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GrubCycle

GrubCycle

Competition Year: 2011


Summary
Enabling community members of the Kibera slum in Nairobi to profit by converting organic waste to animal feed. This will both reduce neighborhood waste and increase personal income.

Categories
Water and Sanitation Finance and Entrepreneurship Agriculture and Processing



Quick Links


Our Pitch

More of a visual person? Take a look at our short slideshow: http://www.slideshare.net/mitideas/grubcycle

Need:

Inadequately managed organic waste in the largest African slum, Kibera, located in Nairobi, poses a major public health hazard by contaminating water supplies, attracting disease vectors and contributing to air pollution. Our community partner runs a program called Taka ni Pato (Trash is Cash), through which 35 local youth collect and sort household waste, and sell recyclables. Organics, which make up over 70% of the collected waste, are viewed as valueless and discarded.

Innovation:

GrubCycle enables local entrepreneurs to farm Black Soldier Fly (BSF) larvae from organic waste. To produce optimal yield in tight urban spaces, we are designing a commercial BSF-farming system with temperature control, passive harvest and vertical modular design. Local entrepreneurs will operate GrubCycle franchises using the systems and sell BSF larvae as animal feed. Each GrubCycle franchise earns about $8 a day (compared to the average wage in Kibera, $1 a day), covering the cost of the system within one month of operation.

Long-Run Impact

GrubCycle creates an enormous incentive for Kibera residents to take waste management into their own hands by enabling them to simultaneously generate income and improve public health.


Impact

This summer, we will pilot 2 systems, serving 300 people and processing 50kg of waste per day each day.

Problem

Incentivize indoor sanitation through waste-based business

Challenge

2011 MIT School of Engineering “Global Villages” Challenge

Who We Are

Caroline Hunting (chunting@mit.edu) is a senior in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Caroline also contributes strong design, prototyping and project management skills to the project. At a young age, Caroline became interested in international development after living in various locations throughout the world and witnessing impoverished conditions firsthand. Specifically, her interest in waste management arose while she was volunteering in Cape Town, South Africa, where she taught English to underprivileged children at a local school and helped to update the human waste disposal system. She also has valuable experience with environmental chemistry and biology lab, including experimental design.

Scott Landers (scottl@mit.edu) - Scott Landers is a sophomore in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. His main passions are water and sanitation solutions and alternative energy studies. Having lived on a family farm in Texas for 20 years, Scott is well experienced in Agricultural practices. The Black Soldier Fly is a native species in Texas and grows readily on his farm, so he's been around this species before. His role in the GrubCycle team is Lead Designer/Builder. Having amassed years of building experience (everything from a 7,000lb, 30ft trailer to a 50ft by 80ft barn), he will be in charge of optimizing the design and bringing it to life. He is committed to finding simple, low-tech solutions for the major problems that plague the world. After graduation, he will serve a term in the Peace Corps to further his commitment, as he says, “to get my hands dirty and change the world.”

Connie Lu (connielu@mit.edu) - Connie Lu is a senior in Environmental Engineering and Urban Planning. She has studied municipal waste management in the US, Latin America (and now Kenya), and recently helped to write a proposal for waste management in the South Atlantic Coast of Nicaragua. Blessed with a strong stomach, Connie has participated in and led waste sorts in the US and Nicaragua. She has also researched and visited a wide range of municipal waste collection, separation and processing facilities. Through an internship with Quetsol, a for-profit start-up that sells solar lighting and cell phone charging kits in Guatemala, Connie gained a first-hand understanding of how an emerging market start-up functions. Having taken D-Lab: Design, she has a strong grasp on the process and unique requirements of design for developing countries. Connie has been heavily involved with D-Lab since her freshman year. She intends to continue studying at MIT for her M.Eng degree during the 2011-2012 academic year, and to contribute to GrubCycle through her M.Eng project, and hopefully, the Legatum Center.

Benji Moncivaiz (benmonci@mit.edu) is a senior in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, focusing in structural engineering. His experience in design has materialize in a pedal-powered, horizontal-axis washing machine while working in MIT's D-Lab and a wheelchair-attachable, folding basket while in the senior design course, 2.009. Other projects in his cross-departmental curriculum, including yo-yos, small street-sweeping and hopping robots have taught him how to move from 16 conceptual design to reality by considering ease of manufacture, ergonomics, efficiency of production, and ease of assembly. Living in Mexico as a child has shaped his aspirations towards serving the impoverished in his career, so he currently works with Sanergy where he focuses on the design, construction, and maintenance of the ferrocement latrine unit to be built in Kenyan slums. Putting his experience in manufacturing together with his on-the-ground exposure to Kenyan capabilities will be critical to appropriately designing the GrubCycle system so it can go from prototype to product.

