Elements of a sustainable waste recycling system

Status: Just started
Time needed: 
Two weeks or more

We would like to have an approximate idea of what a sustainable waste recycling system should look like in a resource poor township such as Bweyogerere. At present, there is no clear system for handling waste and the community does what they feel best. The town council has a small truck which cannot handle waste in the entire area.

We are negotiating with local leaders to secure land where a waste recycling resource centre will be located. We envisage the centre should comprise of both the landfill (for wet and toxic waste), and a seperate unit (for recycling dry waste and green manure). It could also serve as a one stop centre for providing information to the public on how waste should be handled and this seems to be the life blood of this project.

Please share your ideas on key elements that are likely to make this system work. In addition, we would be glad to recieve your comments on the layout of such a centre. You can also help point out additional components that are essential if this centre to be self sustaining.

An architect's impression of the centre would be highly welcome.

Project: Village talk

Dear Colleagues,

To shade more light, i have attached the artists impression of a mini landfill and a waste recycling resource centre.

Please do share your ideas to help us make the system as complete and illustrations as comprehensive as possible


Resource recovery centre.jpg
Average: 2 (1 vote)

may i ask what resources are curently available (labor/materials)?

hi, :)


a bailer is another name for a compactor,
a compactor can be used to plastic and cardboard smaller.
These are generally piston operated,
ideally you would have somthing like this,


i dont know how much these cost (im guessing a lot),
so an alternative would be to localy make a hand operated one similar in design to this one


but metal and a lot bigger.
a longer arm means more crushing power.
when it gets a low as it will got with the weight of a man on it, hook a cheep ratchet strap/chain over the end to for the final squeeze, and you should end up with a manageable block.

"cardboard is a good component to use in the developing area of waste to energy: creating fuels and power from waste products. It releases twice as much heat per pound of waste, compared to other sources, doesn't release toxic poisons, and its only by-product is ash."

also a lot smaller scale would be to have one of these
Eco Friendly Newspaper Briquette Maker
you just step on it

with the purpose of selling them to locals at a fair price, or

Also, cardboard, in its shredded form, can be used for animal bedding


also collecting whole glass bottles and using them for a building material will make a clever window/wall


I am an intelligent enough man, but i don't know everything! can some one
please study these points, and tell me.

would the landfill situated right next to the recycling plant, or would there be a gap (eg. across the road)?

what size is the expected plot,
what size is acceptable?

the current population, and growth (if found it 1100+ people,
but this needs to be accurate for, finding the necessary capacity of the plant.

also local growth rates need to be researched and considered and added,

how long is the live span of the plant, the capacity need to be able to manage future growth increases is important.

how is the current rubbish collected? is it piled up in a corner of a street? or door to door?
what is the current sanitation level if the truck cant help every one? time needed for time-scale.

I may kindly ask that a user/reader cross-examine my work, and offer alternatives.
NB this work is far form competed.
thank you-

i will edit this post and add updates

i have a few goals for myself to archive

offer a flexible* design pan. (*with size)
with a approachable green element

research local markets.

a energy science exhibit for local school trips but
(small, inexpensive but clever) //suggestions needed//
targeted at primary children, to aid in the teaching of recycling
plant worker (AKA public relations) to assist with the occasional visit, give a talk maybe.

viability of sponsorship buy a drinks company. recycling plastic their bottles gives them a positive image

encouraging locals in a 250m arox radius to bring there card or plastic. buy walking to the plant. this would reduce the load on the current truck. offering them a briquette as compensation for walking, and thus supporting popularity

one more truck would be desirable to keep collection separate, food/green with land fill. and plastic, glass, card board, in dust bins, separation would keep things more sanitary.

i figure a cheep puck-up truck could hold 6 bins and if it had a towed tailor a further 4 minimum (10 = 800L). say one Ugandan = 5L or kg of rubbish a week (loose guess) that would be 160 people a trip.

Average: 5 (1 vote)

Hi Chris,

A very warm welcome to Bweyogerere and thank you so much for your contribution to this task. I must say I am upbeat and have to do a bit of research in order to respond to the issues you have raised in a comprehensive manner.

But here are a few of the obviuos ones:

AA: There are barely no resources for managing waste in this township. The town council has a small truck (i have to establish its capacity) which serves six parishes (nearly equivalent to Bweyogerere in size) and its usefullness to Bweyogerere is therefore negiligible.

BB: The rich residents export their waste to a central waste dump near the centralmarket which is located at the centre of Bweyogerere Township. The waste is left to flow into a manmade lake and is occasionally managed by burning. The lake was created during the quarrying process that mined stones for construction of a national stadium that is about 500 m away from the market.

CC: Low income and middle class occupants dump their waste in the neighbourhoods close to their dwellings. Often, the waste is dumped above catchments of water supplies for this target groups, increasing the possibility of contamination. The waste is managed by burning or simply left to rot.

DD: The dry waste consists of a lot of paper, plastic packaging material, plastic bottles and occasionally glass

EE: We still have to find the population, its growth rate and waste generation characteristics.

FF: Transportation of dry waste will require bicycles and waste recycling bags (from yesterday's meeting with youths) as this means of transport is manageable. The estimated number of bicycles is 20 and about 300 waste recyling bags would help start the process of collectin lightbdry wastes. Transportation of toxic and other bulky waste will require a pick-up truck but this is expensive.

GG: The landfill and waste recycling resource centre will be adjacent to each other but seperated with a chain link fence. At the moment we do not know the size that will be offered by the local authorities as we are still at negotiation stage.



Dear neighbours,

We have now agreed on the first draft of a sytem through which the zero waste management initiative will be implemented.

The system emphsizes a broad grassroots approach that will work through youths (both male-football clubs and female-netball clubs) as well as schools (Green clubs). These will be linked to the existing government structures.

This is a vital component for sustainability and adequate resources should be committed to ensure it is functional.

If you have any comments on how the system could be improved please do let us know.



What about building a biodigester as well?