Dihan Chandra, Managing Director
What inspired you to start this business?
The initial spark was exploring whether my dog’s poo could be used to generate energy to power my house instead of having to pick it up. As it turns out, the answer is no–a single dog doesn’t produce enough biomass on its own. But I became fascinated with finding value in what other people consider waste.
A short while later, I had the privilege of working on a funding application in Sri Lanka that was a response to a United Nations call for practical solutions to deal with plastic ocean pollution. The range of creative solutions that were proposed, including some that made revenue from plastic pollution, was truly inspiring. It cemented my belief that reasonable, practical solutions to reducing waste while generating profits are within our reach.
Then, one night at my local pub talking to the brewery manager, I asked the question we’ve all been too shy to ask: What happens to all the grain used to make beer?
After learning that most spent grain, especially from smaller breweries, ends up in landfills, the Spent Goods Company was born.
We work with small-to-medium businesses to re-imagine food waste in order to reduce their expenses and generate new revenue. As well, diverting organic waste from landfills helps to reduce contributions to climate change.
The first product we developed was Beer Bread, a delicious artisan sourdough bread made in Toronto by Drake Commissary using spent grains from Henderson’s Brewery. (Have you read our Beer Bread reviews yet? BlogTO considers it the latest bread craze!)
While the bread doesn’t use a lot of spent grains, it’s a great conversation starter for consumers around the topic of food waste. End consumers have an alternative product that allows them to vote with their wallet for the change they want to see in the world.
We’re now working to take surplus bread and make beer with it. Drake Commissary’s surplus bread will be supplied to Henderson’s Brewery, which will launch their Bread Beer in late 2018. Stay tuned!
What is your background?
In 2006, I started my first social enterprise, Organic Lifestyle, an ecommerce site based on my interest in offering alternative solutions to everyday toxin exposure. It has been profitable for the past 7 years.
Prior to that, I spent 18 years working as an IT Solutions Architect at IBM, where I project-managed teams, created global offerings, managed C-suite stakeholders to achieve buy-in, and met deliverables within specific timeframes.