In the U.S. alone, food waste is responsible for the equivalent emissions from 42 coal power plants. Globally it accounts for 10% of greenhouse gases, more than heavy industries like cement and steel.

Why? Wasted food means wasted energy. Throwing a piece of food in the trash is like tossing out the fertilizer and fuel used to make it, too. And we waste a lot of it. Nearly one third of all food grown gets trashed. On top of that, when food decomposes in landfills through anaerobic digestion, it releases methane, a potent greenhouse gas.

So how do we clean up food waste?

In this episode, Shayle talks to Matt Rogers, founder and CEO of Mill. Matt founded Nest, the smart thermostat company, and has now turned his attention to food.

Disclosure: Shayle’s venture capital firm Energy Impact Partners is an investor in Mill. 

Matt and Shayle cover topics like:

  • Where food waste occurs along the value chain (hint: The biggest source of waste is us, when we toss food we’ve already purchased.)
  • The causes of emissions, from energy inputs to anaerobic digestion in landfills
  • The current solutions to food waste, such as composting, green bin programs, supply chain management software and shelf-life extension.
  • The challenges with landfills, including trucking waste and landfill capacity.
  • Mill’s new consumer-focused food waste technology, which includes shipping dehydrated food scraps in the mail.
  • How much consumers care about food waste and carbon emissions.

Recommended Resources:

  • ReFED: Drawdown Update Affirms Reducing Food Waste as a Leading Solution to Climate Change
  • ReFED: Roadmap to 2030: Reducing US Food Waste by 50%
  • Canary: Eating the Earth | Decarbonizing our food systems
  • Climavores: Today’s food crisis is a postcard from our warming future
  • EPA: From Farm to Kitchen: The Environmental Impacts of U.S. Food Waste

Full Transcript:

Shayle Kann  00:02

From the studios of Post Script Media and Canary Media, I’m Shayle Kann, and this is Catalyst.

Matt Rogers  00:13

You do have biogenic CO2 emissions from composting. But again, it’s much better than sending things to landfill. But the best thing to do with food actually is to keep it as food.

Shayle Kann  00:22

To me there’s nothing better than a sneaky tagline from a stealthy startup. So here’s what Matt Roger’s LinkedIn has said for the past two years about his new company: “Whatever you heard about us, it’s all garbage.” I’ll just leave it at that. I’m Shayle Kahn. I’m a partner at the venture capital firm Energy Impact Partners. Welcome. So what is the most successful consumer climate product in recent history? There aren’t that many to choose from, to be honest, which is too bad. I would say it’s roughly a tie at the moment between the Tesla Model 3 and the Nest thermostat, probably the edge to the Nest thermostat. But both have objectively been big successes from a consumer adoption standpoint. But try to name 10 instead of two. And I bet you will struggle, or at least I do. Which makes it all the more interesting when the founder of one of those two, Nest in this case, takes on a new category in consumer climate tech. Matt Rogers was the co-founder of nest and is just now out of stealth on his new venture, which is called Mill, along with his co-founder Harry Tenenbaum, who also came from Nest. Like Nest, Mill is tackling a generally unloved category, in this case, food waste, and building a delightful consumer experience around it. That’s probably where the comparisons should end. Because food waste is its own fascinating, complicated, surprisingly big problem from a climate perspective. Full disclosure, we at EIP are investors in Mill and I am soon to be a customer. But anyway, I wanted to talk to Matt about Mill but more importantly about the rotting, methane-producing problem in all of our homes that he is attacking. Here’s Matt. Matt, welcome to Catalyst.

Matt Rogers  02:13

Oh, it’s great to be here.

Shayle Kann  02:14

Very excited to have you and to talk about food waste. So let’s start with why is food waste a problem? How much of it do we produce? And why is it a bad thing?

Matt Rogers  02:25

Well, at the top level, we throw out about a third of the food we grow. Just from like a moral and ethical perspective. It’s atrocious. And just think about the amount of wasted calories and mouths we could feed it with that. But also, it’s one of the biggest climate problems, in that food waste is like 10% of emissions. So if you write it by country, it’d be like China, United States, food waste, India. That’s, that’s pretty crazy.

