Dear friend of The Waste Transformers,
2021 has proven an extraordinary year. We are also happy to say, we are looking forward to an extraordinary 2022 as well!
Read further to learn what 2022 is going to bring us.
We continued our second year in corona times, where again, we worked mostly from home. And just like for all of you, that was not always easy. We got used to working remotely, built up digital relationships with our customers (to be), gave digital and in-person pitches, presentations and tours. Just like us, our audience was typically incensed by the amount of food waste we collectively produce, saddened by its negative impact on speeding up global warming, and hopeful about making a difference and turning the tide with our local, impactful technology.
We also have started the transition to stronger evidence-based reporting on just how strong our positive impact can be, having recently completed our independent Life Cycle Analysis (LCA). But more on that later.
We have been lucky to find great new talent to strengthen our team and were visited by some unexpected guests, such as Diego Garcia Vega, who featured us as one of the promising initiatives fighting food waste in his HBOMAX documentary “Zero Waste Chef” and highlighted our new project together with the Johan Cruyff Arena in Amsterdam.
So having realized financial closure on a number of new projects in 2021, for 2022, we want to say a warm hello to the countries we will be expanding in and to:
The impact of our Waste Transformer lies in its replicability. And who is scaling good things? Ingka Group, through IKEA Haarlem store in the Netherlands, are proving a very courageous pioneer in sustainability. Over the last year, we have been working hard with Ingka Group, to install a Waste Transformer at the IKEA Haarlem store. Soon we will go live and IKEA Netherlands will test the on-site transformation of their non-consumable food waste streams into valuable outputs, and gaining a deeper understanding of how our on-site solution can support IKEA towards realizing their zero-waste goal.
Kushe Sierra Leone!
After our successful country launch in Freetown in 2019, co-powering a female hospital on food waste, we are expanding our presence in the coming year. Another four Waste Transformers will be supporting local businesses and the community in increasing their energy access, and at the same time creating local jobs and natural fertilizer to increase the crop yield of farmers. From there we will continue to build the Waste Transformers network, covering more neighbourhoods and with the ambition of creating a new, infrastructural blueprint that can be replicated in other African megacities.
Just like in Europe, annual food waste estimates in the UAE, are still too high. In 2022 the first two Waste Transformers will be welcomed in the UAE. Our biogas will be converted into cooling used in a newly created Institute showcasing the best in sustainability for a decentralised air-conditioning network to supply a local community. Besides the new entry into the region, parts of the Waste Transformer will be locally manufactured, reducing the transportation costs and CO2 emissions.
We are looking forward to expanding to Ghana. A beautiful green country where the capital Accra will house a Waste Transformer powering a technical university. This allows the city to learn more about this on-site food waste technology and allows local farmers to use organic fertilizer from the nutrients stored in food waste, to produce foods growing on natural nutrients.
Uganda is the fourth African country we expand to, and this project has so many positive indirect effects, that we are proud our technology is central to this. Food waste from the local community and farmers will be used to co-power a new concept for circular farming: namely, the organic waste will be used to green power the energy needs to pump the water of fish ponds to nearby small-scale farmers’ land, store the fresh fish cool (thereby reducing farm to fork losses) and will provide the land of small-scale farmers with the nutrients and water needed to grow fresh food. Soil health will be restored naturally, by adding the nutrients from the food waste to the water irrigating the land. Not only will this digestate from food waste help to retain water in the soil, but also add macro-and micronutrients, for long term health. This will also help to reduce the need for artificial fertilizer, depleting the soils and making small-scale farmers less dependent on external (imported) additives.
Working together with Swedish and Belgium partners, we have taken a step closer to the heart of the Food, Water and Energy nexus. How? In a European research partnership, we are optimizing the natural fertilizer from food waste to grow fresh food in an attached closed vertical farm, powered and fertilized by food waste transformed locally in our Waste Transformers. It will be the world’s first Fully Closed-Loop Urban Farm: we call it ‘From Food to Food’.
New talent helping us climb the good mountain!
Plastic waste reduction has been a welcoming and now familiar point on the global agenda. The negative effects of food waste are increasingly also making headlines: Food waste is the new plastic. So, to help us climb the good mountain Roberto, Ana, Hugo, and Thomas have pulled on their climbing boots and joined the team. We are delighted to have them on board!
Comparing waste processing techniques: A Life Cycle Analysis!
Together, The Waste Transformers and Ingka Group commissioned the Swedish Research Institute – RISE – to conduct an independent Life Cycle Analysis [LCA] of our Waste Transformer. Our on-site Waste Transformer was compared to landfilling in Russia, incineration in France and large-scale anaerobic digestion in the Netherlands. These different waste processing techniques were then assessed based on their impact on climate change, impact on eutrophication and water. The conclusion of RISE: of all the waste processing techniques they studied, our Waste Transformer has the (smallest) environmental impact. Put differently, if you want to have the most positive effect possible on our planet: go small and start transforming on-site!
Let’s start 2022 by turning food waste into value!