Community level composting in a developing country: case study of KIWODET, Tanzania

A.S. Oberlin, G.L. Szanto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Environmentally sustainable waste management practices have a limited relevance and viability in developing countries. Despite a technological potential, composting initiatives often share this fate. Little is known about the functioning of community level composting, which is reportedly the optimal level for viable compost production. This paper presents a multidisciplinary analysis of factors influencing the success and failure of the composting initiative of KIWODET, a community based organization in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The results show that despite the ready availability and good compostability of the waste stream, not all fractions of municipal organic wastes qualify as feedstock. Negative consumer attitude hindered the acceptance of compost produced from residential wastes. KIWODET did manage to successfully implement a composting operation for commercial organic wastes. Their additional waste collection and sorting activities also contributed to an increased feedstock control as well as the integration of informal waste collecting activities. When KIWODET was forced to suspend its composting activities because of land use issues, their diversified waste sector activities proved crucial in reducing the negative financial impact on their overall performance. This paper emphasizes that successful composting initiatives can arise from local capacity in developing countries. However, the lack of municipal integration and support leaves such technically viable initiatives strongly vulnerable to external factors
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1071-1077
JournalWaste Management and Research
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • solid-waste management
  • es-salaam city

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