India, today, creates 67 million metric tonnes of food waste per annum which is valued at INR 92,000 crore, growing at 8-10% year on year. Jsamey Biotech Pvt. Ltd, the brainchild of Amey Marathe, was formed with the intention to curb the food waste generated from the restaurants in India.
Amey Marathe has worked with the restaurant industry as a chef for 14 years. Through his culinary journey, he saw tonnes of food being dumped in garbage bins, daily. Every time he saw food in the garbage bins, his heart sank.
Speaking to Restaurant India, Amey Marathe, founder of JSamey Biotech Pvt. Ltd., tells why and how the restaurants across the country can help minimize the food wastage problem.
Introducing Farm to Farm Concept
I have been in the industry as a chef since 2005. Every day, I would see a lot of food being thrown in the bins; all these came either from pre-preparation or shelf life of the items that were over and 50% of them came from the tables or the buffet. Farmers put a lot of efforts in growing produce. Even chefs do a lot of hard work in making a cuisine. And when you see all these things go in the trash, your heart aches. Same happened with me.
Amey Marathe, founder of Jsamey Biotech Pvt. Ltd.
10-12% of the garbage generated in India is food waste. Delhi, alone, has 650 acres of prime land meant only for dumping the garbage. Since a long time, I wanted to do something for the industry.
Management of waste is a major issue for any restaurant. Unlike 5 or 4-star hotel restaurants, standalone doesn’t have specific garbage-controlled rooms. At the end of the day, the food waste is picked up by the municipality and gets dumped in the land field.
Presently, people know only about composting, the conventional method. Every good hotel has a composting machine in their premise; at hotels, it’s mandatory to keep composting machines to get the certification. Any 5-star property with 100 rooms creates at least 700-800 kilos of waste. The machines would have the capacity to process 100-200 kilos per day. The problem with composting is - because of the process, gases like carbon dioxide, methane, H2S are released in the atmosphere. Apart from the garbage, another problem we face in the country is air and soil pollution.
If we do not deal with such things now, it will spread more.
Already 11 cities in India are ranked among the most polluted city in the world.
That’s why we started JS Amey.
We have seen trends like farm to fork or farm to plate; Jsamey is the Farm to Farm concept.
We collect the food waste from various hotels and restaurants and convert it into nutritious organic fertiliser through the fermentation process.
I thought if we go through the bio-methanation process, though it’s a conventional process, no new technology is involved yet additionally, the biogas will be generated.
Challenges with Restaurants’ Food Waste
The food wastes we get from restaurants are indigestive. Our cooking involves oil, grease and spices. The challenge was whether we could use this food waste to convert it into organic manure and gas. We got incubated at a-Idea (Association for Innovation Development of Entrepreneurship in Agriculture) Hyderabad and agri-biotech foundation. We did extensive research on microbial consortia. We have seen the success of being able to treat this food waste properly. Now, we have our own consortia; we are harnessing all these gases and we are also producing organic manure.
Executing the Concept
Till Feb-March, this year, we were in our pilot phase. Since it was the first phase, we had processed around 25 kilos of waste per day.
We, recently, got a grant from the Government. By June, we will have a plant where we can process around 1-tonne food waste per day.
We are starting with Hyderabad, which produces around 450-500 tonnes of food waste per day. By the year end, we will process 10 tonnes per day i.e., 300 tonnes a month and by 2022, we aim to process around 6,000 metric tonnes per day in at least 8-10 cities across India. By next year, possibly, we will be in 3-4 cities.
The gas we generate, through the bio-methanation process, will be bottled, enriched and sold back as compressed biogas. This will be almost 25% cheaper than the regular LPG which is approved by the government. The manure will be sold to the farmers at a subsidized rate; it’s complete organic manure. It also helps the soil retain its fertility. And you have no limitations of usage. Because it’s the same food that is grown at the farm goes back to the farm.
The Compressed Bio Gas will be sold at subsidized 48 INR per kg and organic manure at 8 INR per kg.
Collecting the Food Waste from Restaurants
We will have our own logistics. Mostly, restaurants have to keep the food waste to be collected the next day, till noons, generally. We’ll have a fleet of our own or we’ll tie up with municipalities where we’ll connect this waste in the night itself by 12.30 or 1 am. The hotels and restaurants don’t have to keep the stinking food waste at their place. For us, it becomes better as we’ll take it as early before it starts rotting.
The challenges also lie in how open the other city’s municipalities will be to collaborate with us. With the coming up of the Swachh Bharat campaign, I see a lot of movements happening within the cities. We got a good response from Hyderabad municipalities. Our concept is Farm to Farm.
So far, we have signed up with 10 restaurants; I cannot disclose the names at this moment.
Benefits for Restaurants
Ease of operations and no stress on storing garbage is one of the major benefits for a restaurant. We are also in the process to develop a tech-based system wherein restaurants can claim carbon credits.