WISErg Corporation Creates WISErganic’s Organic Liquid Fertilizer From Local Food Waste

WISErg Corporation's Harvester

WISErg's Harvester

The Seattle Times posted an article about WISErg Corporation and their goal to reduce the amount of plant-based food waste from grocery stores and produce companies by converting it into a valuable product – their WISErganic organic liquid fertilizer. The process starts by capturing the food waste onsite in a silo type system, the Harvester ($40k – $55k), that holds and minimally processes the plant matter until it’s picked up by WISErg in 10 days. At WISErg, the slurry is anaerobically broken down, chemically stabilized, packaged and sold as WISErganic ($8 for 32 oz) brand organic liquid fertilizer. It’s takes the plant waste through the “full-circle” waste cycle and will reduce the amount of organic waste entering landfills.

Currently, WISErg has their first Harvester installed at an organic grocery store, PCC Natural Market, that is located about a mile from their headquarters. With the Harvester, PCC has been able to reduce the number of compost pickups from three per week to one.

Full-circle recycling is great and being able to create the WISErganic fertilizer is a nice bonus but I’m still not sure this is going to fly. Why? Because it’s not cost effective for a grocery store or produce company to fork out $40,000 – $55,000 (+ $350/month maintenance) for a Harvester when they could just continue throwing their plant-based waste into a trash for much less. Yes, WISErg has a lease option but the fee still has to be less than the cost of tossing food in the dumpster. WISErganic Organic Liquid Fertilizer There has to be more of an incentive for businesses to want the Harvester system because being green will only motivate a few and they aren’t the Safeways and Costcos.

I do hope WISErg makes this work but they need to offer their partners more in order to be successful. Exclusively selling their organic liquid fertilizer, at WISErg’s cost, to partner resellers that use the Harvester would be a good start. Another option would be to cut the price of the Harvester and waive the maintenance fee so it is an investment with no recurring costs. Then it could possibly payback in the seven years they’re expecting.

WISErg may also reward their partner stores based on how much they put into the Harvester each month and it could be used to defray some of the initial investment. Kind of like a kickback, they can call it a greenback, that is based on the amount of liquid fertilizer sold by WISErg.

We’ll see what happens and hopefully this is not going to end up being a great idea for which the market just is not ready. [Seattle Times]