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Composting and Green Waste Management in Urban Areas

Jul 25, 2014

An increase in urban populations has been linked to greater waste production and many local governments around the world are experiencing challenges in dealing with the waste.

For instance, some cities and towns are running out of landfill space and are seeking new and sustainable ways of addressing this challenge.

ICLEI Africa took a research field trip out to the Reliance Compost works in Cape Town, South Africa. Phillip Dube reports they are implementing a pioneering system of dealing with green waste – plant material that is discarded from landscaping activities or agriculture. In one example, Reliance Compost takes green waste from the City of Cape Town’s solid waste facility and chips it into smaller pieces. Subsequently, these green waste pieces are taken to a farm where there are composted. Through its efforts, Reliance has kept over 10, 000,000 m3 – the equivalent total volume of 10,000 Boeing 747-400 airplanes – of green garden refuse from landfills and their operations also earned them carbon credits. Moreover, the compost that they produce is organic and several urban gardens that aim to make healthy food accessible to urban populations use it.

As cities and towns around the world aim to improve the quality of life in their principalities, composting will be useful for them in managing their waste and keeping the denizens healthy and happy.

Written by: Phillip Dube. Mr Dube is an intern at ICLEI –Local Governments for
Sustainability for the winter. He is a student at Bates College and is a candidate for a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies with a concentration in Environmental Economics.

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