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|This article was published in the Daily Star Newspaper in November 2011.|
November 04, 2011 01:35 AM
|By Niamh Fleming-Farrell|
The following is an article about Cedar Environmental published in 2011 GREEN ECONOMY report of the Arab Forum for Environment and development.
Cedar Environmental, an environmental engineering firm in Lebanon, has eschewed landfills for the disposing of waste and has pioneered innovative processes for recycling municipal solid waste since 1999 using its own locally developed methods. The company builds its own composting rotating drums, which ferment organic waste aerobically and reduce the odors to a minimum.
Controlling odors enables Cedar Environmental to operate composting and recycling facilities closer to the communities it serves where waste originates, thus reducing transportation costs and avoiding the logistics of hauling over long distances to a landfill.
Cedar Environmental operates waste management and treatment facilities in a closed area, whereby 95% of the received municipal solid waste is recycled into commercially sellable products. The company’s goal is to reach “zero waste”.
After sorting, approximately 25% of the waste is sorted by weight and is collected for direct marketing as recyclable materials such as metals, paper, cardboard, glass, and some types of plastic. The organic matter, accounting for about 55% of the total waste, is digested aerobically in rotating drums and converted into a marketable organic fertilizer product. The remaining 15% of materials, such as cloth, shoes, and low quality plastic are separated and recycled, or utilized in specific applications. Only 5% of the original waste remains and is sent to a landfill for safe disposal.
The marketable products made by composting the organic components of the waste include:
- Certified organic compost, which is sifted and homogenized to bring it to a uniform structure. It is 99% free of foreign matter. The compost is then matured and packed in 20-liter bags, labeled, and sold in supermarkets and flower shops. Revenues from compost sales allow the company to charge municipalities less for the transport and treatment of their solid waste.
- In 2005, the company adapted its Dynamic Composting Technology to slaughterhouse waste. About 6 tons of digestive tracts, horns, hoofs, and bones of slaughtered animals used to be dumped in rivers or burned in the backyard of the slaughterhouse daily. The company uses composting drums to mix slaughterhouse waste with fish waste, tobacco waste, and coffee roasting waste (which were all land-filled).The waste mixture is then processed to generate a final compost product that qualifies as a high-grade organic fertilizer. This product is now sold primarily to organic certified farmers at half the price of imported certified organic fertilizers.
- During the composting cycle of the combined slaughterhouse-fish-tobacco-coffee waste, the leachate is collected into fermentation tanks, oxidized, and aerobically fermented for two weeks. When it was originally analyzed in the laboratory it proved to be loaded with 30 different micronutrients, while meeting heavy metal specification standards.This new product is marketed as a liquid fertilizer concentrate to farmers, who can dilute by 100 times with water. The diluted liquid can then be used in drip irrigation or by spraying directly on plants’ foliar structure.
- For home and small garden use, the company introduced a 1.5-liter liquid fertilizer bottle. The liquid fertilizer concentrate, produced from the slaughterhouse waste process, is diluted to safe usage levels, bottled, labeled, and marketed along with the organic fertilizer in supermarkets and flower shops.
- Aside from organic products, Cedar Environmental has been involved in research to recycle plastic bags and other plastics that are not currently being recycled such as plastic cups, plastic dishes, cutlery, compact disks (CDs), toothbrushes, and toothpaste tubes. The company has developed a process in which all plastic materials are shredded and turned into a thick flat board, which is dubbed “eco-board.”
The ecoboard is used in the making of fencing for outdoor construction sites, shelves, and outdoor furniture such as benches and tables. The company is currently scaling up this process to be able to produce these boards on an industrial scale for commercial sale.