University students discover how to turn trash to cash

By - Jul 22nd 2023

Meru University of Science and Technology (MUST) has developed an inbuilt self-sustaining human waste management system that converts waste into commercially viable products. 

The system that uses the black soldier fly (BSF) will see users make money in an environmentally friendly way.

“Providing safe sanitation in the developing world is still a major hurdle to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with 61 per cent of the global population lacking safely managed sanitation services,” the university’s Vice-Chancellor (VC) Prof Romanus Odhiambo said. 

The flies are alive only for a fleeting six weeks but during that time, they lay 500-plus eggs in a single batch, and are fairly indestructible.

“They are known to survive up to two hours submerged in pure rubbing alcohol. They eat in a writhing mound, thousands sharing a single serving of nearly any kind of organic waste,” he said.

“The single most important fact about BSF may be that in the larvae stage, they have the superman-like ability to transform that waste into high-quality protein.”

They are also used as alternative protein additives in animal feed. This translates into an inexpensive, clean, and sustainable food source.

Prof Odhiambo said they came up with the innovation after realising the high expenses of the construction of new toilets, huge water demand and the installation difficulties experienced in densely populated urban areas. 

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