By Chelsea Steinkamp
Green Right Now
How do you plan on doing away with your tasty Thanksgiving leftovers? According to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Americans throw away a grand total of $282 million worth of uneaten turkey each year. And you can bet that that number is nearly as high for wasted holiday hams and roast briskets.
Year round, food waste contributes nearly 10 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions generated in the United States, largely from methane gas escaping from landfills. But one company has made it their mission to change that.
EcoScraps, a Provo, Utah based company, specializes in taking spoiled food, primarily fruits and veggies, from produce providers across Utah and Arizona and transforming the waste into premium organic compost.
To this day, EcoScraps has recycled 15.2 million pounds of food waste and reduced the amount of air pollution equivalent to driving 844,442 cars for one year, according to the company.
Daniel Blake, the mastermind behind EcoScraps, came up with the idea one afternoon when he was eating at his favorite local all-you-can-eat buffet and could not finish the amount of food he had intended to. So he did what buffet goers do best and dumped it right in the trash.
When Blake walked over to the buffet trashcan, the realization kicked in — he was not the only one with eyes bigger than his stomach.
"When I went home and did research about food waste I found out that we throw away close to 30 million tons of food annually. That just sounded like a really big number but what really stuck out was the next line down stating we throw away enough food to fill the Rose Bowl Stadium once every three days which was what really disgusted me," Blake said.
Typically when large produce providers such as restaurants or grocery stores have leftover food at the end of the night they have to pay for a special service to have it picked up and taken to a landfill site.
Before the spoiled food reaches the landfill, EcoScraps works in conjunction with waste haulers, who personally pick up food waste from produce providers and take it to one of the company’s 96 compost facilities.
From that point forward, the food waste is inspected, mixed with EcoScraps special compost formula, bagged, sent off and sold at one of their 210 product locations.
What differentiates EcoScraps compost from any other organic compost is that their formula is made strictly from food waste and does not contain any type of manure or chemicals.
Since EcoScraps opened its doors in March 2010, Blake and co-founder Craig Martineau have taken their business plan, developed while they were students at Brigham Young University, and evolved it in to a successful company with over 30 employees.
Not only are the two young entrepreneurs creating jobs, they’re helping curb the nation’s carbon footprint. One report from CNN stated that if we could cut our food waste in half in the U.S., we would reduce that footprint by over 25 percent.
"At the end of the day I hope EcoScraps just encourages people to really think about their habits and what they can do to live a more sustainable lifestyle," Blake said.
EcoScraps organic compost and other EcoScraps products can be purchased directly from their website or from Costco, Home Depot, nurseries and home improvement stores throughout the Unites States.
Check out the company website to learn more about EcoScraps and see how you can make a difference: