Climate Tech

Food waste climate tech startup Goterrra lands in Queensland

- November 10, 2023 2 MIN READ
CEO and founder Olympia Yarger
CEO and founder Olympia Yarger
Food waste recycling startup Goterra has crossed the border into Queensland in a collaboration with Brisbane’s Howard Smith Wharves precinct.

The deal will see Goterra’s robotic processing plants, which use black soldier fly larvae to eat through food waste, installed at the riverside entertainment precinct under the Story Bridge as part of its drive to be the world’s most sustainable precinct.

Howard Smith Wharves CEO Luke Fraser said they currently divert 96% of waste from landfills by utilising 17 different waste streams.

“Our core sustainability focus is to ensure that waste generated across our venues is separated, segregated and recycled,” he said. 

“By bringing Goterra into our precinct, we are adding another innovative solution to waste streams by harnessing the natural power of insects and transforming waste into fertiliser.”

Food waste accounts for around 3% of Australia’s annual greenhouse gas emissions and 8% globally. 

Fraser said reducing the hospitality sector’s carbon footprint is of global importance and this is an opportunity to set an example

“In Australia, with our goal of reaching net-zero by 2050, we must ensure that sustainability is not just a one-off but business as usual,” he said.

“We have an open-door policy to allow the community to experience our equipment and processes in action to inspire wide-spread adaptation of similar practices.”

Founded in 2016, Goterra now operates across six locations spanning four states. It’s backed by agtech VC Tenacious Ventures and Atlassian cofounder Mike Cannon-Brookes’ family fund Grok Ventures. The company recently landed a $10 million bridging round as it sets up a new factory in Western Sydney to process food waste from Woolies, ahead of a Series B.

CEO and founder Olympia Yarger said the Howard Smith Wharves installation sets a precedent in on-site food waste processing using insects and a new phase in Goterra’s Australian expansion journey.

“Engaging with sustainability-centric partners enables us to transform waste streams into regenerative by-products,” she said.

“Collaborative efforts like this not only address a pressing global issue but also contribute to narrowing the food gap by generating sustainable fertiliser and insect protein.”

Inside the high-tech, shipping container-sized units, dubbed ‘Maggot Robots’, the larvae can devour vast amounts of food waste, reducing it by 95% in just 24 hours.

In just 12 days, the byproduct is garden fertiliser and nutrient dense protein feed for livestock. And its something of a homecoming for the maggots involved: the species hails from Queensland’s Daintree rainforest.

Goterra is also building a $3.5 million processing factory at Wetherill Park, 38km west of Sydney’s CBD. It’s expected to process around 6000 tonnes of food waste annually – waste normally trucked to landfill sites outside the NSW capital’s metro area.

NOW READ: FLYING HIGH: Food waste management innovator Goterra wins Best Sustainability Startup