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We are testing the efficiency of black soldier fly (BSF) larvae as a potential solution to improve food waste processing in waste treatment facilities (TPS).
In 2018, Indonesia ranked as the second-largest food waste producer in the world after Saudi Arabia, with approximately 300 kilograms of food waste generated per person per year.1 Currently, the most common treatment of food waste in Indonesia is composting. Although composting is generally considered as a practical and environmentally friendly method for processing of organic waste material, the practice has some drawbacks.Firstly, composting takes one to four months2 and generates a relatively low-value product. Secondly, composting of food waste can create a foul odor which often results in the closure of composting facilities.3 Thirdly, composting is a process which generates carbon dioxide, thus trapping heat in the atmosphere and contributing to global warming.4 A more efficient alternative to composting food waste—with a potential of additional environmental and economic benefits—needs to be explored.
1 The Economist Intelligence Unit. (2017). Fixing food: Towards a more sustainable food system.
2 FAO. (2003).On-farm composting methods.
3 Cerda et al. (2018). Composting of food wastes: Status and challenges.
4 Sánchez et al. (2015). Greenhouse gas emissions from organic waste composting.
Black soldier fly (BSF), Hermetia illucens, is a harmless species of insects that is common to tropical regions. In recent years, the usage of BSF larvae has gained popularity as an efficient organic waste treatment intervention with the ability to convert one ton of food waste into 250 kg fresh larvae within 12 days5—which is two to 10 times faster than composting, depending on factors such as temperature, aeration method and moisture content. The short processing time also prevents unpleasant odors.
Furthermore, BSF larvae are protein-rich and fat-rich biomass suitable for animal feeding.6 In 2019, Kopernik experimented with BSF as an alternative duck feed and proved that it is a viable alternative that is nutritionally comparable to the current feed.7 Processing food waste with BSF also generates much less carbon dioxide as compared to composting. For every 1,000 tonnes of food waste consumed by BSF larvae, 62.6 tonnes of carbon dioxide that would otherwise be produced from composting are sequestered.8
Given all these benefits, Kopernik and McKinsey.org will compare the efficiency and economic viability of BSF larvae and composting as methods for food waste treatment.
5 EAWAG Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology. From Pilot to Full Scale Operation of a Waste-to-Protein Treatment Facility
6 Mertenat et al. (2018). Black Soldier Fly biowaste treatment – Assessment of global warming potential
7 Kopernik. (2019). Promoting Sustainable Animal Feed: Black Soldier Larvae.
8 Perednia et al. (2017). A Comparison of the Greenhouse Gas Production of Black Soldier Fly Larvae versus Aerobic Microbial Decomposition of an Organic Feed Material.
THE EXPECTED IMPACT
If proven to be an efficient and economically comparable alternative to composting, we intend for BSF larvae processing to be installed in waste treatment facilities in Bali. A more efficient food waste treatment process would lead to an increase in capacity of waste management facilities. Meanwhile, BSF larvae would provide additional value through the provision of sustainable animal feed.
Solution & Project Implementation
Costs associated with the purchase of the solutions tested and project coordination
Monitoring & Evaluation
Costs associated with data collection, analysis and reporting
Cost of transferring payments internationally, processing online donations (5%) and a contribution to Kopernik's operational costs (15%)