Saturday, April 18, 2009
One man's rubbish is another man's goldmine: Making charcoal briquettes and saving trees in the Rift Valley
The Rift Valley produces 2400 tons of waste every day. This waste is choking rural and urban centers, and most of it is discarded at undesignated dumpsites which include rivers and roadsides, among other areas.
OTEPIC has devised a "magic dome" that transforms useless waste into a new object of function and art. Like compost, this is another way in which we apply technique to reap benefits from waste.
OTEPIC-trained men and women collect soot remains from charcoal cooking fires, carrying the stuff on their backs. These "useless" black dust charcoal fragments remain after people have used or sold their charcoal.
Then the collectors mold the fragments into balls of 250 grams each (about 1/2 pound) with corn cobs at the core of each black orb. The balls are left in the sun for few days to dry. The corn cob improves combustion of the mold which is used as a charcoal briquette. This practice encourages recycling, creates a use for solid waste and reduces deforestation.