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Clippership Wharf Pilots a "Scrappy" Sustainability Solution

  • 11 Sep 2023
  • by
  • Jordan Roehl
  • Associate Asset Manager
Is there anything more obviously disposable than food scraps? We all create them and we all throw them away – but few of us stop to think of the larger impact this action has. With food comprising nearly a quarter of municipal solid waste sent to landfills, this is a far more critical matter than it would first seem, and those of us in the real estate sector can play a role in addressing it.

Lendlease has long been at the vanguard of sustainability within our industry. This role requires constant innovation, including partnerships with cutting-edge organizations that are pioneering new ways to curb our impact on the environment. That’s why we are happy to partner with Mill on a new pilot program that aims to tackle a problem with outsized consequences.

There are plenty of opportunities to reduce waste in our food supply chain and Mill – led by a former Apple engineer who went on to co-found Nest – has developed the first end-to-end solution that tackles the issue at home. The service starts with the Mill bin, designed to go in the kitchen where it can conveniently accept leftovers, eggshells, fruit peels, bones and other unwanted food. These materials aren’t composted; they are desiccated and ground up overnight, resulting in a dry, odorless byproduct that Mill calls Food Grounds. Every two to three weeks, subscribers use prepaid boxes to ship the grounds back to Mill, where they reenter the food supply chain as chicken feed.

It's a novel, full-circle system that easily and cleanly deals with a messy issue. Lendlease has proudly partnered with Mill through a pilot program at Clippership Wharf, our 478-residence community on the Boston Harbor. This spring, 20 bins were offered to residents, who received a complimentary one-year subscription to the service. It proved to be very successful, as all bins were claimed in the first week, with most getting snapped up on the first day.

Clippership Wharf was developed with climate resilience in mind, including on-site solar panels and a living shoreline designed to mitigate climate change-related flooding events. It is only fitting that this property serve as a launch pad for this innovative technology – which had not previously been piloted at a multifamily community, where resident programming and communication channels can be used to (eventually) encourage building-wide participation.

To measure the pilot’s success, Mill and Lendlease, along with our property management partner, Bozzuto, will track the total weight of food waste deposited into the machines, the amount of grounds mailed back to Mill and how much methane and carbon dioxide have been diverted from the atmosphere, among other metrics.

Sustainability initiatives like the Mill partnership resonate not only with residents, who have become increasingly involved in reducing their carbon footprints, but also with investors, who recognize how ESG-driven investments can improve financial performance. For example, this survey from EY indicates that property owners who prioritize ESG will realize higher rents and property values, along with greater access to tax credits and other incentives.

As Lendlease works to achieve absolute zero carbon across Scopes 1, 2, and 3 by 2040, we have the opportunity to share best practices with the industry and educate customers about how their individual choices can have a significant collective impact. If all 478 residences at Clippership Wharf were to eventually use the Mill system, it would avoid nearly 239 tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year, demonstrating how scalable these solutions can be in a multifamily environment. And we’re just getting started.