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On the heels of its recent pledge to full GMO transparency by 2018, Whole Foods Market is furthering its commitment to sustainability with the launch of bio-clean technology company WISErg Corp.’s Harvester Technology, at its store in Bellevue, Wash.
The Harvester on-site unit is designed as a complement to compost removal, enabling the grocer to reduce and prevent food waste, decrease shrinkage, as well as provide data reports to better manage perishable inventory.
The unit’s oxidative conversion technology also transforms food scraps into a nutrient-rich liquid, which can then be refined into a natural fertilizer.
According to Dena Hastings, regional green mission specialist for Austin-based Whole Foods, the deployment of the technology will support a “virtuous circle of food consumption and production, with nearby growers using organic fertilizer made from food scraps that originate in our store.”
The Harvester not only reduces the amount of waste generated, according to WISErg, but also helps to prevent it by capturing data that identifies the source of waste. Grocers can then use that data to make informed decisions with regard to inventory management.
“The Harvester provides not only the detailed category of the food scraps being tossed but also granular causation and comparative data that allows store managers to understand where the scraps originated, why they are being removed from sale, and where they were removed from the store,” Larry LeSueur, CEO of Redmond, Wash.-based WISErg, told Progressive Grocer.”
The Harvester is currently deployed at a number of independent grocery stores in Washington state, and, according to LeSueur, could revolutionize sustainability if adopted industry-wide.
“[The Harvester] will allow grocers to make better decisions about what to buy from their growers and suppliers, improving their overall bottom line,” he continued, adding that the transformation of food scraps into high-quality fertilizer will cut down on the need for less efficient forms of fertilizer derivation, thereby sparking the idea of a “closed circle” between grower, grocer and consumer.
“It’s aspirational yes,” LeSueur said, "but WISErg believes we can change the world one community at a time starting with our own.”