Ottawa company has a counter-top solution for food waste at home
OTTAWA -- Food waste can be a stinky problem for those living in condominiums and apartments, or smaller towns, where recycling programs are not available.
Now, one Ottawa company has created a countertop solution that turns table scraps into a handful of compost.
Think composter, but on fast-forward. Place food waste such as coffee grinds, banana peels, and leftover meals into the bucket, which drops into the electric unit of the Vitamix FoodCycler FC-50, close the lid, push start and in about four hours, all that remains is a small amount of dry, odourless soil.
"It’s like a fertilizer, you can take that and mix it into your garden," says FoodCycyler CEO Bradley Crepeau, adding that it can also be tossed in the trash.
"What we’ve been able to accomplish is a significant reduction of food waste otherwise going into landfill and you’ve eliminated the harmful methane gas emission."
Which are created at dumps. The company, originally based in Cornwall, Ont., moved their headquarters to Ottawa in early 2021. Crepeau explains they used their decade of experience in commercial food waste recycling at hotels, hospitals and casinos and scaled the technology to operate in a household environment.
"FoodCycler offers compost-like options to those who otherwise might not be able to compost," says Crepeau. "Those in multi-residential homes, those in condos or apartments or perhaps you just don’t have backyard space to have a backyard composter."
And in areas without organic recycling.
"Green bins are seen in our biggest cities and as soon as you go outside a big city those programs don’t really exist," says Alex Hayman, FoodCycler's director of strategy. "Municipalities are looking for solutions for organic waste as they’re very expensive to deal with."
FoodCycler has multiple pilot projects underway in towns across the country, including 150 homes in South Glengarry, Ont., where residents use the unit as opposed to throwing food waste in the garbage.
Hayman says municipality leaders and residents are excited with the program.
"We started off the year with just one municipality, a pioneer in Nelson, B.C.," says Hayman, "That’s since grown up to 12 municipal partners. We have now in Ontario, B.C., the Northwest Territories and most recently Alberta. We hope by the end of the year to be in at least five or six provinces in Canada and have 15 plus municipal projects on the go."
FoodCycler has won grants through the federal waste reduction program, Impact Canada, and are partnered with VitaMix, who sell and distribute the composter across North America, which retails for $500. The product is also sold globally in parts of Europe as well as New Zealand and Australia.
"We’ve recently launched in the Japanese and Taiwanese market so we’re really starting to penetrate in a big way," says Crepeau. "The problem with food waste is significant still, 40 percent of our landfills are made up of food waste. Instead of having trucks hauling water and food waste around we can all do our part, the goal really is to keep food waste out of landfills."