top of page

Sustainability of Black Soldier Fly Farming in Waste Recycling and Feed Displacement

Executive Summary:
This report explores the intricate dimensions of Black Soldier Fly (BSF) farming sustainability, focusing on its potential to outshine traditional farming and waste recycling methods. By dissecting the sustainability implications of both the substrate input and the displaced feed output, this report delves into the nuanced environmental advantages that BSF offers, using real-world examples to illuminate its potential in waste valorisation and feed replacement.

The sustainability paradigm of BSF farming extends beyond mere efficiency; it hinges on two crucial components - the nature of the substrate input and the impact on the market of the outputs that BSF displaces. This report shows how BSF's sustainability prowess unfolds in the context of diverse substrates and the varied feed sources it replaces, offering profound insights into its environmental footprint.

Sustainability of Substrate Input:
The substrate used in BSF farming plays a pivotal role in determining its overall sustainability. While a competing product may yield only marginal advantages, utilising substrates destined for landfills can have a transformative impact. An example lies in brewers' spent grains, a byproduct of beer brewing, with a short 48-hour shelf life. In the UK, currently, 70% is repurposed for animal feed, 10% for less efficient biogas, and a substantial 20% heads to landfills, emitting over 500kg of CO2 per ton. The eco-benefit of BSF production is maximised when reared on grains destined for landfills, underscoring the significance of substrate selection in the sustainability equation.

Feed Displacement Output:
BSF's role in feed displacement is a critical determinant of its overall sustainability. Comparing its efficiency to traditional feed sources, BSF emerges as over 12 times more CO2 efficient than Brazilian soybean meal. In the UK alone, where 2.7 million tons of soybeans are annually imported, with 460,000 tons coming from Brazil for direct animal feed, BSF's potential to reduce carbon emissions becomes evident. Notably, more inefficient feed displacements, such as certain types of chicken protein sourced from spent laying hens as a coproduct of the egg industry, pose challenges to BSF's sustainability credentials as it replaces food not grown specifically for industry with minimal application to the human food industry. BSF's environmental impact is intricately linked to the specific input substrate and the output it replaces in the market.

In conclusion, the sustainability narrative of BSF farming transcends conventional assessments. Its eco-advantages are intricately tied to the judicious selection of input substrates and the targeted displacement of feed outputs in the market. BSF farming's potential shines brightest when it converts substrates destined for landfills, while simultaneously replacing high-impact feed sources like soy and fishmeal. This report not only highlights the nuanced environmental dynamics of BSF but also underscores its pivotal role in redefining sustainable practices in waste recycling and animal feed production.

We have bespoke packages for the UK industry showing how to monetise their surplus feed and/or waste products while making the industry more sustainable. Please contact us for details and to set up an appraisal:



bottom of page