Capacity Building

Urban Nexus // Innovative Municipal Solid Waste Management Training on Maximum Yield Technology (MYT)

By Ruth Erlbeck, Ralph Trosse and Rashane Sala Ngarm (The Urban Nexus Project). When it comes to solid waste treatment, most cities in Asia face similar problems, such as increasing amounts of waste. To find solutions for these challenges, GIZ conducted the "Integrated Resource Management in Asian Cities: The Urban Nexus" workshop to introduce the Maximum Yield Technology - a mechanical biological treatment technology that has proved successful in Germany and is applicable to the Asian context.

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In Asia, most cities are struggling with solid waste treatment problems - from increasing amounts of waste and unsegregated waste, to high organic and humidity waste content. They're all facing a major lack of high-quality RDF (Refused Derived Fuel) to be used as a fossil fuel substitute. To find solutions for these challenges, GIZ conducted the "Integrated Resource Management in Asian Cities: The Urban Nexus" workshop to introduce the Maximum Yield Technology - a mechanical biological treatment technology that has proved successful in Germany and is applicable to the Asian context.

The training, held from 11-14 Sep 2018 in Ringsheim, Germany, was financed by the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and organised in partnership with the Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI South Asia), Zweckverband Abfallbehandlung Kahlenberg/Special Purpose Association Solid Waste Management Processing Kahlenberg (ZAK) and EUWELLE Environmental Technology GmbH.

Among the 16 participants were representatives from the Indian state level as well as from the Metropolis of Bangkok, the City Administrations of Korat, Thailand and Danang, Vietnam.

The training focused on the concepts of the circular economy and waste-to-energy. A key focal point was how participating cities and countries could contribute to the goals set out in the Paris Climate Agreement, the SDGs and their national/local agendas. 

Applied Nexus

The Nexus approach is a fundamental shift from a purely sectoral mind-set to innovative solutions that embrace cross-sectoral, coherent and integrated perspectives. The approach challenges existing structures, policies and procedures at global, regional and subnational levels. It highlights interdependencies between achieving water, energy and food security for human well-being by providing basic services and economic development, while ensuring the ecologically-sustainable use of globally essential resources. The Nexus approach is based on an understanding of the synergies and trade-offs between competing uses of water, land and energy resources.   

From the Nexus perspective, the circular economy is an alternative to a traditional linear economy (take, make, use, dispose). A circular economy keeps resources in use for as long as possible, extracting their maximum value before proceeding to recover and regenerate products and materials at the end of their service lives. The circular economy thus advocates for a shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy with an emphasis on the role of diversity as a characteristic of resilient and sustainable systems. 

A circular economy encompasses products, infrastructure, equipment and services applied to each industry sector. It also include "technical" resources (metals, minerals, fossil resources) and "biological" resources (food, fibres, timber). The Maximum Yield Technology is a classic example of a circular economy that focuses on separating mass flow cycles and reuse/recycling. 

During the training, participants learned about the history and structure of the "Special Purpose Association Solid Waste Management Processing Kahlenberg" (ZAK) plant, which uses the Maximum Yield Technology modules. ZAK treats 100,000 tonnes of household waste per year through recycling, maximum yield extraction of biogas, RDF and minimum disposal. It has proved successful in Germany and is applicable to the Asian context.

The training provided information on mechanical and biological waste treatment of mixed municipal solid waste, the recovery of valuable and recyclable material and the production of high quality RDF (alternative fuel) and its application. 

Feedback from participants was positive across the board, with many emphasising the added value of the new perspectives they gained for their solid waste management and urban development work. Participants were eager to explore the possibility of using Maximum Yield Technology as well as the ZAK-model in their national contexts. 

Further reading

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