Food Waste

Australia: Black soldier flies to upcycle food waste

An Australian consortium proposes using black soldier flies to tackle the country’s food waste problem by 2030.

An Australian consortium proposes using black soldier flies to tackle the country’s food waste problem by 2030.

The Fight Food Waste Cooperative Research Centre (CRC), waste management company Goterra and the University of Queensland utilises said flies in its infrastructure as a potential green solution to organic waste.

According to Goterra founder and CEO Olympia Yarger, the project intends to demonstrate the safety and effectiveness of using black soldier flies to manage food waste streams as well as set parameters to determine the uses of animal protein products produced by this method.

It will also provide a risk assessment analysis on aspects such as food waste handling, insect consumption and protein processing for livestock feed.

The project will also provide a roadmap for research results regarding insect protein, the aim being to ensure a successful integration with existing policy to eliminate regulatory barriers.

Food waste treatment using black soldier flies has been prominent in Asian countries such as China, Korea, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Taiwan and Japan due to its cost effectiveness and ease of operation. When these flies consume fruit and vegetable waste, manure or human excrement, they convert it into nutritional biomass which can be used to create high-quality animal feed or biofuel. Biodiesel made in this way produces less carbon emissions compared to conventional composting using nitrogen fertilizer.

As black soldier flies are considered harmless to humans (not being disease carriers), their use can be further justified.

Successful large-scale application of these flies depends, however, on proper waste sorting methods as the use of different kinds of waste can harm the growth of black soldier flies.  

The project intends to lay a foundation for the ongoing development and advancement of the insect protein industry-for the method to become more prevalent, however, public acceptance is needed.