Shayle Kann  02:50

And where in the process of from the farm to after we eat do we throw all that food out? Are you saying we throw out half the food in our homes and our restaurants and all that kind of stuff? Or is it just like all along this value chain there’s waste?

Matt Rogers  03:06

Yeah, so there’s waste all along the value chain. But actually, but if you look at where the food we throw out comes from, about half of that comes from our houses from our kitchen tables. And then there’s an even spread of restaurants, food service, the farms themselves. But actually farms, grocery stores are actually in the business of not wasting food. That’s their bottom line. So really, the bulk of food waste is us, which is, you know, again, astonishing. And if you think about those split-second decisions, when you’re sitting in your kitchen, prepping dinner for your family, it’s a lot of work to have to think about separating out your food waste, or do you have a compost bin on your countertop. The easiest thing to do is throw it away. And that’s what we have the problem.

Shayle Kann  03:52

And so it’s obviously a problem from the perspective of productivity. It’s a problem from the perspective of we’re gonna bring a bunch of stuff to a landfill, probably. Let’s talk about why it is an emissions problem. And you said how big an emissions problem it is. But I don’t think everybody understands why food waste creates so much greenhouse gas emissions.

Matt Rogers  04:11

Yeah, this is actually a little counterintuitive. You think, oh, I threw it away, this food is gonna go to a landfill, it’s gonna degrade. And you know, that’s gonna be great, right? But, it turns out that’s bad degradation. That’s anaerobic digestion. So when the food waste goes to the landfill, there’s no oxygen in the landfill, because it’s sealed, things are all piled on top, that releases methane. And some percentage of that methane gets captured at some landfills, and turns into renewable natural gas, but most does not. And leaks into the atmosphere and methane is 80 times worse than CO2 over a 20-year period. So in this area of high urgency around climate change, this is where we actually need to cut methane emissions first.

Shayle Kann  04:51

One thing that I’ve learned in learning about mill that is just an area I had never spend time understanding better is what happens to end of use food today? When I throw a banana peel in the trash at home, what happens from there typically?

Matt Rogers  05:07

So it gets collected by a usually diesel-powered garbage truck, gets sent to a transfer station and then gets dumped in the landfill. And there are actually costs associated with each of these steps, too. There’s a cost associated with driving those trucks and that transportation. And there’s a cost associated with tipping it in the landfill. And it’s actually very expensive. It’s one of the more expensive areas in any given municipality’s budget. And, but today, it’s the best solution that we have at scale. And part of coming at this problem with fresh eyes is there could be a new solution, a little bit more tech-enabled solution that’s better for people at home, that’s also better for municipalities at scale.

Shayle Kann  05:53

And then you mentioned what happens sometimes in landfills, right? Some landfills capture the methane that’s being produced there and turn it into something. They turned into power in some cases and other cases into biogas or renewable natural gas, things like that. Aside from that, though, where are we in terms of the world of landfills? Let’s just focus on us like, do we have abundant landfill capacity that we can keep filling up? Are we running out of space? What does that look like?

Matt Rogers  06:21

Landfill real estate is actually really hard to permit. So an area of kind of national concern is as we start to fill up these landfills, what do you do? And I think about like in the New York City metropolitan area is a good example. When the Staten Island landfill got filled and closed and turned into a park, which is pretty cool., they’re now trucking waste, like 100 miles away. And think that like in the Seattle area, I think Seattle is putting their trash on trains all the way down to Oregon, which is just crazy. So the landfill real estate is a big deal. It’s also really hard to create new ones. No one wants a landfill in their backyard. It’s a huge environmental justice concern. And generally, landfills are placed in communities where, frankly, people are most impacted. And as Mill looks to the future, how can we send fewer and fewer things to landfill? And maybe eventually can we send nothing to landfill?

Shayle Kann  07:17

So landfill particularly bad? Because food waste goes to landfill turns into methane. Methane sucks. Everybody who’s listening to this podcast knows methane particularly sucks. What about compost? Lots of folks though, I would suspect you probably know these numbers. It’s still a fairly small minority of the population that that compost, but if you do compost, what does that do?

