Humans in developed and populous cities all over the world need a lot of food to survive while simultaneously producing a lot of waste — especially food waste. As the world’s population only continues to grow, so will the amount of waste we produce.
Green Lab, an agritech incubator and innovation lab in London, collaborates with other startup companies to design sustainable resource and waste systems by using high-end technology.
“As our population goes from where it is now to maybe about 10 billion, how do we feed all the people on the planet with fewer resources, less water, and we’re still going to produce more waste,” asks Andrew Gregson, the founder of Green Lab. “How can we kind of combine those three things in a space like this to learn more and develop, you know, more sustainable products?”
Andrew and his company are setting out to answer these questions through various experiments.
The purpose of the experiments conducted at Green Lab is to find creative yet practical solutions to some of these problems. One project, for instance, has created cost-effective animal feed by taking waste from common businesses such as restaurants and bars, feeding that waste to insects, grinding the fast-growing insects down into a protein powder, and then creating a protein-dense bar that can feed both livestock and pets in a healthier way and for less cost.
They’re also finding ways to turn food waste, such as banana and avocado peels, into economical clothing dyes. Overall, this method would be less taxing on the environment than methods presently used by the dye industry. However, like many of the projects at Green Lab, there is still a long way to go. Researchers have only figured out a select number of hues and have not found a way to make their process widely available or replicable.
Green Lab’s primary goal is not necessarily to find a long-term solution to our current waste problem, but rather to foster ideas and experiments so that hopefully one day something comes to fruition. Gregson hopes Green Lab is just the beginning of a more sustainable future.
“You create a single idea, and then you let it loose,” he says. “If we can replicate this in different cities, fantastic.”
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