China Using Cockroaches For Food Waste 🪳: In this blog, we talk about everything you need to know about cockroach farms dedicated to combat food waste. Read on to learn more. 


Never in my life would I think of even covering this, but here we are. Shivers keep going down my spine whilst writing this – plenty of other people would, too!

In a dark, secluded area, cockroaches, millions upon millions of them, scamper and fly across that particular area – doing one thing we do not usually expect them to do.

You might only associate them with other creepy bugs and insects you would not want to see inside your house. I, for one, initially only associated them with uber-dirty bathrooms and icky, slimy kitchens, uncleaned for an already-undetermined amount of time.

However, cockroaches do have a lot of uses, especially in the eastern parts of the world such as China. When you mention cockroach in that country, you definitely would not hear of it as something of a lingering, unremovable pest. Instead, it would be associated with medicine.

China has taken this up a notch and introduced more of cockroaches’ use to the world: dealing with food waste. This bears similarity to a blog that I wrote a while back wherein we talk about the effectiveness of transforming food waste into feeds intended for animals.

Below, we elaborate further on China using cockroaches for food waste and more. Read on to learn more – if your gut can handle reading more of this, of course!


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China using cockroaches for food waste: a (not-so) common theme?

Cultivating cockroaches for a specific role is already common in China. Large facilities in China houses cockroach farms, mainly using them for medicine. An example of this is ‘Good Doctor’ – they grind up billions of these critters each and every year and use them for Chinese medicine.

Using cockroaches for cures is not something new. Plenty of hospitals in China have and use a cream made from finely-powdered cockroaches to treat patients with nasty burns. In addition, they also have and use a syrup made from cockroaches to treat the symptoms or alleviate the pains of gastroenteritis.


More medical uses

Aside from those mentioned above, they are used to treat and heal acquired scars. More importantly, cockroaches can also treat more severe cases that a human can experience such as tumours. To further elaborate, it can shrink tumours to an insignificant level.


Other uses

Not only are they used for medicine, but they are also even eaten there! The Chinese people prefer eating the American cockroach, a tasty delicacy there. Just give them good ol’ double frying in hot oil as to give it the extra crunchiness and/or crispiness outside and cheese-like texture inside. Give it more of a kick with some chili!


Kitchen waste problem solved

Aside from what I have already mentioned above, cockroaches apparently have another use now: eating food waste.

There is currently an ongoing project in Zhangqiubei, near the eastern city of Jinan in China that houses a cockroach farm different from other farms. This project mainly uses cockroaches for animal feed.

The process itself is simple: cockroaches are first cultivated in a deep, cavernous area with plenty of tight corridors and shelves – with all of the area deprived of light. The place itself is quiet. Amidst the deafening silence, however, are little critters known as cockroaches scurrying about in walls and ceilings, eating to their heart’s content. Then after enough times of feeding, they are turned eaten by animals such as pigs, ducks, chickens and goats as animal feeds. In other words, after they eat food waste, they become animal feed for farm animals. China using cockroaches for food waste is a very good example of a circular, sustainable economy.


China’s cockroach farm to combat food waste: more details

As mentioned, this is cockroach farm or nest on a large scale. The farm contains huge hangars with a somewhat-complex, rowed pipe system that drops all kinds of food waste coming from different restaurants onto the mentioned shelves for the cockroaches to consume.

Not only does the farm deprive itself of light, but it also has maintained temperature in the high 20s and a bit constraining humidity, just comfortable enough for the roaches to live and thrive in. As a result, billions of cockroaches eat around 50 tonnes of food waste from kitchens instead of going into landfill – a very welcome development, indeed.

The project head Li Yanrong had this to say to ABC News:

“If we can farm cockroaches on a large scale, we can provide protein that benefits the entire ecological cycle.

“We can replace animal feeds filled with antibiotics and instead supply organic feed, which is good for the animals and the ground soil.”


China using cockroaches for food waste: is it possible in Australia?

Now, we, of course, already know the waste problem we have here in Australia. Food waste, in particular, is something that continues to linger in the Oz up until this day. More than 7 million tonnes of food waste, sadly, ends up in landfill, according to Australian Government figures.

We wonder, after all, if the cockroach farm in China intended to deal with food waste, can also work in Australia. Again, taken from ABC News:

Mr Li is knowledgeable about Australia’s agricultural conditions and is aware that food waste in Australia largely ends up in landfill.

He thinks the farming process of giving food waste to cockroaches to feed animals for human consumptions could potentially work overseas.

“The ecological cycle is so important, not just locally but worldwide,” he says.

YouTube video


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