The company was created by Dan Blake while he was an undergraduate at Brigham Young University. The company raised $1.5 million in 2012.
The company was founded by Blake, a business student at BYU. In 2009, Blake observed that an all-you-can eat breakfast buffet was throwing away large amounts of food. He had previously worked as a missionary in Latin America, where composting from food scraps was commonplace.
His first experiment to create compost from thrown away restaurant food, especially salty and fried food, was a failure, resulting in the quick death of plants. After switching to fruits and vegetables, scientists at BYU's agriculture department assisted Blake in finding a combination of added nutrients to create viable compost. Instead of the usual six to nine months to create viable compost, the formula allowed Ecoscraps to create compost in about three weeks. The initial formula included adding sawdust, coffee grounds and, aerating the compost pile every three days, in order to create the correct carbon-to-nitrogen ratio. The company also added micro-organisms to the mixture. BYU lab tests showed that plants grown with Ecoscraps compost grew as large or larger than plants grown with chemical fertilizer.
Blake paid for the launch of the company with $18,000 in personal savings and subsequently received $110,000 in business plan competitions and angel investments. EcoScraps's business plan won second prize in BYU's Social Venture Competition. The company also received a grant from Sparkseed, a nonprofit fund that invests in social entrepreneurs.
Blake and two other BYU students, Brandon Sargent and Craig Martineau, dropped out of BYU to run the company full-time.
Using Ecoscraps, stores dispose of their food waste, except meat and diary, at no cost.
In 2013, the company announced its product line would be available at 1700 Target stores around the country. The company said that they had recycled more than 15 million pounds of food scraps, preventing more than 9 million pounds of methane emissions, about the same as 850,000 autos taken off the street for two weeks. Food waste generates around 8–9% of U.S. pollution, compared to 12% for cars.
In a 2014 article, the author stated that each bag of Ecoscraps represents about 37 pounds of produce waste diverted from landfills and is the equivalent to not driving a car for two weeks. In 2015, the company said it was processing more than 50 million pounds of food waste a year, including waste from Costco and Walmart.
As of 2015, Ecoscraps was owned by Hawthorne Gardening Company, a subsidiary of the Scotts Miracle-Gro Company.
K. Wade Hooton
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