MOST Clearing House Best Practices This Best Practice is one of the
Best Practices for Human Settlements
presented in the MOST Clearing House
Best Practices Database.

Conventional Solid Waste Management and Alternative Approaches

Keyword: Economic Development


The project focuses on one of the most crucial issues within the framework of urban management and provides a concrete alternative, which is socially sound, ecologically sustainable and economically feasible in an economic sense. Organic garbage components, in orthodox terms still considered as discarded and worthless, are revalued and used as highly energetic raw materials for a series of productive processes. Besides the improvement of urban health and sanitaiton conditions, it offers employment and income generating opportunities to marginalized groups, emphasizes gender, enhances public-private partnership, promotes the creation and viable operation of micro and small scale enterprises, alleviates the burden of public expenditures and strengthens community participation in local decision making.


In 1990, the Municipality of El-Agustino District, located in the Metropolitan area of greater Lima in Peru, asked the German Volunteer Service (DED) for technical assistance to ameliorate the burning problems of waste management within the district boundaries. The accumulation of garbage, shortcomings in transport and storage facilities due to budget constraints, the proliferation of environmental diseases and the presence of informal pig breeders led to an unbearable situation.

Among other features, the social and economic environment shows levels of extreme poverty such as high rates of un- and underemployment, refugees swallowed to the cities from the civil war in the Andean area and relatively large proportions of single income households, depicting women as the main suppliers.

The efforts of the local government in charge then focused on participatory approaches to improve the prevailing conditions sharing decision making processes with neighbourhood groups, organizations on the grassroots level and other popular associations.

Summarizing those criteria, the policy to be applied required a comprehensive, integrated approach, where broad participation in the project starting right from the planning stage and decentralized strategies along with ecologic and economic feasibility have been the main guidelines.

During a previous pilot project in the surrounding of Lima, the author together with a group of local experts invented a recycling system for organic waste components implementing a series of productive processes in order to ensure first of all a stable economic platform. In technical terms, the process starts with the transformation of organic material using cost effective, intermediate technologies, into a highly digestive diet for pigs, ducks and chicken. The manure and non patable parts are used for rainworm pods, producing humus appreciated as the best organic fertilizer and worms, containing all essential amino acids for livestock and aquaculture.

Complementing activites have been the implementation of housegardens, nurseries and the production of ornamental plants.

Together with a local NGO and the Agriculture University of Lima, the quality of inputs and outputs have been constantly monitored, showing no perils for human health depicting quiet surprising results concerning growth rates, fat contents and flavour.

Despite all these promising results, the main single limited factor for achieving economic rentability remain high transport costs from the origin of garbage to the transformation site. When the Municipality of El-Agustino provided the terrain for installation within the district boundaries, this major constraint was eliminated and the project was implemented.

Additionally to the technical set up, the managerial framework has been elaborated. Transport and segregation activites have been outcontracted to micro enterprises backed up by programmes to enhance local participation and to raise overall environmental awareness. In line with marketing strategies, the productive processes as such were carried out by small scale enterprises, whereby preference was given to the creation of employement opportunities for women.

In 1992 the plant in its actual design fitted for the given location was able to transform up to 12 m/t of organic components per day, which theoretically is sufficient to produce 55 tons of pork meat, 5 tons of duck and chicken, 1.2 tons of eggs, 7 tons of vegetables and 100m3 of humus per year.

According to an in depth cost/benefit analysis, the financial indicator showed annual net profits of US$43,165.-, A NPV of US$82,995.- and a IRR of 18%. The Simple Pay Back Period including Investments/Net Profit plus Depreciation and Interest was calculated as 2.5 years. These comparatively high rates have been assumed as necessary from the beginning, due to the fact that the project activities must compete with high opportunities cost for labour caused by the strong presence of the informal sector.

Even if it is too early to assess mid and long term impacts for the local and regional level (social and economic appraisals have not been undertaken so far), positive immediate effects such as permanent direct employement for almost 30 persons, the produciton of staple food, the provision of cheap protein staple food and the overall reduction of garbage and environmental nuisance are quiet visible and have been very well accepted by the residents.

Any application of the Project or parts of it requires the written and explicit permission of the author.


30 jobs per plant created directly;
approximately 80 jobs per plant created indirectly;
approximately 5000 tons per year reduction in organic waste;
production of 55 tons of pork meat per year;
production of 5 tons of duck and chicken;
production of 1.23 tons of eggs;
production of 7 tons of vegetable;
production of 100 m3 of humus;
approximately US$ 450,000 reduction in public expenditures.


From the beginning the project has been designed to provide a feasible alternative for waste management in almost all societies with different social, cultural and economic backgrounds. Waste and especially organic components represent a lasting problem in almost all urban conglomerates, towns, villages and even hamlets in the developing world. In most of these socities, waste is still considered as a nuisance rather than a valuable, high energetic input. Expensive, high tech solutions, such as incineration plants or controlled landfill sites, often are not affordable nor feasible and, more important, disregard burning social features such as un- underemployement, lack of income opportunities, gender issues, ecologic repercussions, etc. Providing a socially sound, ecological sustained and economically feasible alternative can help decision makers, already suffering from the burden of understaffing and budget constraints, to reconsider their overall policy towards waste management. The project offers excellent possibilities for cooperation between local authorities and foreign agencies and, last but not least, helps to spare limited natural resources and substantially reduce pollution with the urban environment.



    German Volunteer Service (DED) and German Technical Cooperation (GTZ)
    GTZ German Technical Cooperation
    Post Box 5180
    65726 Eschborn
    Tel: +49(6196) 70-0 / Fax: +49(6196)791115


    Municipality of 'El Agustino' District, Lima, Perœ
    Rembold, Fritz c/o AHT International Ltd
    Post Box 100132
    45001 Essen
    Tel: +49(201)2016204 / Fax: +49(201)206211

    Vargas Machuca 408
    San Antonio MIRAFLORES
    Tel: +51(14)468560 / Fax: +51(14)468560

    c/o SEGEPLAN VIII - Program SELVA
    Santa Elena
    Tel: +502 (9) 500196 Fax: 502 (9) 500197

To MOST Clearing House Homepage