BY Nduta Waweru, 3:55am August 24, 2018,

Garbage is seen as ‘gold’ in this small village in Benin

In the Southern Benin village of Houegbo, waste is seen as gold, thanks to a new centre where waste is turned into fertiliser and cash.

The centre, Toffo, which has been operational since lat 2017, was built by a Swiss foundation called ReBin. It transforms organic waste into biogas thus reducing the amount of wood used in creating charcoal.

The centre also plans to start producing 400 tonnes of organic fertiliser per year, according to the AFP.

Besides this, the people of Houegbo also benefit financially from the plant. They receive 57 US cents for every 10 kilogrammes (22 pounds) of waste either in cash or credit—to buy biogas. So far, at least 100 households have signed up to deposit waste at the facility.

“Our trash has become gold. We no longer throw it into the bush. We use it to make money,” Alphonse Ago, who a native of Houegbo village said to AFP.

The more than 20 tonnes of trash at the centre also comes from rubbish collected in the streets. According to ReBin founder,  Mark Giannelli, the presence of waste such as pineapple skin inspired him to set up the centre in the village.

The centre’s director,  Sewai Mardochee, hopes to replicate the facility in other parts of the country in order to create jobs and clean the environment.

“We can then create jobs and clean up our living environment by reducing the use of firewood and coal,” he said.

Houegbo is one of the many African towns that are turning to waste into something beneficial. In Ivory Coast, a biomass power generation plant fueled by cocoa production waste is being built with the aim of increasing cocoa revenue as farmers would not only be selling the beans but the pods as well.

Africa’s first waste-to-energy plant was recently launched in Ethiopia with the aim of processing 1,400 tons of solid waste.

It is also one of the ways Benin is dealing with mounting garbage aside from banning plastic bags and creating awareness on how to avoid indiscriminate garbage disposal.

Last Edited by:Nduta Waweru Updated: August 24, 2018


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