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East Africa
Sustainability

Turning Trash to Treasure

The solid waste management infrastructure across East Africa has remained largely underdeveloped with the majority of the waste generated across the region. Solving this problem would need a collective action from a larger waste management ecosystem. BASF East Africa with the support of BASF Starting Ventures and Terra-Safi Waste Recovery Solutions Limited have partnered to provide a solution - In-vessel decentralized composting - that will support the development of the region's waste management infrastructure.

Waste management is one of the most crucial pillars that support our society’s sustainability agenda. The solid waste management infrastructure across East Africa has remained largely underdeveloped with the majority of the waste generated across the region ending up in sometimes legal and often illegal landfills. These landfills are not only an eyesore, but they also provide fertile ground for disease-causing organisms to breed while the organic waste creates massive air pollution. Solving this problem would need a collective action from a larger waste management ecosystem.

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BASF East Africa with the support of BASF Starting Ventures and Terra-Safi Waste Recovery Solutions Limited have partnered to provide one such solution- In-vessel Decentralized Composting-that will support the development of the region's waste management infrastructure. Decentralized composting refers to a concept where a specific neighborhood diverts and composts biowaste in a controlled environment. This project is based in Diani along Kenya’s coastline. Diani is a major tourist destination, attracting both international and domestic tourists allured by the town’s sandy beaches. However, the large influx of visitors also presents a major waste management challenge because the existing infrastructure is not designed to handle the ever-increasing volume of tourists visiting the region. Organic waste is particularly a big problem with the smell of rotting food waste in overfilled bins and illegal landfills across the beach creating an unpleasant experience for both the locals and tourists alike.

The proposed In-Vessel Decentralized composting facility will allow for the collection and composting of this biowaste to create useful by-products that will benefit the local community. The biowaste will be collected in Ecovio®-based bags that will allow for ease of handling while also taking advantage of the bag’s compostable properties to turn the waste into compost that can be used to enhance food production across the region at a much lower cost.

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Aside from the waste management benefits, the project will also create secondary benefits for the local community. These includes jobs for the youth, women, and other marginalized communities in the region; it will support the reduction of soil depletion with the use of organic compost and allow for the introduction of new technology that will boost investment in the region.

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The project is designed to be Diani’s trash to treasure story that will transform communities in the region while also designing the manual of how organic waste management should be done, from which other communities in East Africa, and across the world could learn from, creating a better more sustainable future for us all.