February 26, 2014
EcoScraps turns used and leftover food into natural and organic compost. Founded in Provo, Utah in 2010 by Craig Martineau and Daniel Blake, the company has evolved from modest roots into a flourishing company that not only cuts down on waste but also gives nutrients back to the soil. We talked to CEO and co-founder Daniel Blake about the importance of building a company that is both a successful business and a model for positive environmental change.
What was the inspiration behind creating this business?
I was at an all-you-can-eat French toast buffet and was shocked at how much food waste there was. I went back to my apartment and started researching food waste and what we could do about it. I then decided to go dumpster diving to see if what I was reading was true.
How is your company unique from others that are helping businesses recycle their food waste?
EcoScraps focuses on the full circle of organics management. Everything from the measuring of food waste to recycling food waste to composting the food waste and then selling the composted food waste back into retail outlets.
How have you been able to merge commerce with sustainable business practices?
We found that people are paying money to take food to the landfill and dispose of it, and at the landfill it is just going to sit there and rot – or we could take it for less than the landfill and compost it, turning it into a useful product that is organic but also nutrient rich so you get the benefit of the nutrients that you would find in a chemical base product but in an all natural form. Our goal at EcoScraps is to offer people products at the same quality as the top tier brands, at essentially price parity, but in a way that is more sustainable – and so far it is working great!
Why are recycling solutions so important to the food industry?
We recycle over 40% of all food that is grown. That is disgusting and irresponsible. As a country we are too smart and innovative to let that happen. We can come up with innovative solutions that take this waste and recycle it into useful products. Think about it. Would you ever be okay with your kids throwing out half of their breakfast, lunch and dinner ever day?
What's the future of the company? Where do you think you'll have the biggest impact?
EcoScraps will be a household name in lawn and garden products across the country if we have our way. But ideally, I believe our biggest and most long term impact will be simply about educating people about food waste, how they can reduce their waste and recycle what waste they have, and educating people about the importance of using organic compost in their gardens and yards. No real systemic change will happen until people know and understand about the problem and the various solutions that are out there.
What can retailers learn from your success?
Consumers don't know what they want until you offer it to them, so waiting to recycle your food waste till your consumers are demanding it will put you at the back end of innovation and customer satisfaction.