44_Waste Concern

Tying garbage, global warming, and fertilizer up in a neat (nonsmelly) package


Each day, Bangladesh's capital city collects just 60% percent of its garbage. The rest--1,200 tons a day--piles up and rots in the streets of Dhaka.

Ten years ago, two Bangladeshis created Waste Concern to tackle this public-health problem. Now their five plants turn 20 tons of garbage a day into organic compost--at a profit. The method has been copied in 20 cities around Bangladesh.

Waste Concern handles just a small fraction of Dhaka's trash. But, in a masterstroke, founders Iftekhar Enayetullah and Maqsood Sinha have found a way to finance a dramatic expansion--with a single plant this year that can handle 100 tons of garbage a day and five plants in the next two years that can handle 700 tons daily.

The key: Composting eliminates greenhouse gases produced by rotting garbage. So World Wide Recycling of the Netherlands is financing Waste Concern's new facilities to the tune of $8 million, in exchange for the Kyoto greenhouse-gas credits Waste Concern will earn. Dhaka gets free garbage collection, Waste Concern creates 1,000 new jobs, the sky gets 89,000 fewer tons of greenhouse gases a year, Bangladeshi farmers get organic fertilizer, and WWR gets the carbon credits it needs. "I will tell you one thing," says Enayetullah. "If you really want something, the world will conspire to help you."

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