Phoenix farmer hoping to help prevent food waste with new ‘smart’ trash bin

A Phoenix farmer is partnering up with a company to bring the "Mill Bin", which turns food waste into fertilizer, to Arizonans.
Published: Nov. 14, 2023 at 9:24 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - A local farmer is partnering up with Mill Industries LLC., a food-recycling startup, to help prevent food waste in the Valley with a ‘smart’ trash bin.

JD Hill is a local farmer in Phoenix who started a food composting service in 2013. He picks up buckets of food scraps from 3,500 homes and businesses across the Valley every week. He repurposes the scraps as fertilizer on his farm. “This model of food waste collection where household food waste goes back to the farm, where they can then buy produce, is the way to drive success in the local food system,” said Hill.

Starting on Wednesday, Hill will be the first farmer in the country to partner up with Mill Industries, which aims to eliminate carbon emissions resulting from food waste decomposition.

The startup released its Mill bin nationwide this year. A Mill spokesperson said the bin can handle up to 10 lbs. of food at a time. It dehydrates the food and grinds it into a fine powder resembling coffee grounds. It can handle most foods except for big bones.

The plan is for Hill to pick up the food grounds and use them in a couple of different ways. “One, we can put it out for the chickens to lower feed costs and lower the price of eggs for everybody. Two, we could just spread it into the field. It’s gonna act a lot like compost, or we can take the food grounds and actually compost it,” said Hill.

There will be a monthly charge for customers. Hill said it’s a good way for small farms to cover overhead costs such as fertilizer, seed, refrigeration, etc.

“Our number 1 goal is to support local farms, so as this thing grows from 3,500 to 10,000 to 100,000- we’re gonna be able to get a lot more farms and farmers involved,” said Hill.

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