Transforming Food Waste Into Wonder

Creative techniques that repurpose food waste into a range of valuable products are giving even fruit peels and fish scales a new lease on life.

New recipes for composting success

One of the most popular ways to recycle food waste is through composting—activating the metabolic activities of microbes to turn organic matter into fertilizer to revitalize soil with loads of nutrients.

Given the huge upsides to composting, innovators are embarking on a mission to make the process even more efficient and accessible. Several startups including India-based Loopworm, Indonesia-based Magalarva and Philippine-based LimaDOL are exploring the use of black soldier fly larvae to crunch through food waste. Not only are these critters monster decomposers, but they can also find themselves on the menu to feed livestock.

On Taiwan’s shores, Tetanti AgriBiotech needs just three hours to 500 kilograms of compost using novel enzyme-powered technology. By forgoing the need for living microbes, the method also emits much less carbon dioxide and methane while generating about 30 tons of fertilizer from 100 tons of food waste daily.

Meanwhile, another Taiwan-headquartered startup Bionicraft developed the earthworm-powered Biovessel to double as a compact composting kit and a fancy plant pot for urban homes. From cooking to composting, families can now play an integral part in food waste reduction by making it a part of an everyday routine.

By infusing new life into food waste, these innovations are set to thwart the vicious cycle of extreme wastage, food insecurity and environmental damage. With a more sustainable food system in place, countries can feed more and lose less, whipping up economic value and social impact in the agrifood sector and beyond.

This article was first published in the January 2022 print version of Asian Scientist Magazine.

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Copyright: Asian Scientist Magazine. Illustration: Lam Oi Keat/Asian Scientist.
Disclaimer: This article does not necessarily reflect the views of AsianScientist or its staff.

Erinne Ong reports on basic scientific discoveries and impact-oriented applications, ranging from biomedicine to artificial intelligence. She graduated with a degree in Biology from De La Salle University, Philippines.

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