Category Archives: Economic Benefits

Waste not: How businesses can turn a profit from poo

Waste not: How businesses can turn a profit from poo | Source: CGIAR, Mar 10, 2016 |
By Miriam Otoo, Krishna Chaitanya Rao, Kalanithy Vairavamoorthy, and Marianne Gadeberg

A clean and private toilet is something a lot of us take for granted, but for thousands of people living in the slums of Rwandan capital Kigali, safe sanitation was long a luxury out of reach.

REC Kigali

Rwanda Environment Care (REC) constructs eco-san toilets in public places in Kigali. Photo Credit: Eugene Dusingizumuremyi.

In the past, these communities had no other option than to use either pit latrines, often full and overflowing, or flying toilets, essentially plastic bags serving as single-use toilets and then tossed to the wayside. Naturally, the absence of proper sanitation was a daily nuisance, causing both pollution and disease.

From sanitation challenge to business opportunity

Many megacities across Africa and Asia are bogged down by similar issues, and while proper sewage systems would be the ideal solution, there is virtually no chance of realizing such systems in the next few decades. But what if sanitation and waste challenges in urban centers could be turned into profitable business ventures?

In Kigali, Rwanda Environment Care (REC), now a privately owned company, recognized that the high demand for sanitation in cities coincided with an equally high demand for fertilizer among farmers throughout the country – and that the two could be combined to make up a viable business.

Now, REC builds and operates public ecological sanitation (eco-san) toilets and uses the collected fecal sludge to produce organic fertilizer and compost for sale to farmers. The revenue from sale of compost is complemented by fees paid for use of the public toilets, rental income from kiosks and shops nearby, and consultation services on how to construct eco-san latrines offered to other entrepreneurs. In total, the revenues are great enough to cover routine repairs and staff salaries.

REC’s new eco-san latrines in Kigali have not only improved quality of life for local people, they also contribute to a cleaner and healthier environment. As an added benefit, the increased supply of organic, environmentally friendly compost is expected to reduce the use of chemical fertilizers, furthering sustainable farming.

Read the complete article.

United Nations – World Water Development Report 2016 Report: Water and Jobs

United Nations – World Water Development Report 2016 Report: Water and Jobs, 2016. 

Three out of four of the jobs worldwide are water-dependent. In fact, water shortages and lack of access may limit economic growth in the years to come, according to the 2016 United Nations World Water Development Report, Water and Jobs, launched on 22 March 2016, World Water Day, in Geneva. wwd2016.png

From its collection, through various uses, to its ultimate return to the natural environment, water is a key factor in the development of job opportunities either directly related to its management (supply, infrastructure, wastewater treatment, etc.) or in economic sectors that are heavily water-dependent such as agriculture, fishing, power, industry and health. Furthermore, good access to drinking water and sanitation promotes an educated and healthy workforce, which constitutes an essential factor for sustained economic growth.

In its analysis of the economic impact of access to water, the report cites numerous studies that show a positive correlation between investments in the water sector and economic growth. It also highlights the key role of water in the transition to a green economy.

WaterAid – Water: At What Cost? The State of the World’s Water 2016

WaterAid – Water: At What Cost? The State of the World’s Water 2016

Our new report, launched to mark World Water Day 2016, reveals that the poorest people in the world are paying the highest price for safe water – and calls on governments to act now for universal access. Water-at-what-cost-report-143x203

Today, more than 650 million people are living without access to an ‘improved’ source of drinking water.The price paid by these communities – in wasted income, ill-health, and lost productivity – is extremely high, and has a devastating impact from the family to the national level.

This report reveals the worst affected countries in the world, as well as the most improved, and calls on governments to take urgent action.

New York City Fights Scavengers Over a Treasure: Trash

New York City Fights Scavengers Over a Treasure: Trash | Source: New York Times, Mar 20 2016 |

The video begins with ominous notes from a piano and an image of crime scene tape. The camera pans to men hunched over garbage pails, sifting for bottles, and a stoop-shouldered woman towing a shopping cart full of cans. Some might feel sympathy for these collectors, but the video makes clear that the New York City Sanitation Department, which made the video and posted it online, wanted them to be seen as something else: common criminals. recycle

“Scavengers are putting the Department of Sanitation’s recycling program at risk, by removing the most valuable recyclables,” a voice-over begins. “Nobody wants to be perceived of as picking on the little guy, but the lone scavenger is now an organized, sophisticated mob of scavenger collectives that systematically removes valuable recyclables,” it continues. “Recycling is the law. Scavenging is a crime. Don’t allow scavenging to steal recycling’s future.”

The moment refuse hits the curb it becomes the city’s property — and the city’s problem. From there, materials like metals, cardboard and plastic are supposed to enter into the vast web of the recycling process, a network of carters and sorters, compactors and remelters. The theft of such items has long been an issue, taking a toll on the city’s curbside recycling, or diversion, rate. The problem has peaked and fallen over the years as prices for commodities have fluctuated.

Read the complete article.

Urban sanitation markets: scale and resilience – Session 1 (Video)

Published on Dec 11, 2015
The event focused on the role of the market within the context of urban sanitation and how to support market actors to achieve sustainable service delivery at scale. We considered both public and private actors, formal and informal, and what types of partnership, institutional models and financing mechanisms are most effective to support pro-poor delivery of urban sanitation services.

We discussed the experience of tools for market mapping and analysis and how these can be utilised as the basis for market strengthening, and will identify effective ways to support governmental authorities to work with private sector actors in market development.

Other sessions are on the ODI YouTube Channel.

A virtuous circle: Integrating waste pickers into solid waste management

A virtuous circle: Integrating waste pickers into solid waste management | Sources: World Bank’s Voices, March 2 2016 |

Waste – its generation, collection, and disposal – is a major global challenge of the 21st century. Recycling waste drives environmental sustainability by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and stimulates the economy by supplying raw materials and packaging materials.

wastepickers

Photo: Global Environment Facility/Flickr

Waste pickers are the principal actors in reclaiming waste for the recycling industry. Across the world, large numbers of people from low-income and disadvantaged communities make a living collecting and sorting waste, and then selling reclaimed waste through intermediaries to the recycling industry.

Where others see trash or garbage, the waste pickers see paper, cardboard, glass, and metal. They are skilled at sorting and bundling different types of waste by color, weight, and end use to sell to the recycling industry. Yet waste pickers are rarely recognized for the important role they play in creating value from the waste generated by others and in contributing to the reduction of carbon emissions.

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Good shit, good business?

Good shit, good business? The current focus on small-scale entrepreneurs and looking for the holy grail of market-led solutions to deal with sludge is only the latest in the series of “fads” typical of the sanitation sector. by Rémi Kaupp. Source: | Broken Toilets, Feb. 29 2016

sludge

On-site sanitation is typically serviced by the informal sector. Nairobi, October 2013. Photographer: Linda Strande

We cannot continue to treat the issue of toilets and sludge from a purely economic and technological angle. In NGOs, our market-led focus has been a convenient way to charm the new private philanthropists while ignoring the political side. While we are busy equipping some local entrepreneurs with new pumps, utility companies continue to focus on water and (sometimes) sewerage, ignoring the billion people living in slums who bear most of the health burdens of poor sanitation.

Our initiatives are too often isolated and do little to influence those utilities, who have the mandate to serve their residents and the ability to borrow and invest in large infrastructure. Our work needs to be ultimately targeted at the local authorities and the utility companies so that they take the same interest as we do in the challenging – and motivating – issue of on-site sanitation and sludge.

Read the complete article.