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Composting using biomass ashes helping the city to recycle its organic waste
Lages produces 30 tons of organic waste a day. The concept of this Project is to use the ash that results from burning biomass in a low cost and sustainable way. In this sense, Lages Power Plant management team supported the creation of the Mini Ecological Composting Project which main goal is to transform organic waste into compost. The company decided to support this Project by donating this residue to local schools. Schools began to use the ash to make the organic waste disappear, and in its place, an excellent organic fertilizer arouse. Then the children took the ashes home and it spread around the neighborhood, and the families started to learn how to recycle their waste. In the future, we imagine every house producing healthy food with organic fertilizers generated from recycling waste and using the ash produced by Lages Power Plant.
The 160.000 inhabitants of Lages (Santa Catarina - Brazil) produce daily 30 metric tons of organic waste, usually sent to municipal landfills and generating high costs and negative environment impact. The Lages Cogenerating Unit (UCLA) at full load produces 1,200 metric tons of ash resulting from the combustion biomass.
In 2014, the Mini Eco Composting project was launched by a team of teachers and technicians from local public and private institutions. The main goal was to teach inhabitants to better sort wastes and use 100% of organic waste for composting at home. Biomass combustion ashes from UCLA Unit perfectly fit as catalyst to allow decomposition of waste in a proper manner.
The use of biomass combustion ash, as the catalyst element, contributed to the expansion of the Mini Eco Composting (MCE) Units allowing anybody to recycle organic waste turning it into compost.
The results have been very positive. In two years, more than 100 schools participated in the project and over 70% of them are maintaining the MCE composting units active. From seven up to ten thousand households have embraced this technology, increasing the number of residences composting their organic waste. The use of washes from UCLA unit has shown excellent application, because it has all the physical and chemical characteristics for compost. From these preliminary results, ENGIE, in partnership with the local authorities, obtained a permit for ashes distribution. Four public schools, strategically chosen received loads of 15 tons of ashes, also available for the other schools, and to anybody who wants to use them to keep their MCE Units. The Municipal Agriculture Secretariat is bagging the ashes and distributing this material free of charge all over the city, making it easy for distribution in the urban area of Lages.