Proper waste management is a worldwide challenge specially in low-income countries, as it requires substantial investments in physical infrastructure and long-term operations.
In 2020 almost 40% of the waste produced in the country was open dumped or disposed of irregularly, and more than 60% of waste that had proper disposal was sent to landfills, showing that this is still the main destination for solid wastes. It is urgent and mandatory to promote initiatives that create opportunities to increase the value incorporated in waste, taking advantage of it’s potential before reaching landfills.
In this context, the Açu Port Administration launched the Circular Economy Project – FEEDING THE SOIL FOR COASTAL ECOSYSTEM RESTAURATION: CONVERTING WASTE INTO VALUE. The project aims to provide better and more adequate destination to organic waste generated from port operations, producing organic compost to be used to restore coastal ecosystem vegetation around the port area.
Until the middle of 2019, when the project was initiated, all the organic waste generated by the port administration was disposed in landfills. Now, 100% of the waste is recycled and used as fertilizer to restore coastal vegetation. In that way, further to eliminating waste disposal in landfills, the project also contributes to tackle the country’s main environmental challenge; deforestation.
The project materializes our commitment to save natural resources, preserve environmental quality and biodiversity, in addition to reducing GHG emissions, fomenting port’s circular economy and contributing to achieving the UN’s SDGs. It also demonstrates Port Administration’s leadership in facilitating sustainable waste management that can result into cost saving opportunities and increase the port’s ESG overall performance. The initial results show that the project has great potential to be replicated by other ports worldwide.