Woolworths to use maggots to break down food waste

Woolworths plan to use Black Soldier Fly larvae to break down food waste at a new facility in Wetherill Park, Sydney.

Sustainability-focused startup Goterra is set to unveil the state-of-the-art facility that houses the insects in high-tech, shipping container-sized units dubbed ‘Maggot Robots’, with Woolworths announced as the new site’s foundation customer.

The larvae can devour vast amounts of food waste, reducing it by 95 per cent in just 24 hours while generating organic fertiliser and nutrient-dense protein meal as by-products, supporting a circular economy.

Laurie Kozlovic, Woolworths 360 Managing Director of Sustainable Impact, said the system is a key piece of infrastructure that will enable Woolworths’ ambition to divert all food waste from landfill.

“While each of our stores has a partnership with a hunger relief charity, some of our food waste can’t be eaten and Goterra’s unique technology provides a low-emissions pathway to save it from landfill.

“We’re pleased to partner with Goterra as its foundation customer, and excited by the future potential of the technology in regional areas where access to composting is limited.”

Goterra’s facility will receive the food waste from Woolworths stores across the Sydney region which isn’t appropriate for hunger relief charities.

Olympia Yarger, CEO of Goterra, said this decentralised model is transformative for Sydney, which produces over 600,000 tonnes of food waste annually, mostly trucked to landfills outside the metro area.

“For too long, food waste has languished in toxic landfills hundreds of kilometres from our cities. Our partnership with forward-thinking partners like Woolworths is helping change that.”

Goterra plan to expand its fleet of modular waste units across the country, providing scalable, decentralised, and emissions-reducing waste solutions.

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