Newsletter and Technical Publications
<Municipal Solid Waste Management>
1.4.5 Important Problems and questions
Projects for composting and vermiculture must consider
marketing and/or absorption of the product as a priority issue, since
underfinanced municipalities are unlikely to finance them, even if they result
in disposal savings.
A central issue for identification of sound composting techniques in the
poorer countries is whether they should aim for source separation of organics,
or whether manual involvement in sorting and pre-processing of mixed wastes is a
sound approach. Source separation is not feasible on a large scale at present,
because neither the economic nor the environmental motivation is strong enough
among the general public. At the same time, the waste streams at the moment are
so high in organics as to make composting of mixed MSW, if performed on a small
enough or modular scale, a reasonably sound practice. The Jakarta experiments
illustrate the dependence upon manual sorting of mixed wastes to obtain
organics, and this raises the issue of support for waste picking under working
conditions that are unlikely to be healthy.
|Major factors to consider in composting
- Siting: Compost facilities must be reasonably close to the
input stream and the potential users, but must be sited in a way that
is compatible with the desires of the nearby community.
- Input stream: Source-separated organics are best, but this is
not possible in most developing countries. Mixed waste can be
processed to yield acceptable compost.
- Selection of appropriate technology: The technology chosen
must be adequate for the input stream and for the level of economic
development of the country.
- Scale: A smaller-scale facility often facilitates careful
composting and the formation of a good product.
- Market development: Governments generally need to stimulate
the compost market. Quality standards are an important element of
- Existing compost practices using compost from dumps and garbage
dump farming: These traditional activities, while often dangerous,
could in some instances be safe if an adequate testing program were in