Just when you thought Whole Foods couldn’t get any more green, well, now the organic grocery store is.

wiserg1
“The Harvester.”

The Austin-based market announced today that its Bellevue, Wash. location will soon begin converting food scraps into organic fertilizer that can be sold to farmers and consumers.

The process is made possible by Redmond-based WISErg, which has built a geeky machine called the “Harvester.” WISErg has developed technology that intercepts nutrients still existing in food waste like overripe produce and unsold prepared foods, and converts that into a liquid which can be used for local agricultural farming. The machine also provides data reports to help grocers and restaurants better manage perishable inventory and ultimately save money.

“We believe that new, technology-based approaches and community-based environmental education will lead to a scalable, sustainable solution that can both reduce food waste and capture and reuse the nutrients in food scraps,” 47-year-old CEO Larry LeSueur told us last December.

“The Havester,” has a dashboard that shows the status of food waste turning into fertilizer.
“The Havester,” has a dashboard that shows the status of food waste turning into fertilizer.

LeSueur co-founded the company with former colleague Jose Lugo, and the ex-Microsofties recruited an experienced microbiologist in Victor Tryon to help develop “The Harvester,” which is already at PCC Natural Markets in the Seattle area. Whole Foods is the company’s first grocery customer that has a national brand and presence.

“Our partnership with WISErg is another example of our commitment to the community and the environment,” Dena Hastings, Regional Green Mission Specialist for Whole Foods Market, said in a statement. “We can help to create a virtuous circle of food consumption and production, with nearby growers using organic fertilizer made from food scraps that originate in our store.”

Learn more about WISErg with our Startup Spotlight.

Comments

  • johnhcook

    Taylor you could have used this for the nasty produce package that arrived at our offices a few days ago.

  • balls187

    >converting food scraps into organic fertilizer that can be sold to farmers and consumers.

    Isn’t that just a compost bin?

    • Kary

      Yes, but the volume at a store would be way to high to use a conventional compost bin.

    • Kary

      I saw this on the local news today, and apparently the store had been using a dumpster style compactor before. That seems very impractical.

      Also though, this thing apparently isn’t anywhere near the produce department and is out at the loading dock. That seems rather impractical too, unless produce has somehow changed since I was in high school.

      • balls187

        Well, it’s okay. If they’re going to pay produce workers $15/hr, they might as well get something in return.

Job Listings on GeekWork

Find more jobs on GeekWork. Employers, post a job here.