Multi-award winning Canberra-based climate tech startup, Goterra, is reimagining a future where nature and automation work in tandem to solve complex problems like reducing food waste and securing our food supply chain. 

Established in 2016 by Olympia Yarger — a founding Director of the Insect Protein Association of Australia and the ACT’s Australian of the Year in 2023 — Goterra is mitigating food waste by transforming it into alternative proteins and sustainable fertilisers, and helping to combat climate change along the way. 

Goterra is harnessing maggot-based robotic systems to unlock organic waste processing. Its cutting-edge approach diverts waste from landfills and slashes carbon emissions Its core technology is a modular unit which commercialises the processing capacity of black soldier fly larvae using an industrialised robotic system and autonomous process for upcycling food waste into insect protein. The unit can be deployed to major food waste sites such as landfills and supermarkets and the processed waste is upcycled into in-demand agricultural commodities like insect protein and fertiliser.

This insect protein has typically been sold to smaller operators such as poultry farmers or local fish farms, but a new agreement with Skretting — the Australian arm of Nutreco’s aquaculture division and the world’s largest producer of fish feed — presents larger-scale possibilities. This is a large offtake agreement that Goterra expects could be worth in the tens of millions of dollars to at full capacity. 

Currently raising to scale up

Goterra has achieved significant market penetration in the Australian food waste management market and has its eyes firmly set on the $2 trillion of food wasted globally every year.

In support of its ongoing domestic and international scale up, Goterra are currently in the middle of a raise, and are particularly interested in securing a lead investor. The current raise comes after a $8 million Series A in 2020, which was followed by a $10 million bridging round last year. 

Multiple competitive advantages

Goterra’s modular waste management systems have a number of competitive advantages:

  • Cost: it is cheaper for customers than landfill.
  • Simplicity: it is contained in a 20 foot shipping container and can be rapidly deployed at site (avoiding the various risks of competing approaches including social licence issues, long construction periods, supply chain challenges and cost blowouts).
  • Flexibility: the unit can be either centralised (unlocking economies of scale) or decentralised (treating waste on-site at its source avoiding material trucking distances and hence emissions).
  • Unit economics: high margin revenue streams unlock attractive payback periods and debt-supported growth.
  • Emissions: it helps customers reduce emissions both from the food waste (food waste is currently responsible for 8% of global GHG emissions due to the 90% of food waste that ends up in landfill), and the mitigation of inefficient logistics legs, with their associated scope 3 emissions.

Goterra partners with City of Sydney

Goterra has also just signed a deal with The City of Sydney. In a 12-month trial, the company will build a unit in Alexandria to process about 600 tonnes of food scraps from less than 10% of the city’s population of 220,000.

Currently, only 21,000 Sydney residents are able to recycle their food waste, which makes up about one third of general rubbish bins. Those 21,000 residents will now get their food scraps delivered to the Alexandria unit for 12 months starting late this year. Residents of apartment buildings can also submit an expression of interest for their building to join the program.

If the trial is successful, the council hopes it can be extended to all residents in line with the state government’s mandate for councils to provide food and garden waste collections to every NSW household by 2030.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore hopes insects will provide the solution. “We all know that we’re running out of places to take our waste and it’s really important that we’re able to recycle our waste and not only recycle it, but that it can be used for a useful purpose,” he said.

Sydney is believed to be the first major city in the world to use insects to process its waste.

Goterra and Skretting: a win-win for the Australian food system

Goterra’s new partnership with Skretting works to close the waste loop in aquaculture supply chains. The collaboration will drive the upscaling of key technologies needed to cut food waste impacts, while contributing to the sustainable production of Australian farmed seafood: a win-win for the Australian food system. 

As the Australian arm of Nutreco’s aquaculture division, Skretting Australia has been a key part of the Australian aquaculture industry since the 1990s. Over that time, Skretting has been at the forefront of driving feed innovation and sustainability in the Australian market. 

In recent years, Skretting has shown considerable commitment to developing and validating new novel ingredients. The global and local aquaculture industries are large and growing, making it essential that the industry supports the development of novel ingredients, such as insect meals, to commercial scale. 

Without the development and validation of new raw materials, aquaculture simply cannot grow in line with forecast demand. Skretting is working with Goterra to explore ways to validate this material in local aquaculture species. 

Skretting Australia marketing manager Rhys Hauler said, “We are constantly looking for new low-cost, low-footprint ingredients to increase our raw material flexibility; Goterra insect meals offer the potential to deliver on both of these fronts. We see these materials as not only safe and sustainable, but also of a quality that protects the end product, maintaining the nutritional benefits consumers have come to expect from high quality seafood.” 

The foundation of a circular economy

Goterra founder and CEO Olympia Yarger explained, “These are the partnerships that stabilise the foundation of a circular economy. Global business with regional inputs ensure stability of production, sustainability of inputs and ensure that Australian Agriculture continues to deliver high quality produce with feed produced right here in Australia. I could not be more proud to embark on this next stage of our journey.” 

Yarger highlighted the urgent need for food / feed producers to follow in Skretting’s sustainable footprints and find alternative sources of protein, referencing the alarming food production shortfall figures that are forecast to reach 20% by 2050. 

“Collaborating with our offtake customers like Skretting, contributes towards their ambitious ESG targets whilst also closing the loop of this circular value chain,” she added. 

“Circular economies need both clean, source separated inputs as well as long-term, economically sustainable, offtake markets. This collaboration realises the circular economy sustainably.” 

For more on Goterra see and if you are interested in the current capital raise, please contact Justin Frank, Goterra Head of Strategy and Communications at

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