The Black Soldier Fly (BSF), scientifically known as Hermetia illucens, is a tropical fly that is gaining attention in the waste management world. It is used to convert biological waste into high-value products that can be sold in the market. Recently, efforts have been made to modify the fly's natural life cycle in commercial facilities.
The global problem of food waste, including statistics from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
Explanation of how BSF technology promotes circular waste management and sustainability.
The value proposition of the Black Soldier Fly, including its efficiency in waste elimination and sustainable product production.
Challenges and opportunities associated with BSF technology, its potential to transform the feed industry, and its contribution to mitigating the environmental impact of sectors like the palm oil industry.
Today, global food waste is a bigger challenge than ever: the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) indicates that one third of all food produced globally is lost or wasted, totalling 1 billion tonnes of food waste per year.
In response to the growing need for organic waste disposal, several new technologies have emerged that seek to implement sustainable waste management practices.
BSF is one such technology that promotes circular waste management by reusing organic waste into raw materials and pet food, both of which have historically been produced through large-scale, resource-inefficient and environmentally degrading agricultural practices.
By acting as a means to efficiently eliminate waste and sustainably produce products that avoid production-related emissions, the BSF presents a dual value proposition.
However, today BSF plants are mostly intended for the production of homogeneous, high-value food products, as they offer the highest efficiency and reliability in the production of larvae.
However, they often come at a cost, struggle to find a stable supply of high quality waste and have competing uses. To scale up and have an impact on the global food and feed system, a variety of raw materials, such as food waste or fertilisers, including inorganic materials, increasingly need to be considered. They are more challenging in terms of operation, product quality, legislation and food safety, but are available in abundance and have the potential to provide a range of social and environmental benefits.
Currently, most municipal solid waste in developing countries is of organic origin (over 50 per cent). Existing agro-industrial practices in these developing countries contribute to the accumulation of waste in landfills, creating a significant source of methane emissions.
One of the largest agricultural industries in developing countries, the feed industry, has a highly unsustainable supply chain.
For example, fish feed and pet food are largely based on unsustainable animal protein sources. On average, 2 kg of wild fish are needed to produce 1 kg of aquaculture fish.
With the scarce availability of organic fertilisers, many developing countries also rely on imported fertilisers, which have no long-term positive effects on the soil. These challenges, coupled with the need for low to medium-skilled labour in developing regions such as East Africa, create an opportunity to innovate new sustainable waste management practices that provide employment and prosperity for communities.
BSF can be used, for example, to reduce the impact of the palm oil industry, which supplies a variety of commercial products, creates large quantities of organic waste, which emit methane when lying in mass. BSF could be an alternative to reduce emissions at the local level.
From the point of view of impact, there are two main reasons for investing in a BSF company:
Treating waste with a lower environmental impact than treatment alternatives such as (unmanaged) landfill, composting, incineration/open burning, etc.
Producing more sustainable insect products than the current benchmarks.