Innovation That Matters

Clew's countertop device turns discarded food into compost | Photo source Canva

A countertop appliance for turning food waste into compost


The new appliance hopes to tackle food waste and methane emissions by turning discarded food into a dry powder that can be used as compost

Spotted: Food waste has become a major issue of concern. And no wonder, with roughly one-third of the food produced for human consumption wasted or lost each year. While agriculture is responsible for the majority of this waste, households also account for a big chunk.

When food waste ends up in a landfill, it contributes significantly to methane emissions. If food waste were a country, it would be the third largest contributor of methane emissions – behind only China and the US. These facts inspired the founders of Clew to develop a home food waste recycler. The device is designed to rapidly process residential food waste (including avocado pits and most bones) into a dried product.

The countertop appliance uses a unique shredding technology that can process harder food waste. This is then dried into a product that can be used as compost or sent to a recycling stream for further processing.

Thus far, Clew has raised around $400,000 (around €375,000) in funding for R&D, as well as additional support from angel investors and a crowdfunding round. The company is also exploring grants from cities, states, and federal agencies to help with some of their net-zero goals. Clew CEO Spencer Martin explained the company’s pitch to Waste360, saying, “We tell [investors] … we are developing a strong brand centred around authenticity and transparency; we take ownership for the products we make and their effects on the environment; and we’re in the beginning stages of strategic partnerships, which will help increase our reach.”

There is no information available yet on the amount of energy the Clew will use, or on when the product will be ready for market.

Tackling food waste will require action on a number of fronts – reducing transport costs by growing and processing food locally, making agriculture more efficient ,and preventing food waste at home and in stores. Springwise has seen innovations aimed at tackling each of these areas, including circular insect farms that take in food waste and turn out animal feed, automatic crop monitoring systems that can detect problems earlier and prevent waste, and indoor farms that can be placed closer to end users, reducing transport. 

Written By: Lisa Magloff



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