Black Soldier Fly in Circular Economy

Black soldier fly is a great recycler. However, this does not mean that black soldier fly farming universally fits into each and every production system in each and every area of the world. There are all kinds of considerations that need to be kept in mind. A recent paper looked at how raising black soldier fly larvae could fit into a circular production system in a heavily agricultural area in Italy.

Frasnetti, E., Sadeqi, H. and Lamastra, L., 2023. Integrating insects into the agri-food system of northern Italy as a circular economy strategy. Sustainable Production and Consumption.

In response to the challenges posed by linear production processes and increasing waste generation, adopting sustainable circular economy strategies is paramount to mitigate environmental impacts. Among these strategies, the valorization of low-value biomass through insect-based bioconversion, particularly with black soldier fly larvae (BSFL) (Hermetia Illucens), has shown promise. This study aimed to evaluate the environmental benefits of a potential BSFL bioconversion system in the Emilia Romagna region, which is renowned for its substantial food residue generation, applying the life cycle assessment (LCA) methodology. A scenario analysis with secondary literature data for insect rearing, structure and processing was conducted. Results indicate that while BSFL bioconversion shows promising outcomes in some environmental impact categories, such as land use, it may not always outperform conventional waste treatment methods or animal feed and biodiesel alternatives in the market. To enhance the environmental performance of BSFL bioconversion at the regional level, attention should be given to structural components and energy efficiency. Additionally, using mixed substrates, including less valued meat residues, appeared to be a more promising approach for optimizing the sustainability of a BSFL bioconversion system as they can increase the productive efficiency of the structure. The legislative approval of utilizing meat residues in insect farming warrants, therefore, meticulous consideration, and further research is needed to guarantee its safe incorporation into insect diets.