GRUB uses insect larvae to convert local food waste into sustainable products such as feed, fertilizer, and oil for biodiesel production.
Describe your idea
There is a growing food waste problem today, and compostables make up about 37% of the materials sent to local landfills. GRUB will be involved in the solution by diverting food waste and adding value to food waste treatment.
GRUB will help Central Texas Food Bank by diverting an average of 30,000 pounds of inedible canned food waste currently being landfilled monthly, using it as a processing operation input and recycling the cans.
We utilize the power of native black soldier fly larvae (BSFL) to efficiently transform food waste into beneficial products. Known as nature's most voracious composters with the ability to convert food scraps with super fast speed, these insect larvae will work for us to help devour the growing problem in our community. BSFL digestion of food waste is efficient, environmentally-friendly, and renewable and we believe it to be the next generation of composting. They are a non-pathogenic, non-pest insect and their process is aerobic and odor-free. We realize the great potential of this concept to rescue and significantly reduce food waste mass, while also providing solutions to other problems in our world today. Using BSFL elevates the use of valuable nutrients found in scrapped food to a higher level than with anaerobic digestion or windrow composting and landfilling, which are mainstream in the industry. What was discarded is preserved as precious nutrients are turned into useful products such as nutrient- rich agricultural feed and feed ingredients, fertilizer (NPK>10%) and oil for high-quality biodiesel production. Black soldier fly larva is a natural source of food for poultry, reptiles, amphibians, fish, and pigs. Offering this product as whole food, feed supplements and feed ingredients makes sense. There is high demand for animal feed products and a growing animal protein deficit on this planet. GRUB provides sustainably-sourced, nutrient-rich feed ingredients as an alternative to resource-exhaustive and unsustainable feed ingredients such as fish meal, soybean meal, and poultry meal. This is a viable, local solution to the unsustainable animal feed industry and it reduces dependence on internationally-sourced ingredients and other raw materials.
This is the simple version of how our business works. We are paid to acquire the food waste, the larvae we farm digest the waste, we harvest, and we divide the harvest into sellable products: feedstuff, fuelstuff, and fertilizer. We post-process, as applicable and we then sell in bulk quantity.
A potential client currently has 400 tons per month of food waste and estimates thousands per month next year, saying, "it's increasing at an increasing rate". GRUB will scale up to meet the challenge, serving many other large waste generators as we grow.
Using this natural composting technology is economically and environmentally sustainable. These extraordinary insects are a key link between waste and resource, and the little buggers will help us build our business.
Describe your knowledge, skills and abilities
GRUB's founders are business-degreed entrepreneurs with decades of experience helping businesses succeed through sales and service. We have a passion for resource stewardship and honor a commitment to a zero waste lifestyle, business operation, and advocacy in support of the City of Austin's zero waste goals.
We have firsthand knowledge of black soldier fly larvae composting and proof of concept. Our food waste has been processed by this fascinating insect for more than two and a half years. We have built relevant skills while experimenting with on-site solutions at various urban farm locations, using BSFL in manure management, offal digestion, pest fly control, and as sustainable chicken feed supplements.
We have the ability to create strategic, synergetic partnerships with other local businesses and have already established relationships with key suppliers for this coming enterprise.
Describe how your idea will utilize materials and create jobs
As an organic waste processor, there will be no shortage of inputs in this metropolitan area, and GRUB specializes in using food waste as its raw material. GRUB will easily utilize a local, difficult-to-employ workforce to pre-process the high volume of food waste, tend to the grubs, and gather food cans for recycling. Various other local waste streams such as spent coffee grounds and brewery waste will be used as feedstock inputs, as well as materials sourced through the Austin Materials Marketplace, many used in our business practices. GRUB will utilize the current, proven business model used by local composting businesses of charging tipping fees for accepting food waste and then processing it into sellable products. The BSFL reproduces exponentially and will create an increasing number of living wage jobs as the biomass of larvae increases and processes an increasing amount of waste.
Describe the environmental impact
Environmental and resource stewardship are among the highest priorities of our enterprise. GRUB will build energy-efficient, green systems and infrastructure. We are a zero waste, zero landfill business which establishes a culture where discarded materials are viewed as resources instead of waste. It makes environmental sense to use nature's technology using black soldier fly larvae composting to process waste. It's efficient, effective, and non-toxic. We have chosen this method of aerobic composting because of it's minimal impact on our environment, as it produces no odors, no methane, no liquid or solid waste, and minimal carbon dioxide emissions. Our concept helps significantly reduce dependency on landfills and traditional composting techniques, where there is considerable loss in valuable nutrients and environmental damage associated with large accumulations of decaying organic material. Black soldier fly larvae are able to digest organic compounds before the compounds have time to decompose.
GRUB protects the world's resources and no water is used in the BSFL farming process. We will collaborate with other local businesses, efficiently access system processes already in place in our local business ecosystem, save energy, and minimize our carbon footprint however possible.
Our method of creating sustainable products from local food waste also eliminates the energy use and other environmental impacts associated with removing, processing, and transporting raw materials.
Describe the product end of life-cycle
GRUB is a responsible producer of consumable products. Whether being consumed by animal for feed, by machine in biofuel production, or by land in the growing of healthy crops, our end products have a definitive end-of-life. GRUB will also work with customers to ensure product packaging will be composted or recycled or, depending on the specific product, returned and reused.
We will help build a vibrant, circular economy in Austin, Texas. GRUB will give back to the Central Texas Food Bank by donating some of our nutrient-rich fertilizer product to help nourish their gardens and orchards.
There are a number of ways to make our enterprise extra profitable. As GRUB grows, multiple phases will be implemented in the business. The primary focus of Phase One is to provide a viable solution for an increasing amount of urban food waste.
GRUB's processes and business growth will continue to be founded on core principles and guided in careful market research. Our product offering and customer base can be expanded as we reinvest profits into the company, potentially involving third-party manufacturers or adding subsidiary business operations which manufacture an increasing number of end products.
Some of the specific substances derived from the black soldier larvae and pupae are fats, lipids, protein, chitin, and chitosan. Viable market potential includes selling these substances in bulk to be used in glues, household cleaning products, hair products, and water treatment (to take heavy metals out of water). There are also various applications of these substances in medicine, dentistry, and the pharmaceutical industry and opportunities for marketable products used in other industries such as in sustainable energy. The applications, while endless, are all rooted in a philosophy communicated by GRUB's founders which prioritizes sustainable processes and products that lead to a high quality of health and life on this precious planet.
This enterprise can also produce live or dried larvae as food for the pet industry, live bait for the angler community, feed for supplementation in aquaculture, feed sold to birders and for use in parks and wildlife preserves, and feed given to zoo animals.
GRUB will also position itself for future involvement in the food system, supplying insect protein, calcium, and other nutrients and products for human consumption. This will help build food security and provides a necessary solution for our growing world population.
There are 198 food banks across the country, with 16 in Texas and an estimated 40 million pounds of food waste is available in total from these entities alone. We will create systems that can be duplicated in other locations.