The main objective of this activity, developed by the private company Biocomp Nepal in cooperation with non-profit foundation myclimate, is to process organic waste into compost, reducing methane emissions otherwise caused in traditional landfills (methane recovery). myclimate will support this project while exploring the possibility of carbon credit financing in the future. As the capacity of the project is under 10 kilotons of CO2 per year, it tries to register the project as a micro-scale project activity under the Gold Standard. Produced compost is sold to Kathmandu valley farmers, as a soil structure improver. Waste is a major problem in Kathmandu, and organic waste amounts to almost 70% of the total waste.
By composting this organic waste, the waste management problem can be alleviated. Chemical fertilizers, as opposed to compost, are mining the soil and are not available to every potential client due to high prices and irregular availability. Available and affordable natural fertilizer such as compost therefore fulfils an existing need. By closing the loop of organic nutrients, Biocomp promotes sustainable agriculture. The plant collects waste from vegetable markets to produce compost through an aerobic degradation that lasts 4 months (6 weeks to produce the compost and12 weeks to mature it).
Mitigation / Adaptation
In March 2011, a pilot project was started with a highly performing composting facility in the surroundings of Kathmandu. In the first six months of business, it collected more than 140 tons of fresh organic waste from local markets (2 to 3 tons per day) and produced 15 tons of high quality compost, which meets international quality standards regarding nutrient content. In the meantime, the up-scaling process has already begun, namely in the form of the actual project. A new project site for larger capacities has been contracted and the construction of composting facilities will start on September 1st, 2012. The demand of the local market has been analyzed and assessed at 400.000 tons per year (whereby 70% of this amount are produced by the demanders themselves). As far as the CO2 reduction is concerned in average 4070 tons of CO2 per year over the project lifetime and up to a maximum of 7328 tons of CO2 in the year 2022.
The reduction is measured as the difference between what would have been emitted if the project had not been introduced and the actual emissions. The project aims at collecting 50 tons of decayed vegetables and fruit per day by 2015. Out of this amount of organic waste, 7.5 tons of compost are produced daily (yield of 15%).
Social and environmental benefits
The beneficiary community of the project is on the one hand the entire population in and around Kathmandu, since the waste problem is alleviated by the reduction of the amount of waste processed in traditional landfills. On the other hand, farmers profit from the produced compost they can use for their crops. The switch from chemical fertilizers to compost means a more sustainable way of treating the fields.
The social benefits for this project include:
- The waste problem in the city of Kathmandu is alleviated through waste reduction (since the organic part of the waste is now composted). This leads to a better quality of life;
- Methane is produced at uncontrolled anaerobic decomposition at landfill sites, while composting does not produce any such gas. Harmful greenhouse gas emissions are therefore reduced since large amounts of waste undergo controlled decomposition at a solid waste management site. The entire community benefits from this;
- Fertilizers from organic waste are more effective for the health of soil (compost maintains the fertility of the soil in the long run) as well as of humans and therefore benefit the farmers in the region as well as the consumers;
- The Biocomp plant has created 10 high quality jobs for local people. Further jobs (up to 50 in total) will be created during the up-scaling process;
- The site provides jobs for women discriminated by their families and therewith contributes to gender equality.
Potential for scaling-up and replication
As waste is a major problem in many cities of developing countries, the project can potentially be replicated in different places in Nepal or elsewhere. Roughly the plan is to up-scale in three steps after the pilot project (phase 1): the first one (phase 2) is to increase the waste treated to 20 tons per day in 2012, the second one (phase 3) is to increase it further to 50 tons of waste per day by 2015 and the third step (phase 4) is to increase it even further to 80 tons per day a few years later. In order to achieve this higher level of output during the phases 2 to 4, the above mentioned additional plant will be constructed.