Matt Rogers  07:41

So composting returns the nutrients to the soil. So the output of composting is a soil amendment. Actually in the process of composting does create emissions to composting is really good. It’s a circular solution. Composting is really good for like things like yard waste or agricultural waste things that are really bulky. Composting is really not great for food waste. Food waste is kind of gloopy. It’s a technical term. And large scale composters actually have a lot of trouble with food waste, especially because a lot of contamination, too. The best thing you can do with food is to feed it to someone. And if you can’t feed it to someone, you should feed it to an animal. You should keep it in the food system. And that was the big aha moment for us at Mill is that we could keep food in the food system in this new circular way.

Shayle Kann  08:30

Let’s talk about the emissions tradeoffs in a little bit more detail. I think you’ve outlined why sending food waste to a landfill is especially bad. How does that weigh against composting either if I’m doing composting myself or a composting service, how does it weigh against for example – I live in Berkeley, California, we have municipal green bin program where we put all our organic waste. How do we think about all those things from an emissions perspective specifically?

Matt Rogers  09:02

Right. So first, I think only about 5% of households have access to a green bin program. So they’re actually pretty rare. From an emissions perspective composting is much better than landfill because you avoid those methane emissions from the landfill. You do have biogenic CO2 emissions from composting. But again, it’s much better than sending things to landfill. But the best thing to do with food actually is to keep it as food and avoid having to grow more crops and more food to basically to replace itself. So if you think about like the composting process, you’re effectively feeding those calories and nutrients to microbes. And then those microbes then create byproducts that then feed the soil which then feed more plants. The best thing to do with food waste is actually to feed it to someone. And we can’t always feed it to a person, but the next best thing would be to feed it to an animal. So you could avoid all of the emissions and grow more crops to feed those animals. Something like 1/3 of the arable land on Earth is just to create food for livestock. It’s an insane amount of land and energy and water just to feed the animals that feed us. So the best thing to do with our food waste, actually would be to feed those animals. And that’s exactly what Mill is doing.

Shayle Kann  10:19

So you have uniquely valuable experience building consumer products that scale in areas that people don’t already think about a whole lot, Nest being the obvious example here. How do you think about food waste in this context? Do you think that the average American homeowner, whoever you think of as your core persona for mainstream adoption of Mill, which we will talk more about a little later, but do you think people are already thinking about the problem of food waste? Do they view it as a problem today? Or do you need to introduce something that gets them to see that it’s a problem?

Matt Rogers  10:56

Actually, this is the quintessential problem that it’d be great to have kind of a crack team of consumer people working on. Only about a quarter of US adults think food waste has a big impact on climate change. People are really not even aware of the problem. Again, the average American thinks when you throw the banana peel in the trash can, that it just it’s going to go away, and it’s going to degrade.

Shayle Kann  11:16

And that’s biodegrade, right?

Matt Rogers  11:17

It’s going to biodegrade, it’s really no big deal. But it turns out, it has a huge impact. And even people who are very climate concerned, you know, people are trying to reduce their food waste. But people still think that when you throw the food in the trash, everything is fine. So in part of us at Mill coming at this problem is, there’s a major portion of consumer awareness that we have to do. And much like we did when we started Nest, you know, people didn’t realize how important their home’s heating and cooling was towards their energy footprint, their climate impacts, etc. And the way we approach it at Nest is if we make it really easy, we make it the easiest thing, you can get people on this right path. And we’re looking at this the same way. So today, the easiest thing to do in your kitchen is to throw things in the trash or down the sink. And there isn’t an easier, better way. So what Mill is building is the easiest, most practical way of getting your food back to the farm to keep it in the food system.

Shayle Kann  12:20

Is the premise that with consumer awareness here, that climate would be a significant motivator? I’m always curious about this, like, do we think people will act based on concern for… people at scale, obviously, there’s some people who will …but for mainstream adoption, will they act based on let’s just say you could snap your fingers and that consumer awareness went from 25% to 100%. Everybody knew that food waste was a big climate problem, not just a landfill capacity general environmental problem. Would you think that that would spark behavior change, or is climate not enough of a behavior motivator?