Coyin Oh (coyin@mit.edu) - Coyin Oh is a freshman from Malaysia majoring in Biology. Her parents grew up in squatter settlements in Malaysia's largest city, and this has given her a good understanding of slum dwellers and resource-poor urban settings in the country. She became interested in sanitation-based projects after spending a month at a remote village in northern Mexico this January to introduce local schoolchildren to engineering-related activities that focus on water and personal hygiene. After returning from Mexico, she began taking a class called D-Lab: Disseminating Water/Sanitation/Hygiene Innovations to gain a better understanding of water-related issues and solutions. Coyin hopes that her knowledge in Biology and her experiences of coming from a multicultural developing country could add diversity to the team and contribute to actual ground testing work in Nairobi this summer.

Our Community Partner

Partner Name

Carolina for Kibera and Sanergy

Location

Kibera, Nairobi, Kenya

Description

Carolina for Kibera (CFK) has partnered with other NGOs to form Taka Ni Pato (Trash is Cash). Taka ni Pato (TNP) promotes a mission of building capacity for effective, community-run solid waste management systems in select Nairobi slums.


Location:

  • Service Location
    Kibera Slum, Kenya
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Comments and Support

  • Hi, my name is Nick from nairobi, Kenya and I find what you are doing extremely interesting. I have been trying on my farm to recycle waste and read on the Black Soldier Fly. I cant seem to find any local sources of the flies. Any chance you could point me in the right direction? I also do prefab housing if that in any way can help your current project helping our people. All the best. Nicholas Kagia nkagia@yahoo.com

    Posted by N. Kagia on Sat, Dec 10th 2011, 12:00 Report Abuse


  • Hi, we have been working with Hermetias for some time now trying to solve waste problems in small communitys, and there are times we find a problem of deaths once they are larvae. It seems as if they come sticki and a few days later they die. would you know anything on this? Have you in any instance had death problems with the larvae? It is good to know there are other people trying to solve waste problems this way. thanks very much Alberto

    Posted by Alberto Perez on Sun, Oct 30th 2011, 06:40 Report Abuse


  • Thanks for the innovative approach to solve the solid waste management as you create employment opportunities. Kindly FOUNTAIN YOUTH GROUP is a registered community based organization in Kenya and operates in Githurai. The area has high level of unemployment and massive solid waste lying in the community, kindly assist the group to develop smillar model of BSF to create employment for the local youths and reduce solid waste lying in Githurai hence making our community free from insecurity, outbreaks and odor. Kindly respond

    Posted by JOSEPHAT BWIRE on Mon, Jun 6th 2011, 04:13 Report Abuse


  • Thanks for the innovative approach to solve the solid waste management as you create employment opportunities. Kindly FOUNTAIN YOUTH GROUP is a registered community based organization in Kenya and operates in Githurai. The area has high level of unemployment and massive solid waste lying in the community, kindly assist the group to develop smillar model of BSF to create employment for the local youths and reduce solid waste lying in Githurai hence making our community free from insecurity, outbreaks and odor. Kindly respond

    Posted by JOSEPHAT BWIRE on Mon, Jun 6th 2011, 04:12 Report Abuse


  • Hey everyone, Awesome project! My partner and I are working on a simular project. I think your francise model is excellent. I live in Australia and have been in contact with goodreturn.org a micro finance institution for Asia Pacific (like your kiva.org) for distributing this technology. I would love to talk further about your progress, methods and general experience. Be in touch. Andrew

    Posted by Andrew Bakonyi on Thu, May 19th 2011, 09:14 Report Abuse


  • Hi Kuria! Thanks for your message. We would like to keep in touch with you too, and when you get back in June, feel free to email us at grubcycle@mit.edu! Regards, Coyin

    Posted by C. Oh on Sun, May 1st 2011, 14:18 Report Abuse


  • Guys i have visited your projects in Kibera but currently at Growing Power, Milwaukee.This is where am trying to learn about the BSF,aquaponics and micro-greens.I got interested in BSF project,checked whether there is anybody in kenya who is doing it and got you.I will call you in June when I get back regards. Kuria

    Posted by kuria gathuru on Fri, Apr 22nd 2011, 00:24 Report Abuse


  • Awesome pitch tonight, Connie!

    Posted by K. Mytty on Tue, Mar 29th 2011, 19:56 Report Abuse


  • Hey there, exciting project! Welcome to the Global Challenge - let us know if you have any questions. Otherwise, good luck!

    Posted by L. Hasselblad Torres on Fri, Feb 25th 2011, 00:49 Report Abuse


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