The International Forum for Sustainable Asia and the Pacific 2019 (ISAP2019) was held on 30-31 July 2019 with the aim of sharing information and facilitating diverse discussions on sustainable development in Asia and the Pacific. Taking this opportunity, CCET organized two sessions during ISAP2019 focusing on biogas technology as a solution to advance organic waste management.
Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) contains organic waste such as food and market waste. This organic component accounts for 20-30% of total waste in developed countries, and 50-70% in developing countries. Proper treatment of this organic component is now the focus of global discussions in relation to effective resource utilisation in the context of SDGs as well as climate change.
This session aimed to discuss approaches and issues to achieve effective utilization of organic waste through methane gas fermentation (biogas). Ms. Giacovelli outlined the waste management issues in Asia, and pointed out that one of the key countermeasures is decoupling of economic growth and environmental resources use. Mr. Doi summarized Ministry of the Environment’s legislative frameworks on food waste, and presented the government’s efforts and challenges to reduce food loss from households, which is more challenging to regulate by legal schemes than industrial food waste. Mr. Warsi shared his successful biogas business model in Indore City, India. Collected organic waste are transformed into bio-CNG, which is utilized for the public transportation. Mr. Kageyama introduced the biogas facility funded and operated by the JFE group and the JR East group in Japan. This large-scale facility is located in Yokohama next to Tokyo, which accepts 80t/day of food waste from the metropolitan area.
The panelists from the private sector commented on the chances and challenges to make biogas business more economically and technically sustainable. Mr. Doi from the Ministry of the Environment provided some examples of the approaches to reduce or utilize organic waste such as on-demand food purchases through smart phone application, and food waste collection by biodegradable plastic bags.
- Biogas technology has an advantage to recycle organic waste from the downstream of the food chain such as retailors, restaurants, and household. Those organic waste is difficult to recycle because those waste include not only food, but also various materials such as packages, containers, and toothpicks. Currently, a large portion of organic waste has been incinerated in Japan, but biogas can boost effective utilization of organic waste as resources, and contribute to establish a circular economy.
- At the same time, the success of application of this technology has relied on the support (incentives and subsidies) of the governments. Effective utilization of methane gas and liquid fertilizer is another issue to be addressed.
- In order to promote use of biogas technology not only in suburbs but also in big cities, it is the key to ensure economic sustainability along with the demand and situation in the regions.
- Claudia Giacovelli, Associate programme officer, International Environmental Technology Centre, UNEP/IETC
- Kentaro Doi, Director, Ministry of the Environment, Environment Regeneration and Resources Recycling Bureau, General Administration Division
- Syed Asad Ali Warsi, Founder & Director, Eco Pro Environmental Services, India
- Kageyama Yoshihide, President, J Bio Food Recycle Corporation
- Kazunobu Onogawa, Director, IGES Centre Collaborating with UNEP on Environmental Technologies (CCET)
The session is available to watch at: