Sep 22, 2017 — Atlanta, GA
Urban RePeel, a team consisting of Jared McGrath and Ryan Ravanelle from the Brook Byers Institute for Sustainable Systems, and Nicole Sullivan from Environmental Engineering, won the 2011 Georgia Tech Ideas To SERVE competition. In addition, the team also picked up the People’s Choice Award for the poster competition and runner-up in the overall People’s Choice Award. Urban RePeel aims to collect food waste from densely populated urban areas, where food waste rates approach 50%, and transform it into high quality fertilizer with the help of red wriggler worms grown on an industrial scale. The worms can eat their own weight in food waste every day, and excrete an organic fertilizer that is highly coveted by gardeners as an alternative to chemical fertilizers. This cyclical solution solves several problems at once.
- American municipalities pay $1 billion a year to haul food waste to rapidly filling landfills where it decomposes releasing greenhouse gases.
- The substitution of synthetic fertilizers with an organic alternative prevents pollution of waterways from runoff and results in healthier and more productive plants.
- Organic fertilizers also reduce dependence on fossil fuels and reduce greenhouse gas emissions because their production is energy intensive and uses natural gas as a feedstock.
Ideas To SERVE (I2S) is an annual student competition where teams present ideas for products, ventures or services that simultaneously solve social and environmental problems as well as demonstrate that they can be financially self-sustaining. The I2S competition is organized by the Institute for Leadership and Entrepreneurship at the Georgia Tech College of Management. This year’s sponsors are:
- Gray Ghost Ventures
- MaRC Sustainable Design & Manufacturing
- Brook Byers Institute for Sustainable Systems
- College of Management
- Tedd Munchak Chair in Entrepreneurship
- Institute for Leadership and Entrepreneurship
Brent Verrill, Communications Manager, BBISS