Zero Energy Preservation of Fruits and Vegetables

La Caja Verde

3. Good Health and Well-Being 9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure 12. Responsible Consumption and Production 13. Climate Action 15. Life on Land

Overview

La Caja Verde is a piece of furniture that helps preserve fruits and vegetables longer and without using electricity.

Authors

Agustina Florencia Fuerte

Agustina Florencia Fuerte

María Eugenia Monti

María Eugenia Monti

School

Pontificia Universidad Catolica Argentina

Pontificia Universidad Catolica Argentina

Professor

Aleandra Scafati

Aleandra Scafati

Innovation

La Caja Verde is a product designed to preserve fruits and vegetables using adapted antique techniques without electricity consumption.

It preserves food through the interactions between vegetables, sand, and water. In addition, the unit has a food waste digester for organic waste that works through a vermicomposting system for waste treatment.

Zero Energy Preservation of Fruits and Vegetables

Inspiration

Héctor is an architect who used to work in furniture manufacturing. He told us that "one day, I found myself without a refrigerator, so I started to look for different ways to keep food safe without using a fridge. I researched old techniques in the book: “Biblioteca de Economía Doméstica: Tratado de Conservación de las sustancias alimenticias,” and found that it could be possible to conserve vegetables and fruits in a good state without an appliance's help; only meat and dairy products need cooling."

Due to his profession, Héctor already had useful knowledge and tools. He worked alongside an artist to design the prototype of "La Caja Verde." The technique was validated by a study made by Laura Malvino, a crop genetics specialist, that works in Crop Biotech, Illinois University.

Overall impact

• It lengthens the products' lifetime while simultaneously preserving all their original qualities (texture, light, color, smell, and weight).

• It can either accelerate or delay the process of ripening for the fruits and vegetables.

• It controls the propagation of smells.

• It is easy to install.

• It is cheaper than a fridge, and maintenance is free.

• Products are displayed and reached easily.

• It doesn't need electricity, and thus reduces associated costs and GHG emissions.

• It offers a solution for organic waste treatment from fruits and vegetables since it has a composting device in place.

Business benefit

La Caja Verde is the innovation itself. So far, the business is running well, with more than 100 boxes sold in the first two years (2018-2019) of operation and a 40% net margin on each product.

Hector's customers are between 25 to 50 years old. Most of them are educated women. All his customers share the same worry and passion for protecting the environment while saving money. They all want to avoid food waste; that's why they find the product as the perfect solution to their needs.

The company's sales forecast is 81 boxes in Y1 (2020), 210 boxes in Y2 (2021), and 295 boxes in Y3 (2022).

Social and environmental benefit

The innovation positively impacts the environment because it reduces food waste, electricity consumption, organic waste disposal, and GHG emissions.

In Argentina, 12% of the total food production is wasted, and each house is estimated to dispose of 1 tonne of organic waste annually, which ends up in landfills.

The innovation has a social impact because it helps change home habits regarding food consumption, preservation, and disposal. The La Caja Verde project has an educational platform that is free and open to use for any interested person.

Interview

Hector Pereyra, Founder

Keep this story going! Share below!

La Caja Verde

La Caja Verde

Vicente Lopez, Buenos Aires, AR

Business Website: https://www.lacajaverde.net/

Year Founded: 2018

Number of Employees: 2 to 10

"La Caja Verde" is a product designed to preserve fruits and vegetables using ancient techniques that need no energy.

The technology works through the interactions between vegetables, sand, and water.

The main objective of La Caja Verde is the correct conservation of fresh food, thus saving electricity and avoiding GHG emissions.