Matt Rogers  12:59

At the end of the day people are busy, and I have two little kids at home, we have a super busy household. And if there’s not an easy thing to do, we’re going to throw the food in the garbage. Especially when the kids drop, like the pizza on the floor. And you know what I’m talking about, like there’s the food you can’t eat. And the easiest thing to do today is to throw it away and say there just isn’t a better way to do it. And a way that’s frictionless, and that’s just incredibly practical. And that’s why Mill built this new solution. It just today, there’s isn’t an easier way. And when I think about achieving kind of mainstream and being everywhere. The way you do that is you make a new daily ritual, you make a new habit, and you make that habit, just so frictionless. That’s what we did Apple with the iPhone. It’s what we did at Nest, just make it the easiest product to use, and you just turn the dial and you look for the leaf, and you save energy. With Mill, with our new solution, it’s easier than throwing things in the garbage.

Shayle Kann  14:05

So that’s, that’s a good teaser to Mill, which we are going to talk about in a minute. But first, I do think we should talk about because the premise here is food waste is a big climate problem. Now one solution is do something better with that food waste, which is what Mill is doing. But before we get to that, you know, there are a bunch of solutions to try to create less food waste in the first place. And I’m sure as you started digging in on this problem set, you looked at a lot of this stuff as well. So for example, shelf life extension, how do we make produce last longer so it doesn’t go rotten or we don’t throw it out? You know, what do you think of as in this broad category of “how do we create less food waste?” what do you think of as being the promising solutions there?

Matt Rogers  14:51

I’m super excited about some of the new technology around Supply Chain Management and helping restaurants order the right amount of produce that they’re going to sell, and helping restaurants become more efficient, same with grocery stores. There’re some really good new software solutions there. There are great companies looking at new coatings like Apeel that are going to extend the shelf life of produce. This is awesome. Again, getting back to the problem, about half of food waste is from our kitchens. So, you know, we could go in, we could help restaurants and we could help grocery stores. And we should do all those things in the traditional, like, “how do we solve climate change, we have to do everything fashion,” we need to do everything. But we have to get to the root of the problem, which is, today, the easiest thing to do in your kitchen is to throw things in the garbage,

Shayle Kann  15:40

Right. At the end of the day, you could do everything else that you want, and your kids are still going to throw pizza on the ground.

Matt Rogers  15:45

We’ve tried, we’ve tried everything. And we’ve even tried giving them smaller portions, and then they ask for more, and they throw that food on the floor. And it’s unavoidable. We’re going to create food waste, then what are we going to do with it?

Shayle Kann  15:58

I will say I have a son who’s about to turn 11 months old, and he has just discovered throwing food on the ground, like as a fun thing to do. Forget that he doesn’t want the food. He’s just like, oh, this is neat. And one, I’m throwing a lot more food out. But two, I will say there is an alternative. I would say the biggest competition to Mill in that specific context of the baby throwing food on the ground is our dog who is a great solution to that problem, generally speaking. Not that I don’t still have a ton of food waste that I need to do something with.

Matt Rogers  16:29

Same for us. The dog does a great job. And I think every family, every kid growing up, everyone’s mom or grandma used to tell them to clean their plate. Like we’re all trying to be in the clean plate club. No one likes throwing out food. It doesn’t feel good. So I think there’s also an angle: can we actually create new solutions that are easy, that also feel good?

Shayle Kann  16:55

Okay, so let’s get there. Let’s talk about Mill. You’ve said it is frictionless, you said it’s easier than throwing something out? So start with how did you how did you come to the solution you came to. So once you decided, okay, food waste is a big problem. This is an area we could innovate on a consumer product that is going to be frictionless and is going to be delightful, and is going to solve all these problems, what were your criteria that you came in with and then describe the ultimate solution.

