Thursday, 3 August 2023: An innovative new food waste management system is set to launch in Sydney’s Wetherill Park to transform how the city deals with the thousands of tonnes of food waste generated each week.
Soon to be unveiled by sustainability-focused startup Goterra, the state-of-the-art facility in Wetherill Park harnesses groundbreaking technology to tackle the mounting issue of food waste.
The system uses insects called Black Soldier Fly larvae to break down food waste onsite rapidly, at a large scale. Housed in high-tech, shipping container-sized units dubbed ‘Maggot Robots,’ the larvae can devour vast amounts of food waste, reducing it by 95% in just 24 hours.
This process generates valuable organic fertilizer and nutrient-dense protein meal as by-products, supporting a circular economy. And by handling waste onsite, countless diesel-guzzling truck trips to distant landfills are avoided.
Woolworths will be the new site’s foundation customer, sending the food waste from its stores across the Sydney region, which isn’t appropriate for hunger relief charities. Woolworths has been utilising Goterra’s technology in a small-scale trial across its ACT stores since 2020.
Goterra CEO Olympia Yarger 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,” said Ms Yarger.
The prominent Sydney site, processing over 100 tonnes every week, will immediately create 12 new jobs for locals to Fairfield City Council and provides a blueprint for managing food waste sustainably.
Woolworths 360 Managing Director of Sustainable Impact, Laurie Kozlovic, 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.”
The larvae inside the high-tech Maggot Robots work around the clock, enabling 24/7 waste processing. Sensors track temperature, moisture, and waste levels, automatically adjusting conditions to optimise digestion.
Goterra will continue expanding its fleet of modular waste units across Australia, providing scalable, decentralised and emissions-reducing waste solutions.
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