“Waste is a resource with which waste pickers and local entrepreneurs earn income and local government saves costs”
UN ESCAP is promoting the Integrated Resource Recovery Centre (IRRC) approach as it holds the potential to recycle about 90% of solid waste from the municipal solid waste stream. The baseline surveys conducted in several cities in Asia-Pacific has showed that only 10% of the solid waste generated in cities need to be sent to the landfill while the remaining waste can be converted into valuable resource. The majority organic waste fraction can be converted to compost/bio gas and the recyclables can be recovered and sold to junk dealers. The approach promoted by ESCAP recognises and acts upon the crucial part played by source separation of waste, as without it, resource recovery from waste is next to impossible.
The IRRCs are built and operated at low cost using simple technology using manual labour, thereby creating jobs to urban poor and waste pickers. An IRRC can be designed to treat 2-20 tons of waste per day.
For processing one ton of waste an IRRC requires:
- > 150 – 200 sq.m of land
- > USD 15,000 -20,000 of capital investment
- > Operational costs amounting to 15% of the capital costs yearly
- > Trained workforce to operate the plant
- > Community mobilization for source separation
By processing one ton of waste an IRRC:
- > Creates 2 – 3 jobs for waste pickers
- > Produces 0.20 tons of good quality compost
- > Produces 40 -80 cubic meter of bio gas (240 – 480 kw-hr)
- > Reduces 0.5 tons of CO2 emissions
- > Saves 1.1 cubic meter of landfill area
- > Avoid the production of 0.2 0.3 cu.m. of highly polluted leachate water
- > Positively impact 2000 – 3000 urban residents
- > Reduce the use of chemical fertilizer, increasing food security and contributing to climate change mitigation and adaptation.