From inside an unprepossessing industrial facility in Vancouver’s Strathcona district, entrepreneur Brad Marchant has figured out how to disrupt the avalanche of food waste produced by modern consumer society, and he has found an unlikely ally in this grand environmental mission: the lowly black fly.
Marchant’s 30-employee firm, Enterra, feeds preconsumer food – waste dough, stale bread, bruised or expired produce etc. – to swarms of flies, which produce protein and fat-rich larvae that turn out to be excellent feedstock for the meal or fertilizer used by fish and livestock farms, as well as grain growers. “Insects are mother nature’s cleanup crew,” he says. “There is no waste.”
It turns out that the “cradle to cradle” ideas underpinning Enterra’s process can be used in the design of many consumer goods in our homes and workplaces. From carpets to countertops, takeout containers to ergonomic office chairs, innovative designers are figuring out how to feed “waste” materials, including their own cast-offs and used products, back into manufacturing processes to, in effect, close a loop.