Food Bank of Delaware Partners with Compact Membrane Systems to Reduce Food Waste

July 21, 2022

The Delaware First State Food System awarded a grant to the Food Bank of Delaware to work with Compact Membrane Systems’ (CMS) atmosphere control technology to increase the shelf life of donated produce.

The goal of this project is to test and validate that the CMS Membrane System can double the shelf life of tested fruits and vegetables, ultimately having significant impacts across all points along the supply chain.

CMS’s membrane technology selectively removes gases, such as ethylene, that are naturally produced in harvested fruits and vegetables. These gases accelerate ripening and impact the quality and taste of fruit for consumers. Through the grant, membrane buttons will be installed on transparent refrigerated post-harvest containers at both the Food Bank of Delaware’s Milford and Newark facilities.

The project will run for 12 months beginning on August 1.

As part of the test process, at least four side-by-side systems will be evaluated and at least four sets of tests will be run at each site. Two containers will have the CMS ethylene vent button installed and two will not. Every day each container will be visually inspected for overall quality, blemishes, and decay. At the completion of the individual tests it is expected that the containers with the ethylene button will have lasted twice as long (e.g. 20 vs 10 days).

“Each year, the Food Bank of Delaware loses nearly 40,000 pounds of produce generously donated to us through our community partners to spoilage”, says Food Bank of Delaware Chief Development Officer Larry Haas.  “We believe that CMS’s technology can cost-effectively retrofit containers in our storage facility and drastically increase the donation window of outbound produce.”

“We are excited for the State of Delaware to invest in the pilot of our technology in such an impactful setting,” said Erica Nemser, CEO of Compact Membrane Systems located in Newport, Del. “As an R&D company tackling climate change, food waste represents a significant portion of our domestic emissions. Achieving this mission while serving our local community is a win-win.”

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