Work
Product Design
CLIENT
Hop Compost
YEAR
2014 - 2019

Creating a closed loop system that saved 47 million pounds of food waste.

At Hop Compost, I integrated waste processing hardware and software to found an automated, inner-city composting operation that scaled across Canada.
Hop was designed as a two-sided revenue system that monetized its inputs and outputs. It disrupted the waste industry by establishing decentralized inner-city composting facilities. The facilities radically expedited hauling logistics, enabling a cheaper and cleaner composting service with precise environmental tracking. Inside each facility, the process design produced a packaged organic compost with the best lab results in Canadian history. Together, the integrated product and service design unlocked a circular food system, earning hallmark clients ranging from Starbucks to Loblaws, Lowes to Whole Foods.
Sep 25, 2021  •  3 min read
The Challenge
Food waste is a massive environmental problem. But conventional composting methods hinder the affordability of waste hauling services and the value of end compost products, limiting the viability of landfill diversion.
Conventional composting is done in outdoor piles, which produce offensive odour at scale
Odour forces rural facility locations, which require long, expensive hauling trips
Bulk compaction vehicles are required to fit as much waste as possible into each rural trip
They prevent diversion tracking per source, and the control of food waste ingredients
Without ingredient or climate control, outdoor compost products have no quality assurance
A low-value end product further increases the cost of food waste hauling service
The Breakthrough
I discovered a patented hardware solution from a New Zealand university, acquired the tech, and blended its solution with a unique process design to reimagine the modern compost facility.
Hop enclosed the composting process inside massive airtight vessels
Hardware, software, and process controls eliminated odour emissions
The automated conditions were 97% faster to accomplish 80% volume reduction in food waste
With no odour and small space requirements, Hop facilities could locate inner-city for rapid hauling
Rapid hauling enabled small collection vehicles in place of bulk compaction trucks
This in turn enabled a bin-swap service method, with precise tracking at a highly competitive cost
The tracking allowed monthly environmental impact reporting per client, and strict ingredient control
Ingredient control combined with process control to produce the best compost in Canadian history

Nearly one million kilograms of food waste are processed... for an energy bill that's lower than a commercial refrigerator.

- CBC
Allison Dempster, 2017
The Execution
Hop monetized a radically efficient B2B food waste hauling service with integrated impact tracking. It transformed the waste ingredients into a B2C packaged organic fertilizer alternative.
Hop introduced inner-city composting facilities in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, and Toronto
Hop facilities expedited hauling logistics to cut 2/3s of the average hauling time for food waste
Hauling service was marketed to foodservice companies as a monthly recurring subscription
With bin-swap hauling, the service design enabled every bin to be washed, categorized, and weighed
The tracking enabled monthly impact reports that measured exact waste, land, water, and CO2 savings
Hop's finished organic compost product delivered 7x higher NPK nutrient content than alternatives
The product was marketed to urban farmers and gardeners through a national retail network

The Results

Hop's differentiated product and service design drew adoption from industry leaders, scaling closed loop food systems across Canada.
It garnered international attention, including a World Changing Ideas award from Fast Company.

11%

Monthly compounded growth rate

47 million

Pounds of food waste saved from landfill

14,000

Client waste bins serviced monthly

$10 million

Total value of signed sales contracts