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July 2023 — Ongoing

Project Collaborator: Applied Entomology Lab

Japan imports around 90% of its fertilisers used for food production, leaving it dependent on foreign resources. At the same time, over 5 million tonnes of food is wasted each year. We see an opportunity to gradually replace imported fertilisers by harnessing the nutrients from food waste.

We are prototyping a system for restaurants called TabeMaru that hosts a colony of black soldier flies (known as BSF) which turn food waste into organic fertiliser. After placing food scraps in self-contained, on-site units, the BSF larvae quickly and efficiently decompose the waste, resulting in up to a 95% reduction in volume thus negating the need for frequent disposal. The system detects when the processed matter (frass) is ready and automatically separates it from unprocessed food. The system then facilitates shipping the frass to farms where it can be used to fertilise new crops.

By closing the loop between production and consumption, we aim to reduce the reliance on imported fertilisers and foster greater agricultural resilience in Japan. 

TabeMaru Service Blueprint

BSF Service Blueprint_edited.png

The unit is designed to be desirable in a restaurant environment: adult BSF will be hosted and displayed in a terrarium-like environment. Food waste first enters a composting area of the unit where the larvae quickly turn it into frass. The unit then mechanically separates the bottom layer of frass which falls into a collectable package ready to be labelled and shipped.


The service matches frass produced in a restaurant with particular farms: an onboard program estimates the potential output from the restaurant and matches it with farming activities requiring a similar quality of organic fertiliser.

TabeMaru Processing Unit

Project Timeline

BSF Timeline.png

September 2023

Started collaboration with the Applied Entomology Lab

December 2023

Built a full scale prototype of the processing unit 

January 2024

Received the first BSF colony from our partner

March 2024

Completed first full lifecycle of BSF inside prototype unit 

Mid 2024

Run the first trial in which our prototype unit is installed within a canteen at the University of Tokyo

Mid–Late 2024

Develop relationships with local farms to test the fertiliser we produce

Early 2025

Deploy a unit capable of sustaining the BSF lifecycle and processing food waste without supervision

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