New green tech startup looks to turn food waste into revenue

by | Jun 16, 2022 | News

One challenge of the circular economy is finding simple ways to connect waste streams with those who want it. CiRCLR is a new initiative looking for Northland businesses interested in minimising their waste and increasing their revenue potential.

CiRCLR is a rescued commodities platform that makes being circular simple. The aim is to help reduce food waste by making the reuse process as easy as throwing something away. CiRCLR help businesses reduce waste going to landfill by connecting them with businesses that could use their waste as a resource. “So many businesses don’t know the full extent of their waste, let alone the true possibility of its lifecycle, while businesses who do strive towards more sustainable goals don’t necessarily know how to connect to other businesses who could reuse their waste,” says co-founder Sara Smeath.

The platform uses blockchain to create a record of traceability that proves businesses are truly sustainable. By providing valuable waste metrics, they’re helping organisations make better decisions towards positive environmental impacts, as well as showing businesses that may be new to the circular economy the true benefits in being sustainable. “Our app takes the effort out of making those connections and tracking their sustainable achievements”, says Smeath.

“Some of the best examples of circularity and sustainability are coming from the food industry, right here in New Zealand,” says co-founder Chris Saunders, “Food waste is being converted into frozen smoothie mixes, locally sourced flour, sustainable pet foods and various up-cycled food projects. They’re taking time-critical waste and extending its shelf life into new and exciting products.”

“Leave legacy not a landfill”, is what Northland parents of four hope for with their ambitious goal of reducing the 12.5 million tonnes of waste going to landfill each year. The business CiRCLR aims to make circular economies with food-waste as easy as throwing out your rubbish.

The pair discovered that New Zealand’s yearly food waste produced 409,234 tonnes of carbon emissions. Globally, there is a vast amount of opportunity in the food and beverage industry to reduce this. They could see new products and innovations like biodegradable polystyrene made from popcorn waste, tofu waste-water being brewed into wine and biodegradable plastics and building materials grown from food waste.

CiRCLR’s network effect will help businesses know what their waste is, where it is going and what it will be used for so they can be more intentional in their production processes and share their waste stories with consumers.

No matter whether a business is new and looking for a way to increase their bottom line, or an established company wanting to keep their business practices sustainable – the team at CiRCLR hope to acquire valuable insights into how waste is currently managed, where it can be reduced and how their app could help businesses globally join the circular economy.

CiRCLR is part of the Climate Response Accelerator at Creative HQ. Sara is experienced in design and fashion innovation. She helped build global circular economies for fashion and provides sustainability consulting for businesses in New Zealand. Chris has over ten years’ experience in product design and software development for startups and Fortune 500s globally. The couple are parents to a family of four young children and are committed a better environmental future. Creative HQ is a subsidiary of WellingtonNZ.

See CiRCLR to learn more.

Image: Food and other organic waste disposed of in landfills produce methane, a greenhouse gas, as it decomposes. The amount of global food waste has been increasing dramatically over the last several decades. Some estimates indicate that as much as 40% of food in the US is thrown away. Composting or using food and other organic waste as feedstock for an anaerobic digester are two of the common alternatives to landfills.


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