How much does organic waste cost?

by | May 17, 2020 | Compost, Ecology

While it is clear that composting has many environmental benefits (more details in this article), its economic benefits are often overlooked. However, sorting organic waste comes with significant costs. But how much exactly are these costs?

According to the Eurostat report, in 2016, Belgium produced 5,573 kg of waste per capita per year, of which 8.5% comes from households, which represents about 470 kg/inhab/yr.

Depending on the region and municipality, this impressive quantity of waste, whether raw (general waste) or selective (plastic, cardboard/paper, glass, organic waste), must make us think about possible methods of reducing or treating this waste.

All the more so when we know that, according to the same sources, 50% of our rubbish bins are made up of organic waste, i.e. compostable material that can be broken down and recovered in one form or another, in other words recycled.

The figures in France are of the same order of magnitude since, according to the Agency for Ecological Transition (ADEME), 46.3 million tonnes of organic waste (excluding agriculture and forestry) are produced annually, which is more or less equivalent in 2015 to 260 kg/inhab/yr.

Although it is still very clear that the best waste is the one that is not produced, we are obliged to note that until we reach absolute zero waste, we must tackle the problem of recycling. Currently, in this context, two solutions proposed by the municipalities are used to recycle organic waste: composting platforms (which work aerobically) and bio-methanisation units (which work anaerobically).

In both cases, and not taking into account the problems of contamination that these solutions may encounter (some waste may contain unwanted pollutants), this recycling has of course a cost borne by the community. This cost is divided between waste collection and treatment.

For example, in France, the Federation of Medium-sized Cities (FMV) in partnership with Sita, the subsidiary of Suez Environnement specialised in waste services, found that the average cost of household waste collection in 62 cities with populations of 20,000 to 100,000 was 117 euros per tonne collected (ranging from 49 to 162.- euros).

This figure corresponds to a collection of the waste from the house to the place of treatment (if the waste is taken to the waste disposal centre, the cost drops to an average of 86,- euro). If 117,- euro per tonne of waste seems low, don't forget to add this to the 46,3 million tonnes of bio-waste mentioned at the beginning of this article (which gives a more substantial figure of about 5,4 billion euro!).

And this large sum only covers the collection of bio-waste, not its treatment! If we talk about the recycling of bio-waste, and again by way of example (this time in Belgium), we have to admit that the prices charged by the treatment companies are also not negligible. For example, the cost of composting platforms for municipalities is around 43.00 euros per tonne and 75.00 euros per tonne for bio-methanisation units.

Unfortunately, the value of these various means of recycling is always lower than the costs they entail. The same is true for the pure and simple incineration of household waste, which is very often polluting.

Finally, when you know that food waste is 70-95% water, you quickly realise how absurd these collection and processing costs can seem.

The concept of the indoor composter was born from this observation, among others. Greenzy!

Why not avoid this long circuit as much as possible on a recycling operation that could be carried out by each family without leaving the kitchen? By proposing its indoor composter which, from food waste, allows to generate in more or less two months a compost that can be directly used on one's indoor plants or on the neighbourhood vegetable gardens that are flourishing at the moment, Greenzy proposes a real alternative and a real economy of scale, all with a design device, without odours and perfectly adapted to families of about 4 people.

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