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Practical Action Bangladesh waste management initiative is moving big steps forward

19 January 2017

The ground-breaking waste management project in Gaibandha, Bangladesh - to transform household waste into biogas and fertilizer - has taken another step forward with an investment from TOMRA Sorting Recycling: The introduction of a new conveyor belt to efficiently sort the mixed waste collected from consumers, effectively reducing sorting time and increasing segregation performance. Although this latest development is currently undergoing testing, its aim is to improve process efficiency as well as ensure greater protection for the waste management workers against a range of health hazards.

SMS, a local NGO, has raised its support in the area, increasing coverage from 1000 to 1700 households. In turn, this effectively boosts the supply of the product to the consumer, as well as enhances its commercial viability over the past 12 months. A series of awareness sessions have been run to encourage the community, including local schools, to recycle more waste, emphasizing both the environmental benefits and improvements to the job market thanks to better recycling practices. Practical Action has also organized several demonstration sessions for officials from the local Municipal Authority, who are exploring the possibility of replicating the scheme elsewhere in the City of Rangpur.

In a spin off from the project, SMS is expanding its composting business, selling an average of 1500kg of compost each month to local farmers. Initial feedback from farmers has been positive as they increasingly shift to organic fertilizer over chemical alternatives. The farmers’ next step, early in 2017, is to secure Department of Agriculture approval for the compost, allowing them to sell the produce through local markets.

For the second consecutive year, TOMRA Sorting Recycling made a donation to Practical Action in lieu of a customer Christmas gift. On the motivation for supporting this charity project Mithu Mohren, Global Marketing Manager at TOMRA Sorting Recycling, says: “TOMRA has an ambitious vision to contribute significantly to the environmental situation. Thinking globally and setting the direction for countries and industries is essential, but supporting a very targeted local initiative such as Practical Action´s Bangladesh waste management project can make a real change. Due to its profound application and market knowledge, TOMRA is a good match to support this kind of initiative.”

More information about the project can be found here: