How flies are helping this Indonesian city manage its organic waste problem

(in photo above) BSF Facility at the Bogor DLH Office. (Photo from Bogor DLH)

Bogor City, Indonesia currently generates an average of 245.92 thousand tons of annual wastes. With a steadily rising population stemming from both its birth rate and migrants coming from outside the city, Bogor is expected by the country’s Ministry of Environment and Forestry to be West Java province’s second largest waste contributor in a few years.

 

To address its expected waste generation growth, the local government of Bogor City created four strategies to improve its waste management system. These include: developing an integrated waste management system; increasing supervision of waste management; increasing appeals to the community to reduce waste; as well as encouraging community, university, and private sector involvement in environmentally-friendly waste management.

 

Among the specific tactics used by Bogor to involve local communities in waste management is public education about Black Soldier Flies (BSF) and its role in addressing organic wastes.

 

BSFs are three times larger than common flies. Known scientifically as Hermetia illucens, farming BSF fly larvae can be used to speed up the decomposition of organic wastes. The final outputs of this decomposition process include fresh and dried protein-rich maggots which can then be used as poultry feed. Moreover, BSF processing also produces biofertilizer byproducts that can support urban agricultural activities.


Cultivating livelihoods from organic wastes

The Siliwangi Waste Bank. (Photo from Dadang Sutarsa)


Averaging a daily waste volume between 800 to 900 kg, the Siliwangi Waste Bank, located in RW 03, Sukasari Village, East Bogor, is one of the areas being assisted by the city’s Environmental Services Office (DLH) in using BSF larvae for organic waste management.


The Bogor DLH has been working with the RW 03 community since 2019 for waste management activities. Initially, the engagement started with waste sorting, but has since evolved to organic waste processing.

 

More than helping the village manage wastes, BSFs have also become a welcome alternative livelihood opportunity for community residents.


Dadang Sutarsa is a community member who helps manage the Siliwangi Waste Bank and has seen how it has evolved over the years.

 

“We initially operated as a waste bank. However, we observed that the area still had a great deal of waste. DLH taught us how to process the organic waste using BSF larvae,” said Sutarsa.

Dadang Sutarsa shows the BSF larvae facility to other community members. (Photo from Dadang Sutarsa)


Sutarsa’s daily routine includes checking the BSF farming facilities in RW 03, making sure that each shelf of the four BSF-housing bioponds are marked with the larvae’s correct maturity date.

 

The BSF facility is relatively tiny at 40 square meters and is run mostly manually. Wheelbarrows are used to transport organic wastes and dry larvae are roasted manually in cooking cauldrons. Still, the Siliwangi Waste Bank can produce up to 100 kg of BSF larvae, up to 80 kg of biofertilizer, and up to 30 kg of dried larvae every week. Tested by the Bogor City Department of Food Security and Agriculture, Sutarsa noted that the roasted larvae contained high levels of protein and nutrients making them ideal as poultry feed.

 

For Sutarsa, BSF farming has provided a more viable means of income for his family versus his previous foray into being a driver. He said “BSF has the potential to generate profits as well as reduce waste. It has provided my wife and I with sufficient income.”

 

E-Ling, which means environment education, is one of the products from the Siliwangi Waste Bank. (Photo from Dadang Sutarsa)


Sutarsa and his community earn an average of IDR 500,000 (around USD 33) a week for live BSF larvae. The average income for dried larvae is IDR 1,500,000 (around USD 99). In addition to supporting the operation of the BSF facility, the income is used to pay the salaries of 11 waste bank workers, including Sutarsa. Meanwhile, the biofertilizers produced are given for free to the communities who support the waste bank by sorting and segregating their wastes.
 

Siliwangi Waste Bank products, called E-ling (which means environmental education), are also distributed throughout various cities in Indonesia, including Pekanbaru, Ujung Pandang, and Surabaya, through social media and marketplaces.

 

According to Sutarsa, “There are currently no difficulties with marketing, but demand for the products are challenging to meet due to the limited infrastructure and facilities, as well as the limited amount of available organic waste.”

 

The Siliwangi Waste Bank can theoretically process up to 200 kilograms of organic waste per day. Currently, it processes 150 kilograms per day.


Strong support from the local government

The success of BSF farming at the Siliwangi Waste Bank has attracted the attention of other communities in the city. In fact, 15 communities have already replicated this effort.

BSF Farming is strongly supported by the Bogor DLH, which has been running its own BSF facility since 2015. According to Budi Santoso, Bogor DLH Special Coordinator for Organic Waste, there are 12 larvae bioponds and two booths for breeding flies at the DLH office. Using this facility, the Bogor DLH can reduce organic waste by up to one ton per day.

“We collect waste from the communities to feed the larvae and many of the communities have started to segregate their waste. We also work with restaurants and cafes to collect their organic scraps,” Santoso explained.

Since 2019, DLH has actively educated Bogor villages about BSFs. The city-owned waste bank was the starting point for a socialization program that encouraged the community to farm BSF larvae at the subdistrict level.

“It is our intention to encourage the community to be independent by building their own BSF breeding facilities,” stated Santoso.

The Bogor DLH strongly recommends BSF farming because it produces faster profits in addition to being effective at reducing organic waste.

Santoso hopes that through BSF Farming and other strategies, Bogor City can achieve a more effective waste management system.

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