Thinking of a pile of food waste as a legitimate source of operational data takes more than a little getting used to. When I see or hear of a pile of food trash somewhere, my first thought is generally along the lines of “can that be composted?”. It has probably never been “what data can I glean from this”. A recent article from Bloomberg shows a completely different aspect of the intersection between environmental sustainability and business success. The product featured in the article is a bio-digester. Searching “biogester” in Wikipedia pulls up a discussion of “Anaerobic digestion”, which is a well known process for breaking down biodegradable wastes—well known to those of a scientific bent, that is.
Several companies have come up with biodigester systems that are web-connected. This allows the biodigester to send information about the “digested” trash back to the customer. In a way, I should not be so surprised about this. After all, I have read numerous articles about how happy archaeologists are whenever they find ancient trash in an excavation site. Why wait hundreds or even thousands of years for the information hidden in the trash if your business can gain from that information right now?