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Start with tons of rotting food waste. Add a gazillion fly larvae. Wait one day. Then harvest biofuel and animal feed, while adding jobs to the community.
That’s Olive Lynch’s plan to achieve financial and environmental success. And with the help of UCEDC’s training and mentorship, she’s getting closer to that goal.
Lynch started Green Waste Technologies two years ago after a lifelong interest in biology turned up an idea to use bugs to recycle food waste. Here’s how it works:
The Black Soldier Fly spends its entire life (five days!) procreating. Its larvae are voracious eaters in order to amass all the energy they will need to survive as an adult fly. Lynch’s idea to efficiently create biofuel and simultaneously reduce waste is a two-fold process.
The first step is to use the fly larvae to consume tons of food waste from restaurants, grocery stores, processing plants or shipping spoilage. As the flies eat, they convert the food waste into oil, which can be extracted and used as biofuel. What’s left of the larvae shells can then become feedstock for chickens and hogs.
The result? Significant savings and environmental advantages including recycling more food waste, reducing the amount of commercial fishing that goes to animal feed as opposed to the human food supply, and producing more biofuels for alternative energy.
“A lot of people have written about this idea and done small scale projects,” Lynch says, “but no one has done it on a large commercial scale. The great thing is that this is a low-tech process that will create entry-level jobs.”
The Plainfield entrepreneur is a recent graduate of UCEDC's Entrepreneurial Training Initiative (ETI), an intensive seven-week business readiness training program, where she welcomed the mentorship and feedback. “I knew this idea was big and I wanted to get as many good ideas and as much help as I could.”
Working with UCEDC has been important to her. “It’s like having your own team of professionals at your disposal. I think it is really important when you work alone to have other people to bounce things off of,” Lynch says. "Erich (UCEDC director of training, Erich Peter) really helped me understand how to assess the value of my company and my efforts and that's kept me from entering into some unwise business relationships."
The ETI program, whose primary goal is the development of a solid and sustainable business plan, can take some credit for Lynch’s most recent accomplishment: winning the business plan contest sponsored by the Central Jersey chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners.
Lynch sees the relationship with UCEDC growing as Green Waste grows. “There’s a connection between you and the people who help you when you first start out,” she says.