Recycling food to feed grubs to feed farm animals to feed you. Minimize food waste, maximize value. Grubtubs founder, Robert Oliver is on a mission to move our ecosystem towards a circular economy, from farm to table and back again.
The model is simple: collect leftovers from restaurants and drop it off at local farms. Each farm will feed the leftovers to a colony of grubs who will in turn feed chickens who produce healthy eggs.
Fresh off a $360K win at the WeWork Creator Awards in the “Scale” category, GrubTubs is looking to do just that. Pitching restaurants, school cafeterias, breweries, and beyond, Olivier hopes to prove value in his manageable 50lb fermentation tubs that will eliminate flies and odors through frequent pickups. “60-80% of dumpster waste is food,” tells Olivier, “but food only amounts to 20% of the dumpster’s volume, meaning we can fit more recyclables into less space.”
“60-80% of dumpster waste is food”
To put the problem into perspective, 98% of food coming from restaurants is not recycled, totaling 25 million tons per year. Even worse, out of every two calories grown, one will go to waste. But while some might say the problem is too large to tackle, Olivier sees massive potential and Austin has a plan help. The Austin Zero Waste initiative will require food businesses to recycle all organics by 2018, and GrubTubs is making this process both easy and convenient. “We picked Austin for its progressive city policy. When policy meets innovation, real change can happen.”
“We picked Austin for its progressive city policy. When policy meets innovation, real change can happen.”
The GrubTubs team has received outstanding local support and is working hard to make their business model mutually beneficial for restaurants and farms alike. If local farms can survive without government subsidies and expensive feed, we just might see more locally grown food in Austin, up from the current 1%.