VIDEO: Micron Waste Technologies Inc Turns Organic Waste into Clean Water
Micron Waste Technologies Inc (CNSX:MWM) President Alfred Wong, illustrates how the company processes organic waste and gets clean water as a byproduct. Micron Waste uses technology that deals with the waste on-site and they have recently given particular interest to the cannabis sector. They have partnered with Aurora Cannabis Inc (TSE:ACB) (OTCMKTS:ACBFF) (FRA:21P) to come up with a program to deal with waste from growing marijuana. They have 3 focuses which are supermarket waste, quick serve waste and cannabis.
James West: Hey, welcome back to Midas Letter. My guest this segment is Alfred Wong. He’s the president of Micron Waste Technologies, currently trading on the CSC under the symbol MWM. Alfred, thanks for joining me today.
Alfred Wong: It’s a pleasure to be here.
James West: Let’s talk a bit about Micron Waste Technologies. What is it, what does it do?
Alfred Wong: So Micron Waste Technologies is a Vancouver-based clean tech company that’s focused on the treatment of organic waste. And since late 2017, Micron Waste and Aurora Cannabis have been working together to develop a clean waste management solution specific to the cannabis industry.
James West: Okay. And so why would the cannabis industry need a clean waste solution?
Alfred Wong: It’s actually interesting because right now, under Health Canada guidelines, the rules for the destruction of cannabis waste is very archaic. Essentially, what many cannabis cultivators do right now is to mix it with kitty litter, I kid you not.
James West: Kitty litter?!
Alfred Wong: Kitty litter, of all things.
James West: The cannabis industry!
Alfred Wong: And the interesting thing about kitty litter is that with the deodorizing capabilities, it masks the smell of cannabis waste, and you know cannabis is a very smelly plant. Cannabis waste is also very smelly, and so it needs to be mixed with kitty litter before it’s disposed of in landfills. But as you can imagine, once it does that it’s no longer biodegradable and has a negative impact on the environment.
So what we’re trying to do is, we’re trying to work with cannabis cultivators to operate onsite, treat the cannabis waste, and make sure that all the cannabis compounds are removed from the waste stream and be able to have the cannabis cultivator really work efficiently in the process.
James West: Okay. So I guess you’re talking about all of the plant material that is discarded in the production and the concentration, in the packaging process?
Alfred Wong: Correct.
James West: So why wouldn’t they just compost that like they would do any other wasted sort of agricultural byproduct?
Alfred Wong: Correct, and compost has been around for hundreds of years – I personally believe in compost. I have a food cycler at home, it’s a nifty $400 machine from Amazon and I use it to teach my kids the benefits of organic waste. But from an operational point of view, we felt that our process, which is an aerobic digestion process, which breaks down organic waste within 24-48 hours, is most flexible for the cannabis industry. It’s well suited to adapt to the growing cannabis industry, and for composting, typically it would take from weeks to months in order to process.
James West: Right, okay, so it’s a time thing. Then so, it’s cannabis, and what is it that comes out, and what do you do with what the end product is?
Alfred Wong: So our value proposition is really on recycling water. Our methodology extracts water from the cannabis plant, which is 80 percent water, and we essentially recycle the water back into agricultural operations just to streamline costs as well, and for environmental benefits.
There are some biosolid residuals that comes out as with any organic matter, and essentially that is an area of active research within our group. What’s interesting is that we feel it’s actually perfectly suited for composting. The moisture level is around 40 to 60 percent, perfect for composting. So you can kind of think of this as a pre-treatment step: a 24-hour pre-treatment step where we remove the cannabis compounds, recycle the water back to the cultivator, and then have this nice bio-solid ready for composting.
James West: Okay, so it’s kind of like disposal services for the plant matter of the cannabis grower?
Alfred Wong: Correct.
James West: And so do you charge, is it sort of like a service model? How do you guys make money?
Alfred Wong: It’s a service model, so we intend to lease our units with the cannabis cultivator, but we provide all the maintenance, we provide all the enzymes and microbes to be able to break down the cannabis waste, and essentially to become the partner of waste disposal within the cannabis industry.
James West: Mm-hmm. Okay, so how many are you partnered up with – anybody besides Aurora at this point, and is this something that you’re getting a good reception from, from other ACMPR growers?
Alfred Wong: So our focus as a company is actually in three target sectors: the cannabis industry is one, the supermarket is another, as well as the quick service restaurant industry. So for the past 12 months or so, we’ve actually proven out our concept with a supermarket distribution chain in the Lower Mainland, BC, and essentially we’ve been handling about half a tonne of organic waste every day, turning that into clean water. It’s actually really important to mention about the clean water, because essentially our system treats the effluent so that it meets municipal sewage by-law standards. We’re not just dumping toxic or dirty water down the drain.
James West: That’s interesting. So then, what’s the footprint of the machine? What does the machine look like?
Alfred Wong: So you can think of the machine as comprised of two parts, both of which sits directly at the cannabis cultivator or at the client. So first part is your typical digestor; it uses a mechanical and biological process to break down the organic waste. It actually gets pumped into the second part of our solution, which is a 20-foot shipping container, and that houses our entire waste water treatment plant.
James West: I see
Alfred Wong: And through a four-step process, we actually extract all the organic matter and the cannabis compounds are removed, and so what’s the result is clean gray water – you don’t want to drink it, but the clean water can be reused back into agricultural processes, it can be used for toilets, you know, washing sinks, washing floors, as well as being discharged safely down the train.
James West: So could this – is this something like, I guess, you’ve got one revenue stream is service for cannabis growers, but I guess you also have, is it a service for supermarkets, or do they actually buy a unit and it sits there at the back of the store and they process all their waste and recover the water and all that good stuff, onsite? Is that another sort of major revenue stream?
Alfred Wong: Our proposed revenue stream is to lease the units to our customers, so that there’s no, it’s not showing up on their assets, it’s just from a cost perspective. And the cost is where it’s actually really interesting, because when people think about clean water, the cleaner the water that you make it, the more costly it is. And while that’s true, I think what the breakthrough that our company has made was really to find the business model that made it more cost-effective for the customer to use our system. And for the last 12 months we’ve had hard numbers that we’re saving about 25 to 35 percent in monthly cost savings for our client.
James West: Oh!
Alfred Wong: And that’s comprised of two things: one is the rising landfill tipping fees every year; the landfill tipping fees to dump away your garbage goes higher, and second is actually the cost of hauling. Hauling your organic waste from your facility to the landfill or to a centralized even composting facility, there’s a trucking component to it.
James West: Sure.
Alfred Wong: So for us to say that we’re going to operate onsite, treat the organic waste, turns into clean water, they don’t have to worry about it, they don’t have to pay any excess fines to the municipality for exceeding sewage by-law standards, or to pay for trucking.
James West: Wow, okay. Well, that’s a great introduction. We’re going to leave it there for now, we’re going to come back to you in a couple of quarters and see how you’re making out. Thanks for coming in today.
Alfred Wong: It’s a pleasure to be here.
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