Woolworths has joined forces with Goterra, a startup focused on sustainability, to address food waste from its stores through the use of insects.
Goterra’s new facility, soon to be opened in Wetherill Park, Sydney, will employ Black Soldier Fly larvae to decompose food waste on location, transforming it into organic fertilizer.
The insects will be accommodated in state-of-the-art units the size of shipping containers, known as ‘Maggot Robots.’ These are equipped with sensors to monitor temperature, moisture, and waste levels, automatically modifying conditions to enhance digestion.
In the greater Sydney area, Woolworths will transport food waste that is unsuitable for hunger relief charities to this location. The company has already completed a minor trial of Goterra’s services at its ACT stores in 2020.
Goterra’s CEO, Olympia Yarger, expressed that this decentralized approach is revolutionary for Sydney, a city that generates over 600,000 tonnes of food waste per year, the majority of which is shipped to landfills beyond the metropolitan area.
Yarger emphasised that the traditional practice of dumping food waste in toxic landfills far from urban centres is being altered thanks to progressive collaborations like the one with Woolworths.
Laurie Kozlovic, Woolworths 360 MD of sustainable impact, has hailed the system as a vital part of the infrastructure that will help the retailer attain its goal of redirecting all food waste away from landfills.
Kozlovic also noted that while each store collaborates with a hunger-relief charity, some food waste is inedible. Goterra’s innovative technology offers a solution with low emissions to prevent this waste from ending up in landfills.