There are some major problems with making ReFoodAble economically viable in Hong Kong. One of the first major problems is that Hong Kong is not equipped to sell electricity back to the grid. This eliminates many potential ways to make money from power generation, to which food waste would be well suited. Food waste can be used in bioreactors to generate electricity. Food waste can also be converted back into bio diesel, but ReFoodAble lacked funding and expertise to make this happen. The final barrier ReFoodAble would have is the culture in Hong Kong. There is virtually no recycling done anywhere. Getting support from the public would be difficult as I’ll demonstrate later with Noble Earth LTD.
The whole goal of ReFoodAble is to convert all organic waste into usable materials. During the presentation, they went over all their entire company, how it was formed, how they have a working facility located at Ma On Shan. The also went over some possible ways the funders could help them; they needed about 7 million RMB to do the engineering and get it approved for bio diesel. At this time they are converting the food into pig feed, which is somewhat viable as it works out to be about 2,000HK per ton. It takes seven days to heat and dry the product, and the costs per production are about $800.00 per hour. The government was blocking the initiative to transfer the energy back to the grid. The people at ReFoodAble were pitching to an incubator or a seed fund called Sow Asia.
Sow Asia believes in impact investment and their financial investment company only invests in ventures that have social impact. They have competition such as the CUHA and they already take part in many initiatives. The CEO of Sow Asia was is a friend of Mr Princeton’s and was there personally during the pitch. The takeaway from this pitch and meeting was that CEOs are very good at painting pictures. The second lesson was that everybody in Hong Kong wants a cut. If you want to get anything done in Hong Kong, you have to make it very clear what the incentives are for each person’s participation.