[Do not publish] Waste to Food

Providing alternative solutions to waste disposal with novel composting technologies

2014 SEED South Africa Award; European Union,2014 SEED South Africa Award; Hisense
Waste Management
Cape Town
South Africa

The enterprise generates revenue by recycling food waste and processing it into compost with commercial value. Food waste is collected from retailers and then pre-composted using HotRot in-vessel technology that eliminates pathogens and weeds.

The pre-compost is later converted to high quality compost product using the Worm Hammock earthworm composting system. Earthworm compost can be used as a soil amendment, organic fertiliser and plant pest & disease control.

Combining both composting technologies yields a better quality end product. Microfranchises produce the vermicompost, which is sold to commercial compost producers - who will blend it into a range of growing media - and other clients.

The enterprise’s micro franchise model provides entrepreneurial and economic opportunities for disadvantaged locals. By supporting community gardens and implementing its own organic farming initiatives, the enterprise improves food security for local communities.

Eco-Inclusive Impacts

By combining two composting technologies, Waste to Food creates a higher quality end product, strengthens soil structure, reduce landfill disposals, and reduces water contamination by decreasing the use of chemical fertilisers.

  • Offering entrepreneurial opportunities for franchises and employment at the HotRot processing centre.
  • Improving local food security through the food production initiative.
  • Increasing access to organic farming and gardening products.
  • Supporting community gardens and urban agriculture.
  • Decreasing soil erosion and improving soil structure and fertility.
  • Reducing carbon emissions by diverting waste from landfills.
  • Decreasing long-term contamination of water resources by reducing the input of chemical fertilisers and pesticides.
  • Decreasing plant susceptibility to pests through nutrient-rich vermicompost. 
  • Increasing income from micro-franchises.
  • Improving economic returns for the enterprise on a large scale.
  • Support local community gardening initiatives.




Waste to Food recycles food waste into high quality organic products. Commercial food waste is processed using industrial composting technology, the partially stabilised organics are then converted into high-quality earthworm compost. The earthworm composting component is operated under a franchise model. By offering an alternative to landfill disposal, Waste to Food decreases carbon emissions, builds soil fertility and structure, reduces chemical fertiliser and plant pest & disease control inputs, and increases income generation for local communities.

Waste to Food (Pty) Ltd provides operational capacity and hands-on management of the business, with the support of its other Partners.

The City of Cape Town has provided service infrastructure, and supported business mentoring and the development of the enterprise’s microfranchise model.

Pick n Pay Retailers has supported the establishment of Waste to Food's processing site at the Philippi Fresh Produce Market by supplying organic waste.

Closing the Loop CC is Waste to Food's technology partner.

Mhani Gingi assists with seedling production and support of community food gardens.

Flowfinders International provides business advice and mentoring.