The black soldier fly, an industrious creature whose larvae grow to around an inch in size, can break down organic waste up to 30 times faster than regular composting. Jeff Wee, founder of WormingUp, aims to use these insects to help Shell recycle waste at service stations across Malaysia.

“Basically, WormingUp is a social enterprise that aims to close the loop on food waste,” says Wee. “We use black soldier fly larvae to digest organic waste. Any leftover waste becomes organic fertilizer.”

Wee is an alumnus of LiveWIRE, Shell’s enterprise development programme. Launched in 2015, LiveWIRE Malaysia helps entrepreneurs turn their ideas into sustainable businesses, by providing training, resources and access to networks.

The programme looks for areas where local entrepreneurs can work with Shell Malaysia. In 2018, Shell Malaysia saw 16 LiveWIRE-supported businesses participating in their value chain.

Wee competed in Shell LiveWIRE’s Top Ten Innovators Competition in 2018, a global competition for businesses that demonstrate excellence in innovation, winning first place in the Retail Supply Chain category and $20,000 in funding.

WormingUp now works on a recycling programme with a Shell retail station in Kuching and has processed over four tonnes of organic waste. 

LiveWIRE also supports entrepreneurs that do not work directly with Shell. Irene Mositol, a former participant in the programme, founded Dumo Organik, with training from LiveWIRE.

“We grow and sell vegetables and herbs and also collect food waste from our customers and transform it into a compost for our gardens,” says Mositol, who won a local LiveWIRE pitching competition. The company also makes its own pesticide-free insect repellent using herbs from their own gardens.

Dumo Organik now has a steady business collecting food waste from a local hotel chain and selling it on as fertiliser to farms. 

Datuk Iain Lo, chairman of Shell Malaysia, is delighted with LiveWIRE’s progress so far.

“The LiveWIRE programme has been instrumental in our contributions to the community,” he says. “We are happy to be able to connect our social investment goals with Shell Malaysia’s drive to deliver on its local content commitments.”

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