Urban Biodegradable Waste Utilisation Modules
From: Stephen Bedford Clark [firstname.lastname@example.org]
This is a conceptual proposal for submission to the Europe Union based
on broadening the model of the Microbrewery Pilot Plant for The Earth
I hope this will be interest to the group:-
PROPOSAL: The Development of Sustainable Urban Biodegradable Waste
Utilisation Modules (SUBWUM) in the European Union.
AIMS: To utilise biodegradable waste streams in an urban
environment for food production.
To principally farm freshwater fish and contribute
towards the gap in market demand from the decline of
sea fishery products.
To fully maximise an integrated waste treatment system
to utilise further useful and salable commercial
The creation of enterprise and employment opportunities
The decline of European sea fishery stocks is a current ongoing factor
in striving towards sustained policies for Europe Union member states.
Emphasis has been placed worldwide on the role of aquaculture as a
solution to bridge such market demand.
South-East Asia as the principle zone for extensive freshwater fish
culture production practices methods of integrated farming where
valuable energy and nutrients are recycled and absorbed.
In the majority of cases countries in the European Union have less space
and higher priced land areas this effectively restrict the practice of
extensive aquaculture and adds higher production costs. Therefore, many
countries in Europe practice intensive aquaculture although respective
imported artificial feeds can GREATLY contribute to production costs.
As a sophisticated western society we have also developed a waste
management infrastructure with an emphasis on the minimisation of our
associated biodegradable waste by-products.
The concept of waste utilisation is for leading edge technology to
convert social organic waste streams to basic energy and nutrient
elements and the redirect those elements to production modules.
The United Nations University is heading such a research & development
programme bringing together waste treatment engineers, ecologists,
aquaculturists, horticulturists and scientists to develop new methods of
industrial manufacturing, recycling and clustering.
A EUROPEAN SUBWUM PROCESS
There would be many examples of a such a systems.
One such example could be:-
Input waste + Biogas digesters + Microalgae production + Intensive
Aquaculture + Horticulture + Constructed wetlands = Minimal Waste Output
This can take a multitude of forms and further studies would identify
many waste streams which are currently not fully utilised::
Agricultural waste : Agricultural processing (sugar beet etc..)
Household waste: Collection of biodegradable rubbish
including kitchen waste, grass and hedge
Food processing: Processing waste
Degraded meat products
Brewing & Distillation spent grains and liquor
Food retailing kitchen waste
Sewage: Toilet waste material
Basically, biodegradable waste is added to enclosed chambers and
decomposition occurs due to anaerobic digestion. Pollution levels
decrease in comparison with time and a rich compostable sludge and
methane gas is produced. This method is used extensively in South-East
Asia as a form of cheap renewable energy for farmers.
United Kingdom water companies including Severn Trent Plc have
operational plants and there are recorded instances for their use in
Another process to reduce organic loading is by intensively cultivating
microscopic algae in an enclosed controlled environment. The algae can
be harvested and can be used as a food supplement for fish and plant
Intensive freshwater aquaculture:
The culturing of aquatic organisms in an enclosed environment. There are
many commercial species of fish and invertebrates which could be
produced in zones where land space is of a premium.
One such commonly known fish named Tilapia is internationally recognised
as the future aquatic chicken and certain members of these herbivorous
species can be raised on a diet of microalgae and vegetative cuttings
(see output Microalgae production). Imported feed inputs are minimised
increasing the cost effectiveness of operations.
Principally glasshouse production utilising low level fish waste as a
nutrient base. Systems such as these are currently practiced in the USA.
Production can take the form of salad crops and ornamental plants,
trees, aquatic plants as applicable.
By engineering reed beds to form wetland areas that polish any low level
waste output to acceptable and in many cases, lower regulatory discharge
standards. These areas can also create valuable conservation reserves to
increase local biodiversity.
With particular reference to:
The Status of World Fisheries & Aquaculture
The latest estimates of the total world harvest of aquatic food and feed
organisms at an average annual figure of 109.6 million metric tonnes.
United Nations - Food & Agriculture Organisation (FAO) 1994
Over 83% of the above total originate from marine based resources, an
estimated 34.7 million mt is processed for fishmeal and oil, the
highest quantity ever quantity to be utilised for non-food purposes.
In a report entitled The Status of World Fisheries and Aquaculture
(1993) the FAO commented :
about 70% of the worlds stocks are fully exploited, overexploited,
depleted or in the process of rebuilding as a result of depletion
The worlds freshwater harvest accounts for the remaining 17% of the
total world catch with about 60% of the 15 million metric tonnes
produced by aquaculture.
Whilst statistics from the marine harvest of capture fisheries have
shown a marked decline, the output from aquaculture has increased at a
rate of 20% per year and is predicted to attain an average grow rate of
15% per annum for the next 10 years (World Bank 1994).
Considering the current estimated population growth, the demand for
freshwater food fish for the year 2010 has been estimated at 40 million
metric tonnes and the world market will be increasingly drawn towards
aquaculture as means of filling the gap between supply and demand.
Simply by utilising existing organic waste streams (to which in several
cases contributes to the increase of landfill operations) it is possible
by eco-technological methods to not only treat waste but produce useful
salable products and create employment opportunities.
This process is an example of active sustainable development considering
benefits to environmental impact, food production, social employment
opportunities and conservation practices.
In many cases the modules described above represent proven technology
and operate as a stand alone processes.
The overall sucess in the design and management of the development of
such a SUBWUM system requires the coordination of the input/output
relationships to the several outlined integrated disciplines and
SBC & Associates
Sustainable Freshwater Ecology & Aquaculture Consultancy Services
7 Ballam Avenue
United Kingdom DN5 9DY
Tel: + 44 (0)1302 782597
Fax: + 44 (0)1302 782597
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