Image credit: REUTERS/Thomas Suen


China is testing a unique method for controlling its food waste problem. Billions of cockroaches are being farmed that are fed food scraps by the tonne. The conditions are kept just right for the critters so that they remain healthy and most importantly, retain their insatiable appetite.

As Chinese cities continue to expand, they generate more and more food waste. It becomes a problem for municipal authorities to handle them as landfills struggle to accommodate mounds of food waste.

Outside the Shandong province’s capital Jinan, about a billion cockroaches are fed more than 50 tonnes of kitchen waste per day at the farm operated by the Shandong Qiaobin Agricultural Technology Co. The food waste arrives before daybreak at the farm and is fed to the cockroaches through pipes.

Shandong Qiaobin is aiming to set up another three farms in 2019 as it wants to process a third of the kitchen waste produced by Jinan where some seven million people live. There’s considerable demand for it as food waste can no longer be used as pig feed in China. The nationwide ban was placed due to African swine fever outbreaks. Cockroach farming is now believed to be the next best alternative to getting ride of all of that food waste.

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