Imagine if instead of the left over fruit and veggies at your supermarket going to landfill, they were reused over and over again? Solving this problem is the big idea behind B.Box, a fully circular waste collection and transportation solution designed for food manufacturers and retailers across Australia. Unlike current food waste systems, B.Box enables easy collection, storage and removal of waste. Best of all, the solution is sustainable: the B.Box, along with waste inside it is broken down and turned into more B.Boxes, keeping food waste out of landfill, and helping businesses to go green.
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In Australia, over 7 million tonnes of food per year ends up in landfill, costing taxpayers over $20 billion. What we don’t eat not only costs us money but it also heats up our planet, contributing 8% of greenhouse gas emissions.
Over one third of the food that ends up in landfill is from commercial sources. In fact, only 15% of food waste is disposed of correctly, leaving 85% of food waste ending up on our rubbish heaps. Our research shows that the biggest producers of commercial food waste in Australia are food manufacturers (33%), accommodation and food services (30%) and food retailers (20%).
Currently, commercial food waste is hard to collect, store and transport. It is easily contaminated with other waste streams, and there are limited options for localised, off-site services which can re-purpose the waste.
B.Box is a proposed commercial food waste disposal and transportation solution that looks to achieve the following objectives:
- Enable our target market to dispose of their organic waste easily and economically and in a way that creates value to third parties;
- Transform Australia’s commercial food waste supply chain from linear to circular, by repurposing existing waste streams; and
- Reduce the environmental impact of food being sent to landfill.
Product innovation: B.Box transforms biochar, a form of processed organic waste that is currently being used as a soil conditioner to augment crop yield, into a completely new product with new use case.
Business model innovation: We aim to transform an undervalued waste stream into a productive and valuable solution. We will do this by creating a new closed loop system that tackles Australia’s commercial food waste problem. We are taking responsibility for creating a new paradigm that provides a common platform for the various elements in the commercial food wastage chain to co-ordinate activities and solve this lingering and difficult problem.
Social and Environmental Impact
- Box provides a clear cut path, enabling for the first time food waste to be handled and treated in a way that creates value and protects the environment
- Box will bring people together to work for a collective cause
- Box develop solutions that repurpose existing systems and infrastructure to increase the quality of life of future generations
- Box keeps food waste out of landfill, and helps reduce Australia’s greenhouse emissions
- Box addresses the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal ‘Responsible Consumption and Production’ (#12) by offering a circular solution that aims at ‘doing more and better with less’.
B.Box Business Model
Our customers are food manufacturers and retailers across Australia. This target market has been broken in to the following customer segments:
- Medium to large-size food retailers: Large consortiums of food and hospitality outlets, e.g. café chains, fast-food franchises. This market was chosen due to the centralisation and standardisation of operations.
- Food manufacturers: Companies involved in the preparation, processing and packaging of food products.
- Supermarkets: Independent and chains. Australia’s supermarket landscape follows the ‘rule of three’, with three major chains servicing much of the nation.
- Downstream industries: Wholesale customers of bio-chardboard material, such as packaging manufacturers.
Each of these customer types face subtly different challenges in the collection and transportation of food waste. The beauty of the B.Box system lies in its potential for customisation. Different formats of B.Boxes can be produced to accommodate different scales of organisational waste, as well as different circumstances, such as frequency of pick up and availability of holding space. B.Box is a flexible and safe solution that can efficiently service a diversity of customer types.
B.Box enables food manufacturers and retailers across Australia to dispose of their organic food waste through a novel circular collection and transportation solution that prevents damage currently caused to the environment by food going to landfill.
A mix of direct sales and distributors will be used as B.Box’s channels. B.Box offers two products/services: its primary offering is its waste collection and transportation solution; its secondary offering is wholesale bio-chardboard.
- Direct Sales: This channel will be used for large accounts, such as those in the supermarket segment, and will also be used to on-sell to the distributor network (below). In addition, this channel will be used to sell wholesale bio-chardboard.
- Distributors (re-sellers): This channel will be used to target market segments such as food manufacturers and food retailers. The distributor sales channel will be developed as a network of the following stakeholders: raw product providers, packaging suppliers, and/ or other strategic providers who have relationships with key customer segments. This sales channel will be financially incentivised, which will be factored into the customer acquisition cost.
