Waste Concern: Public/Private partnership and community based composting in Dhaka, Bangladesh
Description/achievement of initiative
A city plagued by high population growth and poor waste management capacity, the city of Dhaka, Bangladesh has seen a major improvement of waste management practices through a public/private partnership with local NGO Waste Concern. Since roughly 80 percent of Dhaka's municipal solid waste was organic in nature, Waste Concern worked with local governments, the private sector and international organizations to implement a highly successful community-based composting system and has replicated the system across several cities in Bangladesh.
Source: Shanghai Manual: A Guide for Sustainable Urban Development in the 21st Century (2010)
Since its launch of solid waste management projects in September 1998, Waste Concern has served 30,000 people in Dhaka city and 100,000 people in 14 other cities and towns in Bangladesh, including slums and low and middle-income communities. Its services include waste collection, separation and composting. The centralized composting project in the city of Dhaka warrants special mention. The composting plant has a capacity of 700 tons per day and processes organic waste from the city of Dhaka in three phases. The project has led to many economic, social and environmental benefits such as new job opportunities to the communities and better livelihoods in the region.
The project included very interesting financial features which made it viable through community involvement and public private cooperation. The communities received door-to-door collection service and shared the cost of waste collection by paying a monthly fee based on their affordability. The private stakeholder had joint venture partners that included Waste Concern and its financial partners (banking institutions). The total investment required for the project was Euro 12 million. The mode of finance was 38 per cent equity, 45 per cent as soft loan and 17 per cent as loan from a local bank in Bangladesh.
A private sector company was involved to ensure the sale of compost by carrying out enrichment of the compost with nutrients and its subsequent distribution in the market. As a result, 75 per cent of the total revenue of the project came from sale of compost. The project was also successfully registered as a Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) project under United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Thus, the remaining 25 percent of the project revenue came from the sale of certified emission reduction (CER) credits, making the project financially viable and profitable.