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Obeo Kitchen Box For Waste Food

Kate Cronin and Elizabeth Fingleton have designed a handy new disposable box that makes it easier to store food scrapings before dumping them in the brown bin.

Fingleton says that the idea for Obeo arose while Cronin was completing a Master's degree project on the topic of food waste.

Obeo's product is a compostable paper box that customers use in the kitchen to collect food waste. It can hold around a few days' worth of food scraps such as plate scrapings, vegetable peelings and tea bags before they are dumped in the box into brown bins.

The box's aerated design cuts out bad smells while it is sitting in the kitchen and it is made from wet strength paper, meaning that it won't dissolve before being placed in the bin.

Obeo founders Elizabeth Fingleton (right)
and Kate Cronin

The compostable bags are sold in packs of five for €3.75 and Obeo has secured a listing with Dunnes Stores. “Our distributor is Bunzl Irish Merchants, who also distribute Glad products and supply over 700 stores in Ireland, making it a very good fit for us. We will be targeting Musgrave and Tesco next,” says Fingleton.

While many if not most households currently dispose of potato peelings etc. in their black bin, Household Food Waste Regulations introduced in 2013 stipulate that after July 2016 all households must dispose of their compostable waster in the brown bin.

Obeo's founders secured a commercialisation grant from Enterprise Ireland, facilitated by Origin8, NCAD's industry gateway and innovation hub.  Obeo was recently approved for €50,000 funding under EI's Competitive Start Fund. “We had applied for this funding twice before and were rejected, so it's a case of third time lucky,” says Fingleton.

Obeo is also a graduate of the 2013 UCD VentureLaunch accelerator programme. The startup is based in NCAD's Origin8 hub on Thomas Street in Dublin and is the first spin-out from the recently launched centre.  

Plans in the pipeline for Obeo include the development of an odour-killing spray for brown bins, as well as bringing the compostable bag to the UK market. (September  2014)

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