Goterra and City of Sydney to trial turning residential food waste into insect protein

Goterra and City of Sydney to trial turning residential food waste into insect protein

Goterra founder and CEO Olympia Yarger (left) with Lord Mayor of Sydney, Clover Moore AO (right) at the company's insect and maggot farm in Barangaroo.

Circular economy scale-up Goterra has reached a deal with the City of Sydney to trial its food waste processing technology at a new facility in Alexandria, which will take the food scraps from 21,000 households taking part in an existing recycling trial and turn them into insect protein.

The 12-month trial is set to commence later this year with expectations it will convert 600 tonnes of food waste into protein-rich animal feed and fertiliser.

The announcement comes shortly after Canberra-based Goterra secured a breakthrough offtake partnership for trials with the Australian arm of the world's largest fish feed business Skretting.

Goterra's process works by feeding food waste to Black soldier fly (BSF) larvae housed inside shipping container-sized units. The larvae are able to eat twice their own body weight every day, before their manure is processed into fertiliser and the maggots themselves are processed into protein, rich in vitamins and minerals that can be fed to fish and poultry or even turned into pet food.

Unlike other insects, the Black soldier fly isn’t a vector for disease and its larvae breaks down bacteria in the organic material consumed.

"This is the next step in our war against waste. Using maggots is an innovative and sustainable solution for this growing problem," says Lord Mayor of Sydney, Clover Moore AO.

"This service will be set up at a facility in Alexandria, meaning our fuel costs and emissions will greatly reduce because we are transporting this food waste shorter distances.

"This is a brilliant circular economy result as we regenerate what was once considered waste into sustainable commodities: insect protein for animal feed and a natural low-impact fertiliser, both essential for food production."

Goterra's technology is already is used in Sydney's Barangaroo precinct sourcing waste from participating businesses, while Woolworths is also expected to supply 3,000 tonnes of food waste annually to a new project in the final stages of completion in Wetherill Park.

Outside of Sydney, Woolworths is also partnering with Goterra in Albury and Canberra, while the sustainability tech startup also has a presence at the Albury landfill, Melbourne Airport, and Howard Smith Wharves in Brisbane.

"We're really excited about this project - it has the power to revolutionise food waste management for residential food waste and logistics in Australia’s largest city,” says Goterra CEO and founder Olympia Yarger, last year's ACT Australian of the Year.

"We know food waste represents 8 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. If it were a country, its emissions would be the thid largest in the world.

“Our Modular Infrastructure for Biological Services are working hard every day to reduce this and turn food waste into a regenerative resource, creating insect protein and fertiliser to help plug the food production shortfall predicted to be 20 per cent by 2050.

More than 21,000 households are part of a food scraps recycling trial, which began in July 2019. Residents of apartment buildings can submit an expression of interest for their building to join the program.

The City of Sydney is working to extend the service to all residents in line with the state government’s mandate for councils to provide food and garden waste collections to every NSW household by 2030.

Both Goterra and the City of Sydney will evaluate the trial with a view to expanding the service in the future.

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