Business

These startups are revolutionizing how we manage waste

By Anagha Subhash Nair, CNN Business

Updated 4:08 AM ET, Thu September 23, 2021
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With over 2 billion metric tons of waste produced annually, there's an urgent need to change the way we handle our trash. Luckily, startups are coming up with countless innovations, from smart bins to fly larvae that eat food waste. Look through the gallery to see some cutting-edge waste management solutions. Shutterstock
ColdHubs are 10-foot-square solar-powered cold storage units that have been installed at markets and farms in Nigeria. They can keep produce fresh for up to 21 days, preventing food from spoiling. CNN
Singapore-based Insectta uses black soldier fly larvae to convert food waste into fertilizer and animal feed (pictured). Now, the startup is developing a method to extract high-value biomaterials like chitosan and melanin from the black soldier flies. CNN
Recycling Technologies also uses circular waste management solutions to tackle plastic waste. The UK-based company uses "chemical recycling" that breaks down plastics using high temperatures into an oil-like liquid called Plaxx. This is then used to manufacture more plastic, increasing the sustainability of the production process. Arthur Op Den Brouw/Recycling Technologies
This smart-bin from Bin-e has sensors and uses artificial intelligence to recognize and sort objects. It automatically opens when approached with trash, compresses waste, and notifies the waste disposal company when the bin is full -- automating waste management. Courtesy Bin-e SP.Z.O.O
Some companies are trying a different approach: to minimize the waste produced in the first place. Apeel uses plant-based materials to create a tasteless, biodegradable exterior "peel" for fruits and vegetables to extend their shelf-life. In May, it announced an imaging technology that would allow monitoring of ripeness, nutritional content and other indicators of the quality of the produce. Courtesy Apeel
Loop is reducing single-use packaging by partnering with a range of brands including Häagen-Dazs, Pantene and The Body Shop, to sell their products in containers which buyers can return after use, to be cleaned and reused. Initially available only online, Loop is now available in retail stores around the world. Courtesy Loop
ShareWaste connects those who want to get rid of food scraps sustainably with composting operations, helping users find eco-conscious solutions for organic waste in their area. Compost enriches soil quality and helps it stay moist -- even a small amount of compost in the upper layer of soil helps retain up to 27,000 gallons of water per acre. Courtesy Yasmin Mund
Too Good to Go connects consumers with bakeries, restaurants and supermarkets. The vendors offer customers "surprise bags" containing surplus food at the end of the business day. Launched in 2016, the company says that its venture, involving over 42 million users, has helped save over 88 million meals to date. Courtesy Too Good To Go