BASF sets up awareness stations to further promote organic waste composting in Sri Lanka

Friday, 13 June 2014 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

BASF, the world’s leading chemical company, together with local and international partners has initiated Project REPLACE (Restoring the Environment by promoting biodegradable Plastic Resources) in Colombo, Sri Lanka earlier in 2014. To further create awareness, educate and engage stakeholders, educational sessions have been planned by the project initiators. Gathering key government officials, policy makers, waste management companies, representatives from Colombo Municipal Council, Urban Councils, educational institutes, converters, top hotel chains, food cities and shopping malls; the objective of the project is to encourage the use of certified compostable bags made with BASF’s ecovio/ecoflex to efficiently and effectively manage organic and biodegradable waste in Sri Lanka. As part of the project initiative, an awareness station was inaugurated on World Environment Day (5 June) at the Good Market, to create awareness among the public about the need to switch to certified compostable plastic bags. It also aims to educate the public about the importance of source segregation of waste. University students/volunteers will be engaged to facilitate the educational session and conduct surveys to collect feedback from the participants. Apart from Good Market, the awareness stations are also being planned to be set up at some prominent retail stores. Certified compostable bags enable the hygienic collection of organic waste: they prevent liquid leaking from organic waste and keep out unpleasant odours. Additionally, as the bags are certified compostable, it can be processed immediately upon arrival at composting site, to be quickly converted into high quality compost. This nutrient-rich compost in turn helps improve the soil quality, treat loss of arable land and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. BASF has already been involved in several projects worldwide to demonstrate the potential of composting as a feasible and effective waste management option for organic waste. The REPLACE project is co-financed by the German DEG – Deutsche Investitions und Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH, with public funds of the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development. This project is implemented by BASF and Asia Society for Social Improvement and Sustainable Transformation (ASSIST) in association with the National Cleaner Production Centre. Ecovio is made of the partially bio-based ecoflex and PLA (polylactic acid). Like the biodegradable waste itself, the ecovio waste bags are completely broken down by microorganisms with the aid of enzymes. At the end of the composting process, the microorganisms have completely converted the bags into carbon dioxide, water and biomass. The bags can help reduce the amount of organic waste that ends up in the regular garbage cans, contribute to protecting the environment and also lower the disposal costs for residual waste. BASF has had an association with Sri Lanka for almost 75 years now. With 57 employees, and a state-of-the-art warehousing complex at Sapugaskande, BASF registered sales of 20 million euros to customers in Sri Lanka in 2013. BASF in Sri Lanka also contributes to the local community with initiatives that support relief and rehabilitation efforts.