Vépluche, created in 2019 by Clara Duchalet, is an example of a circular economy solution applied to bio-waste from collective and commercial catering.
The proposed offer is twofold: a free collection of bio-waste, in exchange for which restaurant owners agree to buy fruit and vegetables proposed by Vépluche.
The collection and distribution of the products is done according to zero-carbon logistics, with the application of the zero-carbon last kilometer rule. To do this, Vépluche uses a super-cargo bike and an electric van to ensure food distribution and waste collection with a reduced carbon footprint.
The bio-waste is composted in their plant based in Châtillon to be transformed into compost, sold in particular to Parisian florists and the city.
To find out how potting soil is valued, you can watch the video at the very bottom of the article!
The Energy Transition Law  of 17/08/2015, one of the 6 objectives of which is to halve the volume of waste produced by 2050, concerns all actors in the territory: citizens, companies, public authorities.
A bio-waste is a food waste (peelings, meat and fish remains, bread…) or a natural biodegradable waste that can be recovered in compost.
In this law, the question of bio-waste management is raised. These wastes must be separated from the others since their burial in the absence of oxygen is favorable to the phenomenon of fermentation which releases methane into the atmosphere. However, the global warming power of methane is 25 times greater than that of CO2. It therefore plays an active role in global warming. It is therefore becoming urgent to make the most of our bio-waste. Incineration in the current treatment methods for food waste consists in particular of burning water, which may seem absurd.
Bio-waste can be recovered by different processes:
These reactions have the advantage of allowing the material to return to the ground. -> This is precisely the comparative advantage of composting VS methanization (biogas does not return to the ground).
Some key dates in the management of bio-waste :
The logistics center is based in Boulogne Billancourt, just outside Paris. It is the place of reception of the various goods: on one side the delivery of fruits and vegetables, on the other side the collection of bio-waste. These two operations are carried out on one and the same route according to the principle of Reverse Logistics.
This centralization has several advantages.
Let’s take the example of a market gardener who used to deliver to 15 restaurants, which are now part of Vépluche. We then have :
Food distribution applies the zero-carbon last mile rule. Thus Vépluche uses an electric vehicle and super-cargo bicycles to make deliveries between its warehouse and its customers. This approach is also applied for the collection of food waste and the warehouse – composting plant trips.
Food waste collected from restaurants that are members of the Vépluche offer is recycled into compost and then into compost at the Châtillon plant.
Bio-waste is treated in the plant via an electromechanical composter. To understand how their micro-plant works, we advise you to watch the following explanatory video:
An electromechanical composter allows a better yield than a conventional composter. In terms of figures :
Mechanical composter: 100 kg of bio-waste -> 25 kg of compost (¼)
Conventional composter: 100 kg of bio-waste -> 14 kg of compost (1/7)
The bio-waste remains 15 days in the compost bin. The compost then matures for 5 to 7 weeks.
The mature compost thus obtained has a pH between 8 and 9 (basic).
To be able to talk about compost, the compost obtained must be acidified (lowered pH) by mixing it with another more acidic compost.
Traditionally, acidification is done by adding peat moss or coconut fiber (this is more used to aerate the soil and thus reduce its density). This is not the solution adopted by Vépluche, who wishes to propose an organic and local compost. The mixture chosen is therefore the following:
This green waste compost comes from Ile de France.
A potting soil is an organic material worked to have a balanced and ready to use support for the culture of plants. Unlike potting soil, compost is considered an organic fertilizer that enriches the soil.
To facilitate both the use and the marketing of its product, Vépluche made the choice to produce a compost by mixing its bio-waste compost with other less rich and less basic compost.
A potting soil must have a stable pH around 7 to optimize the assimilation of all nutrients in the soil. Traditionally, the acidification of composts is done by adding a material with not very ecological characteristics: peat.
This is not the solution adopted by Vépluche, which proposes an ecological and local compost made from green waste composts, manure and grape marc. Vépluche’s Trésor’ganique potting soil is composed of 25% of food bio-waste compost.
Bagging is carried out by a Vépluche partner based in Normandy, in batches of 3 tons of compost shipped every 3 months and bagged in 5L, 15L and 45L bags.
The user thus has a turnkey product that can be used immediately.
Sorting bio-waste allows to valorize it as well as possible. The valorization of bio-waste in compost has a double advantage:
The logistics adopted by Vépluche helps limit the environmental impact of transport with the zero-carbon last kilometer policy.
As a reminder (cf. law on energy transition) since 2016, anyone producing more than 10 tons of bio-waste per year is required to sort this waste and recover it in an appropriate channel.
Vépluche’s offer therefore presents a major economic advantage for professionals who are forced to comply with this law. The collection of waste is indeed free of charge.
Vépluche’s solution allows an integrated management of bio-waste for professionals, with a complete and integrated management of the life cycle of its transformation. Vépluche is also a close and long-term relationship with compost consumers.
It is also a free turnkey solution for small producers of bio-waste such as restaurants that are not yet ready to pay to recover their bio-waste.
Vépluche allows the creation of sustainable jobs. At this stage 7 people work full time in the company.
The company is familiar with all the bases of the model. It can therefore be replicated identically: a logistics base serving as a hub for the reception and then delivery of fruit and vegetables and the collection of bio-waste. The last kilometer is always carried out according to the zero-carbon last kilometer policy.
In view of the law and the mandatory nature of bio-waste recovery, the need is present and perennial. There is a real demand for bio-waste collection.
In order to be able to extend the offer over a larger geographical area, Vépluche has the ambition to set up other logistics bases in Paris. In addition, the capacity of a logistics base has been estimated at 150 restaurants, and the base currently supplies 90 customers.