Matt Rogers  17:26

So we’ve been working on this for about two years now. We’ve got a team of about 100. And they’re some of the best folks that I’ve worked with throughout my career at Apple or Nest. But also a pretty large contingency of folks from the Uber and Lyft distributed infrastructure and logistics DNA. And a lot of folks who have worked in public policy or the regulatory space, or actually a few have even worked in waste management. So it’s a pretty diverse team of folks with a lot of different skill sets. And when we approached the solution, we looked at how can we eliminate friction at every step? How can we make it the easiest thing? And also, how can we make it delightful? How can we make it something that’s fun that your kids will want to get involved in? And how can this be something that can really achieve scale?

Shayle Kann  18:18

So let’s talk through what the consumer experience is of Mill, like what are you doing what actually happens? So I’m a homeowner, I’ve got lots of food waste, a growing amount of food waste, as I described a minute ago. How do I get a Mill and what happens when I install it?

Matt Rogers  18:34

So the Mill membership is composed of three main parts. One is a new kind of bin for your kitchen, which is beautiful, and easy to use. Think if the team and Apple or the team at NASA designed kitchen bin. So with this bin does is it dries, shrinks and de-stinks all the food that you don’t eat. And what’s great about this process is it makes it really small. So you think about like, you fill up this bin every day with your scraps or the food that your kids throw on the floor. And you wake up the next morning, and it’s effectively empty. And there’s this kind of little bit of coffee grounds at the bottom. We call it food grounds. It’s basically just dried food. It’s not gross, and it doesn’t go bad. It’s shelf stable. What’s cool about that is one it says it doesn’t smell, but two, but by being small and not gross, it means it’s easier to collect and get it back to farm. So the next part of our system is a pathway to send the food back to farms. And we do that through the mail. Because this is small and preserved and not gross. Once a month or twice a month, you pour it in a box, you put it on your front porch and your mailroom, and the mail carrier will come in and collect it and send it back to us so that we can process it and get it back to the farm to feed animals. And the third part is just a better experience for your kitchen. No smells, no gross bins, and frankly having to take out the trash less often.

Shayle Kann  19:55

Yeah, that last one actually. I mean, speaking for myself again, that last one is meaningful for me. Taking out the trash is annoying. And we have to do it more frequently because we’re producing more crap because of this baby. And just not having to take that out as often would be very helpful. So but let’s finish the loop. So the food grounds get sent via the mail back to Mill, what do you do with it? Is it immediately food-grade for animals oor livestock, or do you have to do something to upcycle it to turn it from the little bits of petrified food from my house into something that a that a chicken can eat, for example.

Matt Rogers  20:35

It’s actually pretty close. So the bin in your kitchen does a lot of the early processing. And part of our innovation is really taking distributed infrastructure to its next point where we’re building infrastructure in everyone’s kitchen, as opposed to having to centralize it. So the bin in your kitchen not just makes a better experience for your kitchen and not smelly, but also dehydrates it, makes it small, does a first level pasteurization. We then collect it, and we filter it, we take out any metals or plastic that people may have put in by accident. And we actually will send them feedback via our app. On Hey, like we saw we had some contaminants from your batch. We filter it, we capture all of the kind of the most nutritious bits, which which are the small particles. And we then pasteurize it one more time, we fill it in sacks, and we send it to farms to feed chickens.

Shayle Kann  21:31

Does it matter what kind of food I mean? Obviously, we’re talking about organic waste. But it you know, what is the easiest to process what’s the hardest to process? If I’m a household that eats a ton of pizza, is that going to make my food waste different from another household that eats healthier than mine? Or is all organic food waste pretty similar in this context?

Matt Rogers  21:53

So you could put all food in the bin, everything including meat and dairy, chicken bones and fishbones, avocado pits, things that are really hard to break down. Because we’re going to grind it up and dry it out. From like a processing perspective, we’re going to mix it all together. So if you’re a household that only eats pizza, we’re going to blend your pizza with everybody else’s food to make a more uniform blend to feed the chickens. So we’re kind of building an average American diet blend to feed chickens. We’ve actually ended up being quite nutritious.

Shayle Kann  22:29

You mentioned before that a big part of what you think you need to do is is consumer adoption, or sorry, consumer awareness building. Talk about how you’re going to bring this to market and what it’s going to take to get consumers to adopt. Is the first step consumer awareness of food waste as a problem, or do you think intuitively, consumers will appreciate even if not the climate impact, they’ll appreciate the taking the bin out less frequently, and the beautiful consumer product and all the other things you described?

