Brazilian waste management firm finds cost-cutting users in pandemic

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - A month-old Brazilian company's machines that use bacteria to break down organic waste has found users among domestic upscale supermarket Natural da Terra, units of Reckitt Benckiser RB.L and Siemens AG SIEGn.DE, and logistics firm Luft, its chief executive said on Thursday.

Bioconverter, which launched in June as companies sought to cut waste management costs during the pandemic, is in talks to lease its machines to other supermarket chains in Brazil and Mexico, said CEO and founder Nelson Libbos, one of the company’s nine partners, in an interview.

The company may also enter the U.S. market, where some states are expected to begin restricting organic waste disposal, he added.

“Companies need to cut costs in the COVID pandemic, and waste management of organic residues is expensive,” Libbos said.

Bioconverter uses bacteria to transform food and other organic matter into water that may be discarded in sewage systems or used in agricultural irrigation, complying with environmental regulations. A bacteria mix is used in its machines to degrade organic residue within 24 hours.

Processing waste where it is produced reduces costs that usually include refrigerating the residues before transportation and the cost of trucks to send it to landfills.

Bioconverter was planning its launch early this year when the COVID pandemic hit Brazil.

All Bioconverter shareholders have healthcare careers. Libbos, for example, has headed subsidiaries of international firms in Brazil, such as Teva Pharmaceutical Industries TEVA.TA. Dirceu Barbano has led Anvisa, Brazil's top health regulator, and Jose Roberto Corrales owns a drug and health products distributor.

Reporting by Tatiana Bautzer; Editing by Richard Chang