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Bellevue Whole Foods tapped for waste management pilot
Whole Foods has tapped its Bellevue store to pilot a partnership with bio-clean tech company WISErg Corporation, tracking its food waste and turning it into organic fertilizer that the supermarket can sell back to its customers.
WISErg offers up the Harvester to Whole Foods, which will use the unit to run diagnostics and capture information about the waste being placed inside. It also takes the food scraps placed inside and converts it into a liquid used by WISErg to make an organic fertilizer that Whole Foods will then sell in Bellevue.
"We have a handful of other stores that are really excited about this technology and they want to get their hands on it and we just have to kind of slow them down a bit," said Dena Hastings, regional green mission specialist for Whole Foods Market, adding the system in Bellevue will need to run for a while to ensure its ready for wider use. "We have high hopes to have it running in other stores, especially in new stores opening."
Hastings said because the Bellevue Whole Foods is across from the supermarket chain's regional office, it was best suited for the pilot project. The Harvester will allow Whole Foods to capture the type of waste going into it and where the waste is coming from, said Hastings, which will allow the store to take steps to reduce it through better inventory management.
"This is the first that we've gone in this direction for the Pacific Northwest," she said. "The Harvester seems to be a really good fit for us."While The Harvester is expected to cut costs to the store through better purchasing practice, Hastings said Whole Foods doesn't anticipate its cost savings to trickle down to the consumer.
"Cost savings on the back end of our business doesn't affect the customers," she said.