By Lesly Vera (ELP 2019) | Sustainable Palm Programme Manager Peru en Solidaridad Network/Gender Task Force REC South America
For the last decade there is a new keyword associated with Peru as an international tourism hotspot. While it is true that Machu Picchu and the Amazonia are still main destinations, Peru has become one of the epicenters of gastronomic travel. The variety of flavors, many unique among South American countries, offer a taste experience that draws foodies from all over the world.
The city of Lima, the gateway to the country, is at the forefront of the new food movement and now has been an explosion in food tours, cookery classes, and high-end restaurants around the country. Currently, the number of formal restaurants in Peru amounts to 60,000, where Lima concentrates 41% with 25,000 establishments.
Food waste is a worldwide concern and the circular economy focus is being implemented to improve the modern food system to fight food waste. This concept implies that waste does not exist but instead is used as valuable feedstock for the next stage in the cycle. In 2011, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation outlined the principles that could underpin a more circular and effective food system in Towards a Circular Economy vol. 2. The theory was then applied in a variety of different economic contexts and integrated into regional and national policies such as Europe (2015), India (2016), and most recently in Chinese cities.
Considering a restaurant generates between 40 and 400 kg of waste per day, most of it food waste, the promotion of circular economy in the food service sector is an essential part to its transformation towards resiliency.
Sinba, a Peruvian start-up, is already working with an innovative proposal to address this involving food service--such as restaurants, local retailers, and caterers—their staff, and recyclers, and creating new business models.
The Sinba cycle consists of four phases:
1) Gastronomy Without Garbage: They advise restaurants, caterers, and other food services to implement better practices in the management of organic waste. After this work they are awarded a certificate of good practices.
2) Alliance with Recyclers: In this phase, organic waste is collected, transported, and delivered so that it can be subsequently processed and recycled.
3) Biofactory: Sinba transforms organic waste into animal feed through a biotechnological process that sterilizes the product.
4) Certified Farms: They commercialize the food to urban pig farmers, and advise them on how to achieve a quality certification
Scaling up implies the involvement of the government. The ‘Sinbasura Zero Waste Certification’ was launched in 2018, as part of the Ministry of the Environment’s ‘Clean Peru’ program, compiling 23 simple certification criteria that can be applied to any kind of business.
After two years, Sinba already has 20 certified companies–mostly restaurants–under the program, and has managed about 840 Tn of organic waste per year, which is equivalent to 36,000 planted trees. The Biofactory currently has the capacity to process 7 tons of organic waste daily and is planning to get to 15 tons per day by the end of 2019.
Last June 2019, Innovate4Climate (I4C) organized for the first time a Pitch Hub Competition to highlight solutions with potential for transformative impact and facilitate matchmaking between investors and investment opportunities. The 2019 topic focused on innovative climate-smart solutions supporting cities in reducing their emissions and/or increasing their resilience to climate impacts. Sinba won the 1st prize selected from 209 submissions across 81 countries.
See the introduction to the competition 2019 edition with Sinba participation as a finalist here.
Fig 1. Sinba Cycle
Fig 2. Food Service Allies in Peru