Matt Rogers  22:58

That’s exactly right. It’s actually multi part. One is: better kitchen. So less stinky food waste, no smells, no drippy bags, no fruit flies, no rats. That’s one part. Then there’s the convenience of having to take out the trash once or twice a month as opposed to every day. That’s it, that’s a big part. And the third is like the emotional part of feeling good that your food waste is going to higher and better use now. And we don’t want people to throw out food because they’re going to feed the chickens. The better thing to do it not to be to throw the food out. But for the food that we can’t or don’t eat, you could feel better that it’s going to a really good use and feeding animals to stay in the food system. So the way we go to market is actually multi-pronged. One is direct to consumer. People go to, they sign up for a membership, they get the bin, they get the send-back experience, they get a better kitchen. That’s one path. The other path is through their employer, through their city, through their apartment complex. And we’re working with a bunch of different cities and companies to provide the Mill membership to people at scale.

Shayle Kann  24:15

So I wanted to ask you actually about the role of cities. Obviously, this is their primary function. This is primarily their function. It’s not their primary function, but it’s primarily their function today. They come collect my trash. What do you think the role in a in a world where mill is really successful? what is the role of cities here? Is this you taking over a portion of their responsibilities of refuse collection? Should this ultimately be something that cities primarily distribute? Do they have a you know, centralization function? Do you always want Mill to be where the food waste gets sent to? Or would you at some point send it to a city processing facility. Like what’s the role of the city?

Matt Rogers  24:57

So we think cities are great partners and there are lots of different flavors of what different waste services exist in various cities. So some cities have a more centralized municipal model like in the energy space thing like Austin Energy where it’s municipally owned and run. Like Tacoma, Washington is kind of in that flavor, where the city runs their own waste. And some cities have a hybrid private-public model, and some are completely privatized. So there’s a lot of different models there. I think, as we grow, we would like to partner with cities. We’ve got about a dozen pilots in work right now, where we’re going to be deploying our memberships in partnership with cities to their residents to help them achieve their zero-waste goals, or their food-diversion goals or their climate goals. Again, food waste is one of the biggest parts of a city’s carbon footprint. It’s one of the biggest parts of their Zero Waste Plan. And even in a city that’s doing everything right today, like Seattle-Tacoma area, as an example, they have a green bin program, which people still don’t use. Because in your kitchen, the easiest thing to do is throw it in the trash.

Shayle Kann  26:08

What have you as the biggest challenge to adoption here from a consumer standpoint? Like what do you have to overcome that’s going to be the hardest?

Matt Rogers  26:15

I think the biggest challenge, I mean, going back to what we talked about earlier, is people have no idea this is bad. They think you throw the banana peel in the trashcan, it goes away. It biodegrades, no big deal. And it’s much worse than you think. And it’s going to take us a lot, it’s going to take a lot of years, it’s going to take a lot of work for us to get that word out for people even to be aware that it’s a problem. But everyone knows today that it’s gross. And that throwing food out is bad. They just don’t know how bad it is. So I think for us going to market, especially these first years, we’re really going to be talking a lot about a better kitchen experience, less gross, stinky trash, no fruit flies, no rats, that kind of thing.

Shayle Kann  26:57

Let’s talk about cost for a minute. You know, I think the cost of trash collection is one of those like utility bill costs that you know, people think about, but they probably don’t think about that much because they don’t have as much control over it as they do over, for example, their power bill, but they are paying for it. People will also be paying for Mill similarly, how do you think about cost in terms of comparative, but also like, what will people bear? You know, how do you think about what can you charge for this better experience of throwing out food waste.

