It’s pretty much universally acknowledged that we need to find a sustainable way to combat food waste. The Chinese (you know, being the Chinese) are utilising maggots in order to control food waste (yes, you read that correctly).
The individual larvae of black soldier flies, which are native to the Americas, can each eat double their weight of garbage every day, according to experts. The farm in Sichuan province then turns the bugs into a high-protein animal feed and their faeces into an organic fertiliser.
“These bugs are not disgusting! They are for managing food waste. You have to look at this from another angle,” said Hu Rong, the manager of the farm near the city of Pengshan.
There’s no shortage of grub for the larvae: Each person throws away almost 30 kilos of food per year in China, a nation of 1.4 billion people.
“On average, one kilo of maggots can eat two kilos of rubbish in four hours,” Hu said.
Hu buys the discarded food from Chengwei Environment, a company that collects such waste from 2,000 restaurants in the city of Chengdu.
One-third of the food produced in the world for human consumption every year — approximately 1.3 billion tonnes — gets lost or wasted, while some 870 million people are going hungry, according to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization.
This waste also exacerbates pollution problems. In a 2011 report the FAO said that if food waste were a country, it would rank behind only the US and China for greenhouse gas emissions.
This business is also hugely profitable. Hu says that they are planning on opening three or four new sites as the money he makes from selling the larvae and fertiliser is very good.
He’s not doing too badly then, saving the world and making a profit out of it what more can you ask for?