Christian Kasper wants your garbage.
To be more specific, the new CEO of Waltham-based Harvest Power wants your discarded foods, politely known in the business as organic waste.
Extra lettuce? Put it in one of Harvest’s 22 composting and organic recycling sites. An unwanted burger patty? That could be useful fuel for one of Harvest’s anaerobic digester plants that generates electricity from the methane given off by rotting food.
Studies have estimated that anywhere from 33 percent to 40 percent of the food produced in the US and around the world ends up wasted.
Kasper, the former Harvest CFO was just promoted to the chief executive’s job after Kathleen Ligocki left to run Agility Fuel Systems in California. He sees the new job – it’s his first as CEO — as just a natural continuation of his old one.
The nearly 450-person company essentially has three lines of businesses: organics recycling and composting, bagged soil and mulch manufacturing, and running power plants fed primarily by food waste.
Harvest also just landed $20 million in funding from its primary investors: Chicago-based True North Venture Partners, Industry Ventures of San Francisco, and London’s Generation Investment Management. Kasper plans to use that money to grow the business, in part by building new facilities. Those might include the company’s first anaerobic digester in its home state — a project in Bourne that could take up to two years to complete.
Kasper hopes Harvest can capitalize on a new food recycling requirement in Massachusetts for major restaurants, hospitals, and supermarkets. Right now, those businesses don’t have a wide array of options available to them.
“Food waste is the last major frontier right now,” Kasper says. “Policy makers want to drive businesses to recycle but at the same time, if the infrastructure isn’t there, they can’t force that to happen overnight.”Jon Chesto can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @jonchesto.