Solid waste generation and management is an issue of increasing concern in many developing countries, as it is one of the most immediate and serious environmental problems confronting local governments. Waste, if just dumped on a landfill site, is a misplaced resource causing further environmental problems. Integrated waste management focuses on recycling and reuse of different waste types: biodegradable waste composting is but one option. However, experience has shown that many composing schemes have failed in the past on account of inappropriate technologies, lack of markets for the product and weak business models. In Europe legislation has already proceeded as far as to restrict biodegradable waste disposal to landfill sites. These landfill directives compel actions towards an integrated organic waste management, in which composting and biogas production from organic waste play an important role. Upcoming environmental legislation in developing countries also allow the development of clear organisational structures, formation of verified partnerships and application of business models which are favourable to composting schemes.

This document benefits largely from the experience of Waste Concern, a research-based NGO in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Experience, which is derived from nine years of operation of a community-based pilot composting plant in Dhaka, as well as the initiation and support of 38 replications in 18 towns in Bangladesh by February 2005.

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