Re-Nuble: Eliminating Food Waste By Converting it to Fertilizers

Wasted Food Can be Processed for Agriculture

By Jessica Theisman, Associate Editor

California Ag Today recently met with Tinia Pina, CEO of Re-Nuble. She told us about the company and what they stand for.

“We focus on sourcing food waste from wholesale food distributors,” she said.

Re-Nuble works on diverting food to food banks instead of landfills.

Re-Nuble primarily sources in urban areas due to compliance and regularity drivers to divert the food from landfills. New York City has a 2020 goal of achieving zero waste.

“The waste that can not be diverted to food banks is processed in a more cheaply manner,” Pina said.

This waste is turned into a product that is sold directly to farms as well as through resellers as an organic liquid fertilizer and pelletized fertilizer.

“It is just raw green food waste. There is that much volume at the wholesale produce distribution level,” Pina explained.

Food that ends up as ‘waste’ is usually because it does not meet food safety compliance.

“It could be from temperatures varying, the food fell on the floor,  broken pallets, and anything that would subject it to the risk of contamination; that is at the point that we collect it,” Pina said.

Re-Nuble is essentially networking, collecting, and turning food around as another renewable resource.

“We work with a hauler  to source it from our one wholesale food distributor and we take it on a daily basis and we basically, within 24 hours, turn it into either a liquid fertilizer that is sold as a fertilizer for controlled environment agriculture or as a pelletized fertilizer, which is great for soil environments,” Pina explained.

The fertilizer is either resold through some of Re-Nuble’s distribution partners or directly to the farms. Re-Nuble is currently in New York; however, they are working on extending out to California.

UC Researchers Trying to Understand Roll of Green Waste and Manure

Almond Growers Are Asked to Return Survey

Researchers are trying to find out the benefit of adding green waste from animal manure and adding it to the soil of permanent crops, and they  are looking for information from local growers.

A team of UC Davis and UC Merced researchers are trying to find how and why fruit and nut growers are using organic matter amended to their soils. These amendments might include green waste composted or non composted animal manure.

The goal of this survey is to help develop better approaches so the organic matter amendment can be used more safely, according to Daniel Schellenberg, postdoctoral scholar at UC Davis, who is the coordinator of the project.

“We’re hoping to find out the benefit to the orchard for using these types of materials and how they might improve environmental quality but as well as to find out are they benefit tree nutrition are they changing the biology in the soil, or they simply increasing the capacity of the soil to hold water.” said Schellenberg.

All California almond growers will be getting a survey in their mailboxes this week.

“We’re working with in partnership with the Almond Board of California we were able to have a mailing that will go out to almond growers about their practices and have also built a website that will allow all growers of trees, fruits, and nuts to be able to take the survey.” said Schellenberg

The survey can be found here.

Previously, the Almond Board of California stated that growers should not use these amendment due to food safety, but there has been no field trials to show the risk. A research goal is to find how amends can be used safely, and to determine how much nitrogen certain amendments can provide for tree and  vines.