Customer relationships will be serviced and maintained through a mix of relationship and self-management.
- Account managers: An account manager (by region) will be provided to each account to ensure that the customer is experiencing the optimal service; deep-end learning on how to optimise the system; and that the promised value is being exchanged.
- Self-managed accounts: A customer portal will be developed for smaller customers without access to supply chain systems to self-manage their accounts across areas such as delivery days, collection volumes, pick-up request, and delivery of B.Boxes. This will be used as a way to decrease the operational intensity on account managers, whilst empowering customers to have the flexibility to control their waste based on their needs in real-time.
- Supply chain management system: We will develop APIs that will integrate features of our customer portal (above) into our customer’s current supply chain management systems.
B.Box will serve as a platform agnostic integrator across Australia’s waste management industry. Rather than capitalising on assets, B.Box builds on open source models of innovation and creates value through the coordination of system IP, technology and partners.
- Manage collection & pick-up: Coordinate and manage the logistical partners across the delivery and pick-up operations, ensuring customer requirements are being met.
- Negotiate with regulators: Work with regulators to establish a circulatory system standard and the integration of these into existing policy frameworks.
- Customer on-boarding: Educating customers on waste contamination and supporting them to set up internal processes to integrate the B.Box solution.
- Technology: The development and maintenance of a customer portal development and APIs that fit into current supply chain management software.
- Marketing: Develop demand for this service at a consumer-level through educational and impact-level marketing campaigns.
- Sales: Internal direct sales channel as well as channel and sales management.
- Back office: Back office support across the functions of accounting, administration and customer service.
- Impact tool: An impact tool will be developed to send the customer monthly updates as to the indirect benefit they have created by being part of the B.Box system. This tool will be used to help the customer communicate CSR internally and externally on a tangible level.
- Product IP: The IP ownership of transforming biomass into bio-chardboard to develop valuable bio-materials. Furthermore, the manufacturing of B.Boxes (product development) that fits into logistics infrastructure (logistics partners). This will be developed to control the co-creation of standards.
- Contracts: Exclusivity contracts with logistical providers.
- Standards: The new open-sourced standards that facilitate the various elements in the value chain.
- Human Resources: The people, teams, capabilities and relationships behind B.Box.
As B.Box is operating as an integrator, partnerships are integral across the value chain.
- Transportation partner (logistics): Partnering with logistical providers with the correct resources to transport waste (acting as B.Box’s exclusive partners for the complete system).
- Biochar processing partners: Waste/ treatment facilities across the country (in every major city) to process the waste into bio-chardboard.
- Manufacturing suppliers: A manufacturing partner to construct the B.Box from the bio-chardboard (in every major city).
The B.Box waste solution will be priced to factor in the additional costs, positioning the service as a premium in the market. However, the offering could potentially become cost-free to end users as revenue generated through the sale of bio-chardboard to downstream industries such as packaging manufacturers is likely to offset the cost of manufacturing the B.Box units.
- Bio-chardboard: Wholesale revenue derived from selling bio-chardboard to packaging manufacturers.
- Box waste solution: Potential exists for accessing revenue from sales of both bio-waste and box delivery solution – based on a volume and operating under a subscription model.
- Back office: Wages and salaries across back office activities – marketing, internal sales, operational management and administration.
- Logistics supplier: The cost input from the outsourced logistical supplier.
- Processing supplier: The cost input from the outsourced processing supplier.
- Manufacturing supplier: The cost input from the outsourced manufacturing supplier.
- Technology maintenance: The ongoing maintenance of the customer portals and APIs.
- Sales commissions: Sales commission paid out to distributors and/ or re-sellers of the B.Box system.
While proof of concept has happened in principle, we are working hard to raise the funds and support to:
Engage an environmental scientist to determine the processing requirements of food waste, the unique properties and aspects of biochar, and the development of food waste into bio-chardboard.
Engage an Industrial designer to:
- Develop, design, make and test the first B.Box prototype: structure, limitations, aesthetics
- Determine appropriate manufacturing and production process
- Guide the sheeting making process
- Liaise with the environmental scientist.