Larvae Food Waste 🍎: Brisbane has recently joined the likes of Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra as it introduces a new and unique recycling program that involves feeding the ever-problematic food waste to larvae. Want to learn more about it? Continue reading below as we discuss how the larvae-eating food waste program came about, how the process works and how this can help us fight off food waste.

We have talked about letting insects eat food waste instead of irresponsibly disposing of them before. If you, as one of our readers, remember, I wrote a piece a while back about cockroaches in China eating food waste (which I certainly think many of you would not like to picture in their heads, at all).

Well now, we have another insect-eating food waste program operating here in Australia!

If you’ve read about the black soldier fly waste management blog by us here at Waster, you would know why they use it to dispose of waste. Here are a few examples:


Benefits of black soldier fly larvae

  • They eat the food waste we produce. Black soldier fly larvae play a crucial role in waste management by consuming large quantities of organic food waste, particularly fruit and vegetable scraps. Their ability to also consume manure and offal, with a preference for organic waste over standard poultry feed, highlights their effectiveness. This discovery signifies a promising and sustainable approach to waste reduction, benefiting the broader community.


  • Black soldier flies can easily be managed. Contrary to negative perceptions associated with common flies, the black soldier fly stands out as a beneficial insect. Unlike typical flies, these insects do not transmit diseases to humans, as they lack a mouthpiece. Furthermore, adult black soldier flies do not consume food. This unique combination of characteristics makes them a promising candidate for future larvae food waste eating farms dedicated to waste management and feeding purposes, offering a manageable and non-threatening solution.


Other useful benefits

  • We can also use their larvae as fertilisers. Black soldier fly larvae can be used as fertilisers through a process of vermicomposting, where they consume organic food waste and produce nutrient-rich compost. The harvested larvae can serve as protein-rich feed for livestock, while the composted residue, known as frass, becomes a valuable soil conditioner. This eco-friendly approach not only helps manage organic waste but also contributes to sustainable agriculture by offering natural fertilizers.


  •  Black soldier fly larvae can convert organic waste into protein by eating food waste. Moreover, the black soldier fly larvae play a dual role in waste management and protein production. By converting the organic waste they consume into protein, they contribute to the overall sustainability of the farming process. This transformation positions them as a high-quality protein source suitable for feeding aquaculture, highlighting their versatility and environmental benefits in the broader context of agricultural practices.

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For these very reasons, Brisbane has also decided to begin a recycling program to use black soldier fly larvae to deal with food waste. Below, we’ll cover more about this interesting news, so we suggest that you continue reading to learn more.


More on larvae food waste in Brisbane QLD

As we have already mentioned above, Brisbane is launching a recycling initiative that has gained traction in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra and is now also drawing the interest of Australian airports.

Last week, Howard Smith Wharves unveiled an identical shipping container filled with black soldier fly larvae.

The larvae, characterized by their vitality and, significantly insatiable hunger, are bred with a daily mandate. The larvae’s responsibility involves the consumption of a substantial volume, ranging from 1 to 1.7 tonnes, of food waste, meticulously collected from the precinct’s diverse assortment of restaurants and cafes.

Conforming to established procedures observed by other enterprises specialising in the utilisation of waste-consuming insects, the residual food waste byproducts resulting from the larvae’s culinary endeavours will undergo a systematic transformation.

Through an eco-friendly sound process, these remnants will be repurposed into valuable commodities such as nutrient-rich fertilisers and pellets designed for the supply of poultry.

Howard Smith Wharves houses the first Queensland site for Goterra – a Canberra start-up supported by billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes, the one that introduced the insects to Barangaroo in Sydney and to Melbourne Airport.

Justin Frank, the company’s head of strategy, said the Brisbane trial was based in a highly modified unit the size of a shipping container. “Each container can process up to 1.7 tonnes of waste a day, depending on the waste composition,” he said.


How does larvae eating food waste help?

As we have stated above, the larvae eat the food waste and then excrete a substance called frass, which is both a fertiliser and food for stock, mainly chickens.

“They [the larvae] will eat mostly anything, but they can’t have big, dense bones,” Frank said, adding that the company’s Brisbane site was similar to that in Sydney.

“The Lendlease Barangaroo site has multiple restaurants and cafes … so it is similar,” he said. “But there is a lot of coffee at that site, so it is a slightly drier substate.”

The continuation of the process involves turning leftover food into a gooey paste by putting it in a special machine. Robots inside the machine give this food waste to the hungry larvae in a paste-like form. After about 12 days, the insects, at the end of their lives, are taken out and can be used as feed or to make the soil better.

The process continues by adding new larvae to the machine. Howard Smith Wharves, inspired by Goterra’s work at Barangaroo, already stops 1500 tonnes of waste from going to the landfill each year through different projects.


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