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Kevin Davies

Location: Calgary, AB

Award: Award of Distinction

Category: Business and Environmental

Year: 2017

Innovation:

Hop Compost Ltd.

In 2013, Kevin Davies recognised opportunity in the unaddressed food waste filling the dumpsters of his Green Start recycling company’s clientele. However, the nearest compost facility was a rural operation, a two-hour roundtrip from Green Start’s waste sources.

Compostable waste is a key problem in Canada, taking up more than 40% of all landfill area. Due to odours in the windrow production process which allows food to openly rot outdoors, most compost facilities cannot get regulatory approval to operate within cities where the majority of waste is produced. The long-haul trips to reach rural facilities create uneconomic service for potential compost haulers, reducing consumer adoption. The concept of an inner-city compost system piqued Kevin’s interest.

But the inspiration for Hop Compost began after his dog Willy was poisoned by fertilizer in the family garden. Willy was ultimately nursed back to health, but the situation alerted Kevin to the danger of using chemical fertilizer to grow food. As more people share similar concerns, organic food production has reached record sales, but organic farms suffer up to 80% lower crop yields without fertilizer, so production cannot meet demand.

By eliminating odours from production, Kevin launched Canada’s first inner-city compost facilities that cut up to 83% of primary hauling costs, spurring food waste diversion. Leftover food is collected from restaurants to produce the most nutrient-rich compost tested in Canada. One bag of Hop’s finished compost product provides the nutrients of 8.2 bags of standard compost, increasing organic crop yields. Hop has saved over 3 million pounds of food waste, and over 9 million pounds of emissions.