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Do you always finish the food on your plate? It turns out, many people didn’t. Moreover, most F&B retailers have leftover foods on a daily basis.

When you throw your leftover rice into the bin, it does not disappear there. In Malaysia, it will most likely end up in a landfill, emitting methane, a potent greenhouse gas (GHG), while it decomposes.

The food waste problem is always severe in Malaysia. According to a 2012 study by the National Solid Waste Management Department, approximately 31% to 45% of the total volume of waste generated daily in the country is food waste.

A better solution for food waste — other than preventing it from happening in the first place — is to compost it, turning the waste material into a valuable medium for agriculture. The team of MAEKO has made this their mission since 2011.

Maeko sells food waste composting machines for commercial facilities that turn food and organic waste into compost within 24 hours.

However, many potential clients hesitate. This is because while more businesses and organizations are recognizing the value of composting their food waste, they are still concerned about the cost of doing so. For them, it is cheaper to just dump the waste in the nearest bin, so that it eventually ends up in a landfill.

“They have not prepared a budget for it because it’s something new to them. That was the challenge when we started the company. They didn’t know there was such a thing in the market,” says Mae Ooi, the Sales Director of MAEKO.

In 2019, MAEKO decided that the solution was to launch a rental model, so their clients merely have to pay a fee every month instead of forking out a huge initial investment. The fees start at less than RM100 per month and cover the maintenance of the machines.

Adding to that, the composters will become “smart” with the use of Internet-of-Things (IoT) technologies. This is important because MAEKO needs to monitor the condition of the composters remotely to provide servicing, as and when needed.

“This controlling system will enhance the efficiency of the machine and make it easier to maintain because we will know exactly when it needs to serviced and where the wear and tear happened,” Mae shared.

The IoT sensors measure factors like temperature and humidity, which the Maeko team can monitor from an app and desktop. They are able to tweak the settings remotely as well.

An added benefit from fitting the composters with IoT technology is data analysis. Maeko and its clients can understand exactly how the composters are used, how much waste is generated, and how efficient they are. For example, they can know exactly how much organic waste they put in and how many times they opened the machine.

Besides, artificial intelligence-powered cameras enable Maeko to recognize the items that are thrown away. “For instance, the system can ask, ‘Why are you throwing so many tomatoes away?’”

All this information is vital as it can help them create more targeted solutions for specific industries and also partner with relevant ministries to cut down on food waste in the country.

Currently, most of Maeko’s clients are commercial companies and include malls like Sunway Pyramid, hotels, restaurants, and universities. At the same time, the company is developing its Home Composting System following a successful equity crowdfunding campaign on Ata Plus.

Hopefully, by introducing their Food Waste Composting System to more organizations and individuals, the ‘less wasteful more useful’ motto can be achieved.

MAEKO has joined ZOM-IN.com to collaborate in efforts to empower aspiring youths. Join us now at www.zom-in.com to participate in exciting events coming soon!


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