CNBC's Barbara Collins is reporting that Matt Rogers, Google Nest smart thermostat co-founder, is back with a new device for the home, focused on food called Mill.
The article explains that after the acquisition of Nest, Rogers began work on several philanthropic projects, many focusing on climate-related initiatives. In addition to co-founding Incite.org, he served as Chairman of Carbon180, an NGO focused on reducing carbon emissions, until September 2022, and he’s currently chair of Advanced Energy Institute, a research and education organization.
Collins reports that Rogers was deeply impacted by how much food is thrown away each year. The United States wastes more than one-third of food in the United States andRogers felt there had to be a better way to prevent so much food from being thrown in the garbage.
“Waste is one of these areas that we’ve kind of taken for granted but doesn’t have to exist,” Rogers said. “It’s super important in the climate fight, people need to realize how bad it is that we throw food in the trash and it becomes methane in landfills.”
That's when Rogers, with his co-founders, launched Mill on Tuesday - focused on creating sustainable technology to help combat food waste, Collins reports.
The article does a really good job of explaining how Mill works: Mill users put their food waste — including meat and dairy, items that aren’t normally able to be composted — into a new kitchen bin that dehydrates the food overnight, turning it into an odorless, coffee ground-like material the company calls food grounds. Once the bin fills up, its contents can be packaged up and sent back to Mill via mail. The company then repurposes the grounds into an ingredient for chicken feed and sends it to farms.
The article explains further that the start-up has a $33 monthly subscription fee to recycle their food scraps.
“We’ve kind of gotten used to the way things are, but it doesn’t have to be that way,” Rogers said. “So when you come at it with fresh eyes, you actually end up building an entirely new system.”
Mill now makes it easy for people to get rid of food waste and reduce their carbon footprint. It eliminates smelly food scraps going in the trash bin with minimal steps; it offers an alternative to composting, which often attracts fruit flies and requires more maintenance than Mill’s system.
The bin can automatically dehydrate the waste every night, or users can program the bin to begin the dehydration process at times that best fit with their schedules. This is another lesson Rogers said he learned from Nest: while some people like to have their systems operate automatically, others like to have control.
The article expains that Mill also includes some smart technology. An optional app lets users monitor their food waste from their phones and see how much they are putting into their bins. Rogers said making users aware of their waste habits — similar to how Nest makes them aware of their energy consumption habits — may help change purchasing behaviors over time, enabling them to save some money at the grocery store on food they don’t need to buy.
Ultimately, Rogers envisions Mill having the potential to reach beyond the household kitchen, to cities which have zero waste goals.
“We’re in this for large-scale impact,” Rogers said. “We want to build a big business that also is good for the planet, and we want this to be for everyone.”