About Us

Reducing the wastage of diminishing food resources and returning nutrients to the circular economy to contribute to the next production cycle is critical to our future.

Circular Food is all about closing the loop on food waste. Over the past 18 months we have been working hard behind the scenes building the foundations of a large company capable of having a significant positive impact diverting food organics from landfill and regenerating Australian soils.

We’ve studied all known technologies globally for extracting nutrients from food waste and getting them back into the soil, and we’ve maintained our focus on scalability, wanting to grow large and fast, where possible in partnership with existing solutions in the spirit of the circular economy.

What we have found is that worms produce high quality soil amendments from organic waste but in order to scale up a worm farm to have a sizable impact on food waste, a rural property is the only option, and then you get the negative of transporting food waste around the country.

In the city, we’ve found two technologies of great interest, AD (Anaerobic Digestion) and Food Waste Dehydrators (sometimes called organics units). AD can use food and other organic waste to extract methane which can then be used to generate electricity. A good example is Yarra Valley Water’s AD plant at Wollert in Melbourne. Food waste dehydrators are great for reducing the volume of food waste in densely populated areas where minimising truck movements is an important part of the solution.

Both the technologies mentioned here produce residual material with no clear value add – until now. After 18 months of focussed R&D including projects in partnership with CSIRO, Yarra Valley Water and Closed Loop, and with the support of AusIndustry’s R&D Tax Incentive Program, we have developed an organic fertiliser that closes the loop on the AD and dehydration processes and incorporates the beneficial soil microbes from worm castings.

Our Intent

Our intent is to close the loop on food waste and in doing so, help to restore global soil health in order to sustainably feed our growing population into the future. This means creating a viable alternative to chemical fertilisers from what used to be known as food waste.

We believe that in the future, waste will be one of our greatest resources. We are helping to develop a framework for this future based on the new circular economy.

Part of our business model involves licensing fertiliser plants, which can easily be located on a farm or in a community, so that waste can be processed into fertiliser in the location where the product is needed.

Our People

Steve Morriss
Founder & Director

Steve Morriss, Founder & Director

Steve is a successful serial entrepreneur and the inventor of numerous patented processes for complex recycling solutions. In late 2015, Steve began working full time on Circular Food. He has over 20 years’ experience in the circular economy, starting a small cartridge recycling business in 1993. In 2000 he founded Close the Loop®, an Australian and US eWaste recycling success story and he remains a shareholder and director.

As a renowned industry innovator, Steve was a member of the Waste Management & Environment magazine’s Leaders List of 2014, a finalist in the 2011 Entrepreneur of the Year Awards, a past winner of a Victorian Enterprise Workshop “Award of Excellence”, and winner of the 2006 UN Environment Day awards for innovation. In 2016 Close the Loop® was inducted into the Victorian Manufacturers Hall of Fame largely due to pioneering work led by Steve to turn waste toner powder into a valuable additive to asphalt roads.

Sean O’Malley
Non-Executive Director

Sean O’Malley, Non-Executive Director

Sean joined Planet Ark in 2007 and continues to oversee their Research and Development activities. After completing a PhD in behavioral ecology with a scientific background across life and earth sciences, Sean spent 15 years in the food manufacturing sector, managing research and innovation projects. Sean’s experience also includes two years of managing product development for one of Australia’s largest nappy manufacturers, including the development of a high-biodegradability nappy.

Dexter Clarke
Non-Executive Director

Dexter Clarke, Non-Executive Director

Dexter is an experienced global CFO and was most recently the CFO of Cox Automotive Australia where he led a range of M&A activities along with being responsible for the Finance, Legal and Risk activities of the business. He has over 20 years’ experience across a range of industries and countries and is passionate about building world class teams and businesses.

Jan Grouios
Accounts and Administration

Jan Grouios, Accounts and Administration

Starting her career at the Australian Taxation Office, Jan then moved into small business. She has successfully managed two family businesses until their sale, one for 8 years and the other for 15 years. Jan has extensive customer service experience and book keeping skills, and brings a keen attention to detail to her administration role.

Declan McDonald
Fertiliser Product Development

Declan McDonald, Fertiliser Product Development

Circular Food’s fertiliser product development is managed by Declan, working with the CSIRO and others. Declan has over 25 years’ experience in agricultural, horticultural, recreational and amenity soil management. He has a strong background in Urban Horticulture, Agricultural Production and Natural Resource Management. As a Senior Soil Scientist at SESL he is responsible for high level technical input for contaminated land assessment, major redevelopment work and urban renewal projects.

Joel Cranshaw
Legal Advisor

Joel Cranshaw, Legal Advisor

Lawyer and founding director of Clearpoint Counsel. Joel acts as general counsel to a number of growth companies, funded start-ups and subsidiaries of multinationals in the IT and other technology industries. Joel is qualified in Australia, NZ and the UK.

Andrew Nelson
Corporate Strategy

Andrew Nelson, Corporate Strategy

Andrew is the Managing Director of Blue Ocean Strategy Australia, a rapid growth corporate advisory firm. Andrew has personally contributed to the growth strategies for organisations such as Allianz, Ergon Energy, John Holland Group, Laminex, MLC and Toll Holdings.

Dr Geoff Dumsday
Microbiology Dept. CSIRO – Biotechnical advisor

Dr Geoff Dumsday, Microbiology Dept. CSIRO – Biotechnical advisor

Geoff has been a Senior Research Scientist at CSIRO for the past 17 years. Prior to that he was a research scientist at CSL, and he completed his Post-Doctoral fellowship at Melbourne University on advanced fermentation technology. Geoff has consulted to Circular Food for the past 18 months adding value to our product development activities in the areas of soil microbes, anaerobic digestion microbes, and worm derived microorganisms for fertiliser products.


The story so far…

The idea for Circular Food (turning food waste into fertiliser) was conceived in late 2015 and after much research the company was officially established in early 2016. The undisputed kings of organic waste recycling are the humble earthworm and mimicking nature is our chosen strategy as well.

We started with the acquisition of Vermicrobe International, a vermiculture (worm farming) business previously based in northern NSW. After shipping the assets and intellectual property to Melbourne began the journey of developing a commercial worm farm in a major urban area to covert food waste to fertiliser.

Along the way it became clear that although the resultant bio-fertiliser products are brilliant both for soil and plant health, the economic model would not scale up effectively in an urban setting and the volumes of food waste that could be recycled were not rapidly scalable either.

By late 2016 work began in earnest to leverage the worm derived products into a lower cost, higher volume fertiliser product still based on 100% food waste inputs. A year or more of intensive R&D with project partners CSIRO and others has resulted in a brilliant organic fertiliser product set to change the game.

We still make and sell BIG BIO® brand worm castings and worm leachate but our future is the new fertiliser called BIG BIO Organic Fertiliser™. We have the product developed and the manufacturing process finalised. At time of writing (January 2018), we are manufacturing on a small scale and about to commence extensive third party performance trials.

The focus now is capital raising to build a pilot plant here at Somerton and launch the new product. Please stay tuned.