—is now hauled up to Dutchess County to be turned into compost at the McEnroe Organic Farm in the Harlem Valley. The compost and soil is then brought back to the city to be used on the company’s green roofs in Manhattan.”
The whole approach is a great way to attack waste from multiple angles. Sustainability becomes a differentiating factor for the real estate company and there’s certainly some job creation downstream.
“I haven’t heard of any other real-estate property company recycling their food into compost for a green roof,” said Amy Norquist, president and chief executive of Greensulate, a Manhattan-based company that designs, builds and maintains green roofs. “It’s forward thinking.”