Geovation Greener Smarter Communities Challenge

Canal Collective - waste to value processing of organic wastes

Our central London venture aims to transform untapped toilet and organic waste streams which are currently disposed of into valuable products and resources. Our service involving mobile collection and processing of these unrecognised resources begins on the canals and waterways of Central London. A large influx of boaters who live in barges on these waterways lack access to adequate disposal facilities, serves as our pilot group. We will test our provision of these services with our pilot group to achieve proof of concept, prior to expanding services to land-based businesses and individuals.

 

Both solid and liquid human waste, like manure, as well as organic food waste, contains high quantities of nutrients and nitrogen compounds. These are resources that can be processed and harvested for the production of fertiliser through a composting process, which is aerobic, or an anaerobic process called anaerobic digestion. A by-product of these processes is the off-gassing of methane, which can be bottled and safely burned as an energy source.

 

Through our use of zero-emission cargo bikes to collect the waste resources, our service will be carbon negative. By processing harvesting the nutrient and fuel potentials contained in the waste resources, we will become energy positive.

 

Our service is an application of systems thinking to waste management, in that extracted nutrient content is fed back into local urban food production as fuel for plant growth in hydroponics and urban gardening initiatives we are partnering with. Closing the biological nutrient loop in this way is important for the sustainability of increased urbanisation in the cities of tomorrow.

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Idea No. 422