Innovation That Matters

| Photo source Timothy Dykes on Unsplash

Using upcycled food waste to grow mushrooms

Agriculture & Energy

Collection and delivery are zero-emissions and both businesses and members of the public can donate their waste


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Springwise: Growth in interest in plant-based foods and meat replacements is driving an increase in the global mushroom market at a compound annual growth rate of more than six per cent until 2028. For businesses in the hospitality and grocery industries, a Brooklyn, New York-based food technology company has created a means of transforming in-house waste streams into a new supply of sustainably grown mushrooms.  

Peat upcycles food waste from restaurants, grocery stores, and distributors using a hyperlocal, zero-emissions transport model. Drop-off points are open to the public as well as businesses, and provide companies with a way to reduce their waste management costs. Peat uses a zero-emissions, electric cargo bike to transport waste from drop-off points to the mushroom farming facility, and again to deliver the harvested mushrooms back to food establishments, who can purchase the mushrooms generated by their waste from Peat at a lower cost.  

Moisture from the gathered waste helps irrigate the farm, and Peat provides customers with a daily analysis of the volume of their scrap food. Businesses use the data to measure improvements in their work towards sustainability goals, and the mushrooms grown on the farm are fully traceable, providing businesses with an important piece in their ESG work. 

The entire process takes several weeks from collection of waste to delivery of mushrooms. Peat further contributes to positive environmental change by planting mushrooms in forests, as a way to encourage greater carbon sequestration.  

Bone grafts made from eggshells and industrial chemicals made from coffee grounds are two other ways that Springwise has spotted food waste being used to create a valuable new product.

Written By: Keely Khoury


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