#ISWAatIFAT: Joint Programme with German Environment Agency (UBA)

May 23, 2024 | Biological Treatment of Waste, Climate Change and Waste Management, IFAT, ISWA blog, ISWA news, Working Groups

Aditi Ramola

Aditi Ramola

Technical Director, ISWA

The International Solid Waste Association (ISWA) along with the German Environment Agency (UBA) organized several technical sessions on the margins of IFAT 2024 in Munich. The session on “Quality compost on soils, in urban gardening and greening” included examples from around the globe where international experts from Tanzania, Senegal, Iran, and Europe discussed the production and benefits of quality compost, its application in improving soils, urban gardening, and combating climate change. The session covered innovative methods in composting and organic waste treatment.

Another session on “Organic waste treatment with larvae of the Black Soldier Fly: a win-win-win-solution?” focused on the use of Black Soldier Fly larvae (BFSL) in tropical climates for biowaste treatment, insect protein production, and methane reduction, with the by-product, “frass,” being used as a soil conditioner. Experts from organizations such as Eclose GmbH, Carbon Turnaround, and EAWAG shared their experiences and insights from projects in Chile, Indonesia, and parts of Africa, highlighting sustainable waste management practices. 

The panel agreed that the BSFL technology holds great promise for organic waste treatment, sustainable protein production, and soil conditioning. However, its implementation requires careful consideration to minimize potential risks. During the Q&A discussion with the audience, panellists agreed that adhering to the precautionary approach principle is essential, emphasizing thorough planning and regulation to prevent unintended consequences like any contamination and pathogen transmission. This could be achieved by maintaining strict biosecurity measures, such as controlling waste sources and implementing hygiene protocols in the process and managing the production and use of frass, the residue from waste processing, which would involve thorough testing to ensure its safety as a soil conditioner.

The side event on “Waste projects supported through (voluntary) carbon markets” focused on leveraging voluntary carbon markets to support waste projects that reduce greenhouse gases, particularly methane, through certification with emission credits, thus enabling additional financing to come into the waste management system. Keynote presentations from Senegal and Tanzania led into an expert panel discussion, fostering in-depth participant engagement. Additionally, a session on “Equal opportunities in the waste sector” co-organized with GIZ and ISWA’s Women of Waste taskforce presented various strategies and implementations to promote equal opportunities in the waste sector including framework conditions and approaches to solutions. Several projects’ pitches explored these framework conditions, target groups, solutions, outcomes, and challenges, with discussions facilitated in a world café workshop format.

An interesting and dynamic session on “The waste sector and its role globally in energy and climate transition” which featured an all-female expert panel addressed the triple planetary crisis of climate change, pollution, and biodiversity making a case for prioritizing waste prevention. With almost 40% of the worlds municipal solid waste (MSW) still being dumped or burned openly, waste management remains a major global challenge, demanding swift action. However, as the world continues to move up the GDP ladder experts from CEWEP, WBA, and ISWA agreed that managing large amounts of waste for the next decades is unavoidable, requiring waste to be viewed as a resource. The panel emphasized that critical to this process are source segregation of waste and following the waste hierarchy, which can enable the transformation of waste into valuable products like biogas, biofertilizers, and electricity through waste to energy technologies.

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