ISSAQUAH, Wash. - When PCC Produce Manager Geoff Drury takes out the food waste from the Issaquah store these days, he heads towards the trash and compost bins, but he never gets there. He stops instead at a new contraption the company is testing and may end up putting at each of the PCC Natural Markets in the region.
"The big green monster, I call it," said Drury as he dumps a load of old lettuce, meat trimmings and other food waste into the door of the machine.
It's called a harvester and was created by another local company, WISErg, which wanted to create a way to turn food waste into an easily disposed-of liquid product. But after a laboratory tested the liquid the focus of the company changed.
"The tester said, 'you need to go talk with a fertilizer company because, this is not something you should be disposing of, this is a resource that should be used,'" said WISErg Ceo and co-founder Larry LeSuere.
The company had tapped into a nutrient rich and all natural source of liquid plant food that is now being marketed for use on gardens, yards and farms. PCC loved the idea because they can sell the product to help pay off the cost of the machine and they can reduce costs of transporting the waste off the property.
"The WISErg Harvester enables businesses like ours to turn the problem of food scrap disposal into an opportunity for our communities and the environment."
Even after PCC, donates leftovers to food banks, it produces an estimated 600 to 800 pounds of food waste per week. Most of that went to the compost pile but PCC representatives say if they make a valuable product out of the waste right on their own property, they're in.