There is no such thing as waste – just stuff in the wrong place. As we begin to understand this, new sustainability revolution industries will be created. Let me explain.
There is no such thing as waste – every waste stream will become a resource stream within the next decade. Aggregating those dispersed resource streams will become a major industry, which will reduce and in time substantially replace the first time use of natural resources.
Closing loops in our inefficient food production and agricultural systems fascinates me. Creating and then discarding nutrients in the form of food waste, abattoir waste and household sewage has a huge environmental impact.
Nutrient recycling will in due course become a profitable global industry and food waste a thing of the past. One of our companies, AgriProtein is at the forefront of this revolution. It has just raised $105m to build a series of commercial fly factories, each of which will house 8.5 billion flies. By headcount, the factories will be the largest farming operation on the planet.
In its simplest form, flies are reared in immense cages within cages under ideal environmental conditions. They are attracted to lay their eggs in one place. These eggs are then extracted from the cages, hatched and then grown into larvae on organic waste material.
Each generation one plant will feed 250 tonnes of organic waste per day to our fly larvae who will recycle the nutrients into 55 tonnes of valuable protein and oil rich insect larvae, and over 55 tonnes a day of nitrogen rich compost with the balance being water that evaporates.
After a few weeks feeding on organic waste, the larvae are then harvested and separated from the residue, which is a nitrogen and nutrient rich compost. The larvae are then pressed to remove the fat, or MagOil™, which is high in fatty acids and a valuable feed additive. The larvae are dried and milled into protein rich MagMeal™, a natural and sustainable feed for fish, chickens, and other monogastric animals, including cats and dogs.
The company has received feed product approval in South Africa and the European Union has allowed larvae to be used in fish-feed, and soon chicken-feed. The first US states have already licensed its use and others will rapidly follow. It is, after all, what these animals would eat in the wild and what free-range chicken and fresh water fish already eat today. It is what Nature intended the fly for – nutrient recycling and disinfecting waste. Larvae compete with bacteria for the waste nutrients and produce natural antibacterial agents so that they can keep the nutrients for themselves. That is why larvae have been used in wound care for millennia and their use is being rediscovered by modern medicine.
Independent academic research has tested and proven the efficiency of this natural protein in a range of farmed animals. Instead of polluting the environment with abattoir and other organic waste, it is turned into high quality protein that can naturally replace fishmeal in industrial farming and help save our seas. MagMeal™ is targeting the existing and unsustainable $12 billion fishmeal market.
Within fifteen years we will consider it as normal to recycle our waste nutrients as we do our paper, tin, and glass today. The world urgently needs new and sustainable sources of protein. Fly larvae fed on existing waste nutrient sources is one of these.
Lets get busy repairing our future.