Matt Rogers has a habit of examining neglected locations. No one gave their house thermostat a second thought and took its technology for granted before he left Apple in 2010 to create the smart device company Nest Labs.
The smart thermostat from Nest, which enables users to manage their home’s heating through a mobile app, ultimately paved the path for the smart home revolution and altered how consumers see their energy use.
After Nest, Rogers started working on a number of charitable activities, many of which were geared toward tackling climate change.
Along with co-founding Incite.org, he also presided over Carbon180, a non-profit organization dedicated to lowering carbon emissions, from September 2016 to September 2022. He also serves as chair of the Advanced Energy Institute, a research, and education institution.
Through his environmental activities, Rogers noticed how much food is wasted annually. Rogers believed there had to be a better method to stop so much food from being thrown in the trash because more than one-third of food in the United States is wasted and food is the single most common material discovered in landfills.
The existence of waste is something that Rogers said we have a tendency to take for granted. “People need to understand how terrible it is that we put food in the trash and it turns into methane in landfills. It’s incredibly crucial in the fight against climate change.”
That’s how Rogers and Harry Tannenbaum, with whom Rogers collaborated at Nest, developed the concept for Mill, his most recent business, which debuted on Tuesday and is devoted to developing sustainable technologies to help reduce food waste.
Nest cofounder Matt Rogers has a new climate startup that's deceptively simple in its purpose.
“We don’t need to invent nuclear fusion. We don’t need to figure out how to build a low weight aviation fuel. It’s just like, don’t put food in the trash.” https://t.co/R5CLlqfKed
— Tim De Chant (@tdechant) January 17, 2023
Users of the mill put their food waste, including meat and dairy, which are often ineligible for composting, into a new kitchen bin that overnight dehydrates the trash, producing what the business calls food grounds, an odorless substance like coffee grounds.
Its contents can be bundled up and mailed back to Mill once the bin is full, which Rogers says should take around three weeks on average. The company then distributes the grounds to farms after repurposing them as a component of poultry feed.
For the privilege of recycling their food leftovers, the startup charges users a $33 monthly subscription fee. With this technique, he intends to reduce food waste in American households.
We’ve grown somewhat accustomed to the current state of affairs, but Rogers insisted that it needn’t be so. Therefore, when you approach it from a new perspective, you really wind up creating a completely new system.
When working at Nest, Rogers discovered that for individuals to modify their daily routines, technologies must be much simpler to use and offer a better overall user experience. People may easily manage their home environment from their smartphones thanks to Nest.
People can easily dispose of food waste and lessen their carbon impact thanks to Mill. It takes only a few simple steps to stop odorous food scraps from getting in the garbage, and it provides an alternative to composting, which frequently draws fruit flies and needs more upkeep than Mill’s approach.
The bin can dehydrate the trash automatically every night, or users can set the bin to start dehydrating the waste at certain times that work best with their schedules. Another thing Rogers claimed he learned from Nest is that while some individuals prefer to have control over their systems, others prefer them to run automatically.
The mill also has some cutting-edge technology. Users can track their food waste from their phones and see how much they are disposing of using an extra app.
According to Rogers, making consumers aware of their wasteful behavior in the same way that Nest does with their energy use may eventually transform how they shop, allowing them to spend less money at the grocery store on unnecessary purchases of food.
In fact, Rogers observed, “If we start to think about things differently, this is where individual actions may drive systemic change. “That’s a big deal, man.”
Last but not least, Rogers sees Mill as having the potential to go beyond the home kitchen to communities with zero waste aspirations.
We want to have a significant influence, added Rogers. “We aim to create a large company that is good for the environment and for everyone.”