"Greenbox" - A Novel Community-Based Food Waste-to-Energy Collection SystemEPA Grant Number: SU835999
Title: "Greenbox" - A Novel Community-Based Food Waste-to-Energy Collection System
Investigators: Franchetti, Matthew
Institution: University of Toledo
EPA Project Officer: Sergeant, Anne
Project Period: September 1, 2015 through August 31, 2016
Project Amount: $14,999
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet (2015) RFA Text | Recipients Lists
Research Category: P3 Awards , Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development , Sustainability , P3 Challenge Area - Energy
The US generates more than 34 million tons of food waste each year and over 97% of it is disposed of at US landfills. The goal of this project is to develop a novel food waste collection kiosk called ‘Greenbox’ that will collect and store food waste from households and restaurants with incentives for user participation to spur food waste to energy production in the local community.
Major barriers to food waste to energy production in the US are related to the high cost of food waste collection coupled with low landfill costs. Greenbox will overcome these obstacles by consolidating food waste for delivery to local large energy firms while providing incentives to users in the form of rewards. Greenbox will offer a low cost collection option to divert food waste from landfills, reduce greenhouse gases from decomposition, and aid in generating cleaner energy. From an education standpoint, Greenbox will share and inspire users to divert waste with each use from its user interface and the student team will create a webinar for social media to highlight Greenbox.
The expected results from this project include the development of a functional Greenbox prototype that will have a retail price of $12,000 and provide a 4.2 year payback period and 14.9% rate of return to potential investors. In addition, a business plan for commercialization, marketing strategy, and supplier relationship model (haulers, waste to energy facilities, and communities) will be developed.