Technical improvements in the composting process as well as the improvement and diversification of the product to ensure long-term economic viability: Evaluating the processes, assessing the quality of the organic waste and determining the compost products based on the different local fertilizer needs, as well as the training of the plant staff. Further, developing strategies to improve separation at the source and in the collection of organic waste.
The management of municipal solid waste has become a priority in facing global warming. In Costa Rica, organics represent more than 50 % of the municipal solid waste generated, being the most relevant waste stream for preventing or decreasing the generation of greenhouse gases. For this very reason, the government has aligned its actions with the recently launched National Decarbonization Plan 2019-2050 and the Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action plan (NAMA) for waste that will start in 2020.
The districts of San Isidro El General and Daniel Flores of the municipality of Pérez Zeledón operate one of the largest composting plants in the country. It started its operation in 2012 and currently receives 8-10 tons of organic waste per day. The processes of the plant are insufficient, and the marketing of the product is limited. Additionally, environmental problems with the leachate are endangering the future of the plant.
Through cooperation with experts from Switzerland, the participating Costa Rican institutions seek advice for technical improvements in the composting process as well as the improvement and diversification of the final product, so that the economic viability will be assured in the long term. Fulfilling these objectives requires a technical evaluation of the processes, the assessment of the quality of the organic waste and the determination of compost products, based on the different local fertilizer needs, as well as the training of the personnel of the plant. Moreover, conceiving the project in a holistic and integral way, the transfer of technology and knowledge will include these technical requirements and the design of environmental education strategies to improve the separation at the source and in the collection of the organic waste.
The project will support participatory processes that increase the empowerment of public, private and civil society stakeholders involved. This, coupled with the inclusion of the academy and relevant groups of the society such as ACEPESA, the NGO that will lead the project in Costa Rica, will guarantee sustainability within the territory of the project and a high potential for multiplying the experience in contexts similar to Costa Rica.
Training local partners how to compost properly, establishing a functioning composting plant (including quality management), developing concepts and trials for applying compost