Matt Rogers  27:32

So the middle membership is going to cost about $1 a day, which you know, is like another kind of Netflix or YouTube subscription. I think, especially for our early customers who are feeling the pain of throwing out food waste, or may have tried composting, the past, like they’re going to be keen to try something new. But for a city actually, it’s really expensive. And it’s one of the biggest items on a municipal budget, and it’s either on your property taxes, or you’re paying every month. It’s like another cell phone bill, frankly, for a household. And I think for us in San Francisco, and for a lot of the country, we have these things called Pay-as-you-throw schemes, which means you pay per month based on the size of the trash cart at the curb. I think our family has a 96-gallon bin, and it’s like 70 bucks a month. So what’s cool is with mill, we could downsize our trash bin to maybe a 32 gallon bin and save 20 or $30 a month and get the Mill membership for almost nothing. So by pulling the food waste out of the trash stream, individuals could save money, but also cities will save money.

Shayle Kann  28:39

Let’s talk about logistics for a minute. It’s interesting that you are taking the food waste and sending it back to mill or you’re having customers rather send it back to mail through the mail through USPS. I know that you thought a lot about that and thought about various alternatives, including running your own trucks around. There’s also something that we’ve seen in other things like the sort of new grocery delivery services and things like that. There’s a bunch of these a bunch of different companies that are offering consumer products where something needs to get sent back. How did you land on the mail, as opposed to doing it yourself or some outsource method.

Matt Rogers  29:19

We thought a lot about this both from a financial perspective, from an operational perspective, but also from an environmental and emissions perspective. And what’s cool, this is how we landed at using the mail, is the mail carrier comes to your house every day anyway. They come back to your house every day they drop off the mail, they drop off packages and they go back mostly empty. Now those trucks drive back to the depot every day, and those trucks are usually empty. So we were able to just you know we had number discussions with various folks at the post office and they were pretty eager to do it and by by being not gross, you know by being dry by being shelf stable, it makes it a lot easier to transport. And we’re not talking about a garbage truck load of food waste, we’re talking about a shoebox per household per month. So it’s really not a lot of stuff. And it doesn’t smell, it doesn’t go bad. So it doesn’t need to get there urgently. So when food waste is collected today, you’ve got to pick it up really fast, because it degrades and it starts to rot. Our stuff doesn’t rot. It’s shelf stable. So we could go through a slower path, like through the mail. It could take lots of steps, it could take a week or two to get back to us, it could take a month to get back to us. And that’s okay. We want to go with the least expensive path that also is the least amount of emissions. And what’s cool about the mail again, those trucks go back empty. So it doesn’t actually add too much from an emissions factor.

Shayle Kann  30:47

All right, what are the launch geographies? Where can where can folks get a Mill today? And what’s the plan for global domination?

Matt Rogers  30:55

So everywhere in the US. So what’s great about the mail is the mail comes everywhere. So you go to, you could sign up and we’ll be launched year one we’re launching nationwide. So anywhere you live in the continental US, you could sign up. And eventually I think global domination is inevitable, but we’re going to start here. We’re going to prove the model end to end. We’re going to delight customers. We’re going to build a great business, and we’re going to scale.

Shayle Kann  31:23

Alright, Matt, thank you so much for doing this. Excited to finally get my Mill in the mail.

Matt Rogers  31:28

It’s a pleasure. Thanks again for having me on.

Shayle Kann  31:31

Matt Rogers is the CEO and co founder of Mill. What questions do you have for us on the show? If you want me to cover a topic, now’s the perfect time We’re actually hosting our second “Ask Me Anything” episode where I answer or try to answer or pretend to answer all of your questions big and small about climate tech in the energy transition. If you want to send in a question, or a thought that I should react to, just tag us on Twitter or on LinkedIn with the hashtag askcatalyst that’s hashtag askcatalyst. You can also send us a voice memo or an email with your questions at And if you’d like to show today, as always, go over to Spotify or Apple podcasts and leave us a rating and review.  This show is co-production of Post Script Media and Canary Media. You can head over to for links to today’s topics and the show notes. And as always, Post Script is supported by Prelude Ventures, a venture capital firm that partners with entrepreneurs to address climate change across a range of sectors, including advanced energy, food and ag, transportation and logistics, advanced materials, manufacturing and advanced computing. This episode was produced by Daniel Woldorff mixing by Roy Campanella and Sean Marquand, theme song by Sean Marquand. I’m Shayle Khan, and this is Catalyst.

Catalyst is a co-production of Post Script Media and Canary Media.

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