The Guandú Institute was created in 2014 by Fernanda Danelon, 43 years old. This organization works by recycling restaurant waste and providing advice to their owners so that with the compost they create gardens to produce food.
At 50 kilometers from the Brazilian city of São Paulo, there are recycling plants where organic waste is transformed into fertilizer and then returned to the orchards. "We started two years ago with one and now we have 17 restaurants that are our partners. And there are about 10 more in talks," Danelon said.
While at first the goal was simply to create the gardens to supply the restaurant kitchens, they soon realized that the entire process demanded much more. "We grew and today we recycle between 30 and 40 tons of organic waste per month," he said. He also explained that they do not use any type of "accelerator" for the process such as enzymes or worms, but they carry out a "traditional composting technique". It consists of systematically mixing the earth to oxygenate it. The process takes between three and four months.
The need for recycling
According to the Brazilian Association of Public Cleaning Companies (Abrelpe) in the country more than 70 million tons of waste are generated annually. More than half represent organic waste that can be recycled. In 2012, a new National Solid Waste Plan began to be implemented, which established that by 2014 informal landfills should disappear and begin to reuse organic waste. However, currently only 3% of them are recycled. It is in this scenario where the work of the Guandú Institute becomes more relevant.
"Brazil is the main consumer of pesticides in the world, with an average of 5 kilograms per year per inhabitant," the Argentine journalist living in São Paulo Gerardo Gamarra told RT. Based on this data, he explained that "any undertaking that contributes to the development of new forms of consumption both in homes and in gastronomic circuits represents new challenges that society must take as its own."
He also highlighted that initiatives such as Danelon's "represent an impulse that contributes to sustainability and innovation by using the reduced spaces found in large cities like São Paulo." At the same time, he stressed the importance of "being able to put them in function of the development of better food and better use and management of the overwhelming amount of waste that is generated."
Restaurants see opportunity
Ana Soares, from the Mesa III rotisserie, explains that they joined this project "so beautiful" because "you have to develop a new look." For the gastronomic entrepreneur, it is necessary to become aware "as a society" of the amount of garbage that is produced and "we will see that it is outrageous".
"This is not enough here to supply everything we need in the restaurant, but the important thing is that it is understood that it is part of a process," Julien Mercier, chef at Le Bilboquet, analyzed in turn. Mercier added: "This grows here, but we can also say that we recycle a ton and a half of organic waste every month."