Improving waste management

Early in August 2013 the Desert Research Foundation of Namibia (DRFN) and Sustainable Business Malardalen (SusBiz) conducted an assessment of solid waste and waste water management at Brukkaros Meat Processors (BMP), a smallstock abattoir situated about 20 km from Keetmanshoop town in southern Namibia.

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Water treatment equipment to be tested

The initiative is a central component of the project called “the Sustainable Abattoir”, a partner driven cooperation amongst SusBiz, the project owner, BMP, DRFN, Malardalen University (MDH) and the Swedish Agricultural University (SLU). The project is partly funded by Swedish Sida and partly by the Ministry of Trade and Industry in Namibia.

The overall objective of the project is to improve the management of solid waste and waste water at the abattoir and a tannery also situated at the property.

Originally the project aimed to establish a biogas plant at the abattoir, using slaughter waste and other biological waste to generate electricity for the factory. This would address two pressing issues, very high monthly energy costs and a growing waste management issue.

A technical feasibility conducted in 2012-2013, partly funded by MTI, revealed that there is not sufficient green substrate within an economically viable distance from the abattoir to allow for production of a financially meaningful amount of biogas. Therefore it was decided to revise the project objectives and take a more holistic view at the waste and water management at both the abattoir and the tannery, not only focusing on biogas production.

During the recent baseline assessment both water consumption along the production line, waste water treatment and solid waste management were investigated. The purpose of the assessment was to:
1) quantify current water consumption in the abattoir and the tannery
2) identify where water consumption can be reduced along the production lines
3) document current water and waste management practices

The assessment provided the team with valuable data related to water use as well as current water and waste management practices.

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Evaporation dam for storage of waste water from tannery

The project team is now using this information to investigate innovative approaches toward reduced water consumption along the production lines as well as improved waste water and solid waste management. Water saving equipment is being identified and tested and a water demand management plan is being developed. Improved waste water treatment is being investigated and will be piloted. Possibilities of reusing cleaned waste water in some uncritical parts of the tannery is being explored. If successful then this alone could result in a halving of the current water consumption.

Possibilities of composting organic solid waste are being explored. The goal is to produce a safe organic fertilizer from the composted waste, alternatively to produce maggots that can be processed into fodder supplement.

The outcomes of the project at BMP are intended to contribute to improved water and waste management throughout the meat and skin sector in southern Africa as challenges related to water and waste management are faced by most abattoirs and tanneries in the region.

The outcomes of the project will therefore be communicated to all relevant stakeholders on local, national and regional levels throughout southern Africa.

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