From food waste to fly larvae: the company changing the way we think about bugs

Renowned environmentalist Dr. David Suzuki teamed up with entrepreneur Brad Marchant to create Enterra, an organization that aims to simultaneously solve both global food waste and nutrient shortage issues. Enterra is working to close the broken food system cycle by using organic waste to create animal feed – but not for pigs or chickens. The organization uses food scraps as feed for black soldier flies, whose larvae are used as fertilizer, fish feed, or farm animal feed.

The larvae produced by Enterra may help to replace traditional crop feed stocks, which require a high amount of resources and land to grow. Larvae provide a sustainable, nutrient-rich protein with a much lower ecological footprint.

“Our mission is to secure the world’s food supply,” Enterra’s Victoria Leung said in an interview with The Langley Times. 

Enterra’s products: dried black soldier fly larvae (left) and larvae meal (right) from http://www.enterrafeed.com/products/feed-ingredients/

Based in Vancouver, Enterra’s products can be purchased dried, powdered, live, or in oil form. The black soldier flies are farmed in a hatchery, fed with diverted organic food waste, and their larvae are processed on site. The company also helps to maintain Vancouver’s Zero Waste policy by accepting organics from a variety of sources including grocery stores, farms, and greenhouses.

By closing the food waste loop, recycling nutrients, and creating sustainable protein, Enterra is forging a path for a sustainable food system. However, if you live in Canada, you may have a hard time accessing Enterra’s products. As of now, the company only ships to the USA and Europe; they are still waiting, four years later, to be approved by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

To read more about Enterra’s mission and products, visit their website here.

 

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Love Food Hate Waste in Metro Vancouver

Love Food Hate Waste

The campaign Love Food Hate Waste, initially started by WRAP in the UK, has now taken off in Canada.  Metro Vancouver has in many ways already proven it is ahead of the pack in terms of tackling food waste by banning it from landfill beginning this year (see earlier posts), and now it’s raising awareness and educating on food waste prevention. The campaign does this mainly by helping residents understand proper food storage techniques as well as recipes and techniques for dealing with leftovers and hard-to-finish foods, but also creates a platform for the sharing of users’ tips and ideas.Check out Love Food Hate Waste today, and maybe you’ll find some inspiration for yesterday’s rice.

Oh, and I’m all about their funny posters:

Smiling as we throw out food

While researching organic waste collection programs across Canada I found this photo:

This photo made me disconcerted. It was from a presentation given at a conference entitled, “On the Road to Zero Waste: How Two of North America’s Leaders are Succeeding.”  Nova Scotia was being held up as a shining example of how to crack down on waste. The province certainly has been a forerunner in waste by banning all compostable and recyclable materials from landfill.  One huge area where regulations have made an impact is in the commercial sector. Many municipalities have good success with residents adopting the organic waste “green cart,” but the commercial sector can be a whole other story. That’s why this photo is included in the presentation, and I get it – it’s not always easy to get businesses to participate in waste diversion programs. But what irks me about the photo is she is happily throwing away what appear to be completely safe and tasty Timbits.

We don’t like seeing food become waste.  However, that doesn’t mean we just squirm a little in our seats thinking about food in landfill and then pat ourselves (or Tim Horton’s) on the back for ‘doing the right thing’ and composting like in this photo. Composting is better than the landfill, but it isn’t a panacea: it doesn’t erase the energy, time, labour, and money that went into producing the food. Municipal composting isn’t free, and large scale composting facilities have steep financial and environmental costs. Seeing composting as the best solution ignores the waste hierarchy that most municipalities across Canada hold as the guide to waste reduction and management.

http://www.thinkeatsave.org/

Diversion is good, but it isn’t the best option and municipalities seem to pay lip service to waste prevention and reuse (or food sharing and donation) while directing finances and energy into composting. Municipalities direct residents not first to reduction or sharing or even the backyard composter or worm bin but to the municipal program.The City of Kingston’s website says “If you can eat it, it can go in the Green Bin.” Really the message should be if you can eat it, eat it, then feed your animals or worms your organic non-edibles. Food that is unspoiled is better off in the compost than the landfill, but one step better is for it not to be created and if there is potential waste the first option to be explored should be revaluing as food (although one could make a case that Timbits are hardly food to begin with).  Keeping in line with the waste hierarchy businesses and residents should firstly try to reduce the excess they produce, but when there is unspoiled food about to be thrown out they should put it to use, with food banks willing to accept it or organizations like Second Harvest that use food rescue as a means to combat hunger.

When we stop congratulating businesses for the edible food they compost and instead prevent it from winding up in the waste bin at all, multiple problems are solved at once. Businesses save money by reducing their waste, improve their reputation by helping out the needy, less energy and money is spent on waste transportation and processing, and those in need don’t go hungry. Metro Vancouver has issued a ban similar to Nova Scotia; however, it is making a point of directing businesses to organizations that accept food donations as well as protecting and informing businesses about legality of donating food. Efforts like those in Metro Vancouver offer some hope that a shift is coming. It is time that food waste realities line up with our supposed priorities, to put our money where our mouths are…or perhaps food waste where our mouths are.

2015 food waste bans: West Coast edition

As of January 1st 2015, Seattle and Metro Vancouver have both banned the disposal of food waste in order to increase diversion rates and save landfill space.

Enforcement is one part of the story:

“Recology CleanScapes driver Rodney Watkins issues a red tag — the scarlet letter of food waste in Seattle.” -Amy Radil/KUOW

Education and innovation are equally important strategies, and Metro Vancouver provides many options for different types of waste generators:

“How you can support the ban on food in the garbage” -Metro Vancouver

“Recycle food scraps at your building or business on-site with organics management systems” – Metro Vancouver

Food waste in Metro Vancouver

We (Kate Parizeau and Mike von Massow) attended a series of meetings on food waste hosted by the Metro Vancouver regional government earlier this summer. Metro Van has been very active in working to reduce food waste, including banning the final disposal of organic waste at landfills and transfer stations as of 2015. Presentations from the Regional Food System Roundtable (June 19, 2014) can be found here:

http://www.metrovancouver.org/planning/development/AgricultureAndFood/Pages/RegionalFoodSystemStrategy.aspx