Paul Olivier has had a fascinating and diversified career. Although his Masters and PhD were both in philosophy, he developed major breakthroughs in several fields, such as mineral preparation, vegetable sorting, sustainable agriculture and waste management. In 1981 Paul began designing separators for the reclamation of abandoned mine lands. Five years later Paul invented a unique bi-directional dense medium separator, first used by the largest vegetable processing companies in Europe, and later used by some of the largest recycling companies the world.
In 1995 Paul started refining methods for the cultivation and harvest of black soldier fly larvae, and it was here that his interest in sustainable agriculture was sparked. Since then, he has been researching and developing several other technologies such as mesophilic storage and reduction, thermophilic composting, vermi-composting, micro-gasification, lactic acid fermentation and small-scale animal husbandry. Through the integration of low-cost technologies such as these, Paul is convinced that relatively great wealth can be created for millions of poor people through Vietnam and Asia.
Paul believes that a manager of bio-waste should look more and more like a farmer or someone providing a product or service to a farmer, and a farmer should look more and more like an expert in the management of bio-waste. He sees, therefore, a deep connection between responsible waste management and sustainable agriculture.
But he also believes that this connection should apply to the whole of human waste, both feces and urine. He thinks that we will never achieve true sustainability until we learn to give back to nature in a closed loop everything that she needs to sustain us. This giving back to nature should include, first and foremost, the nutrients within our own waste. When we learn to give back on this level, we are simply fulfilling, perhaps, our first and most important duty as citizens of planet Earth.
Paul believes that when we combine and integrate waste processing technologies correctly, we soon come to the surprising conclusion that almost all types of waste can be recycled at a profit. Instead of viewing waste as a huge liability, he believes that we should see it as a tremendous asset. In fact it can become such a tremendous asset, especially in the hands of poor people, that one day countries such as Vietnam could find themselves in the peculiar position where there would not be enough waste to meet the enormous demand for it.
Paul and his Vietnamese wife, Ly, have been living in Vietnam for almost ten years.