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The French startup Les Alchimistes is turning organic waste into compost.

The French startup Les Alchimistes is turning organic waste into compost. ​ Since 2016 the company — which ​ carries out collections by e-bike, electric vehicle and horses — has collected and composted biomass like expired food and garden waste from customers including restaurants, supermarkets, schools, hospitals, florists and private households. After launching in Paris, it now operates in 12 cities. At Les Alchimistes’ hubs, organic waste is weighed, sorted, crushed, blended with wood chips and then added to mechanical turners. The entire process takes three to four months, compared to 12 to 18 months in natural conditions. The compost, certified to what’s known as the NFU 44 051 standard, is mostly sold in bulk to farmers, but is also available for individuals to buy in 2-liter bags. By 2027, Les Alchimistes is to be present in 30 territories in order to provide a food waste collection and composting solution in all living areas with more than 200,000 inhabitants. Within five years, 50,000 tons of compost will be produced annually from 300,000 tons of food waste. More than 800 jobs are expected to be created. In February the company raised a €10 million, and it aims to expand to a total of 30 French cities, turning 10% of all organic waste into compost, with no more than 10 kilometers between where waste is collected and processed. As part of the so-called “anti-waste law,” which was passed in 2020, all local authorities across France will be required to collect organic waste from households, whether that is carried out by enterprises like Les Alchimistes or through other means. Since January, it has been mandatory for private companies producing ateast 5 tons of organic waste per year to recycle it. As of the end of 2022, 14.5 million people across France were served by a sorting system for organic waste.

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