There is incredible hidden value in recycling waste - if it is handled properly. Recycling takes unwanted waste materials and transforms them into useful products. Handling excrement properly is expensive, but it is vital for public health. But when our ten tons of excrement is processed through an anaerobic biodigester, it will produce over 500 kilowatts of power (enough to power the village school, clinic, community center and businesses in the industrial hive). The value of this electrical production is at least $800,000 per year. On top of this, because the biodigester typically brings the temperature of the material it is treating to over 200 degrees, all pathogens are killed, the methane is extracted and burned off (to produce electricity). What remains can be used as fertilizer - enough to recondition 100,000 acres of land and keep that soil in top condition. Agricultural production can increase as much as $50 Million per year.
Biomass plants can transform the organic wastes from the processing of agricultural products into energy. A medium size peanut mill handling 200,000 tons of peanuts annually will have to deal with 50,000 tons of peanut shells. A biomass plant can transform these 50,000 tons of shells into five megawatts of power ( 2.5 megawatts of power will run the entire mill complex, the other 2.5 megawatts can power a small town) and 5000 tons of biochar (used in amrut mitthi soil conditioner). The biomass facility pays for itself in less than a year. Palm oil processing generates large amounts of organic waste – about 4 tons of waste for
Recycling Waste Builds Village Economies
every ton of palm oil produced. Typically this waste is dumped and becomes toxic. However, a large percentage of these wastes can be processed in a biomass facility that will produce more energy than the palm mill requires. The hard shells can also be ground up and used as a construction material. Intelligent management of waste materials can make the difference between an unprofitable enterprise and a successful business.
Recycling is therefore far more than a “green” thing to do – it is a key to building prosperity in the poorest villages.