How Big Data Can Reduce Corporate Food Waste


by | Jan 19, 2017

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Grind2EnergyBig data can help companies better manage and reduce waste, as well as increase recycling rates.

While smart waste and recycling technologies haven’t been as quick to take off as, say, smart building products designed to improve energy efficiency, the sector is poised for growth. According to Navigant Research, the smart waste collection technology market will grow from $57.6 million in 2016 to over $223.6 million in 2025, representing a compound annual growth rate of 16.3 percent.

And judging from the several new smart waste management tools launched in these first few weeks of 2017, this boom has begun.

BioHiTech Global today launched an updated version of its mobile app that, when used in conjunction with its food waste disposal system, can help companies use big data to reduce food waste.  BioHiTech Cirrus 2.2, deployed with the Eco-Safe Digester, uses big data to provide customers with “actionable real-time information as to how, why and when waste is created in order to cost-effectively improve the process that affects a zero waste outcome,” said Frank E. Celli, CEO of BioHiTech Global.

Cirrus 2.2, which is available for iOS and Android devices, allows customers to check the Digester’s real-time status, track the machine utilization and view operational alerts and alarms.

“The ability to monitor waste creation by department, individual, or in cases where a Digester is shared, by company, can be both an informative and incentivizing tool,” said Bill Kratzer, chief technology officer of BioHiTech Global. “Malls, stadiums and other venues that host multiple businesses, can use this granular information to incentivize environmentally friendly behavior while individual contributors can learn about their consumption habits; it’s a win-win.”

Reducing food waste can also help companies save money. In addition to being the single largest component of US municipal solid waste, accounting for a major portion of the nation’s methane emissions, food waste cost businesses billions of dollars each year.

Plus, a growing number of states and cities are requiring commercial businesses to reduce food waste. In California, for example, the state’s mandatory commercial organics recycling program expanded its reach on Jan. 1 to include all businesses that generate 4 cubic yards or more of organic waste per week.

Also this month EnviroPure Systems launched a commercial food waste disposal system that the company says offers a one-stop solution for converting food waste into gray water, allowing businesses to meet the California recycling requirement and eliminating the need to haul food waste to a central composting facility. Food waste can be deposited into the EnviroPure system directly or through a remote grinder that eliminates the need to sort, transport and store food waste — reducing labor and hauling costs, and eliminating the pests and odor that accompany food waste storage.

In another effort to help corporations better manage food waste, AT&T and Emerson have teamed up to equip Emerson’s food waste recycling system, Grind2Energy — a system that processes food waste into liquid slurry that is pumped into an on-site holding tank — with Internet of Things connectivity.

Grind2Energy (pictured) was developed for large food waste generators like supermarkets, hotels, casinos and sports arenas.

With new IoT capabilities, Emerson will be able to remotely monitor the slurry to determine how full the holding tanks are, then transport them to local anaerobic digestion facilities, which capture methane and convert it to renewable energy. AT& T’s technology will also provide customers with near real-time data that can be used to produce sustainability reports.

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