An integrated waste disposal program for the coming years has been elaborated in Uzbekistan

It was defined well before that: the country will gradually abandon burning and long-term storage of waste at landfills, introducing modern and environmentally friendly technologies of its separate collection and recycling.

Huge amounts of waste that keeps accumulating in landfills, poisoning the life of surroundings, rank among the main challenges of modern society. Most of the states in the world lose in this combat, simply avoiding the worsening of the situation. They prefer using the old, proven, but extremely ineffective mechanisms of waste disposal by expanding landfills, delaying a solution on the back burner, or, even worse, cause enormous damage to the environment, partly burning garbage.

beston sorting plant in Uzbekistan
beston sorting plant in Uzbekistan

It is no secret that Uzbekistan could not avoid this problem, because huge amounts of industrial waste were accumulated in the country in the years of extensive development in Soviet times, which were thoughtlessly dumped into huge pits and then buried. It was not fashionable to care about the environment or population; the ball was ruled by industrial mega giants and economic projects.

Independence changed the situation; however, the game was still ‘one-sided’. Despite the purchase of new equipment, creation of a network of modern garbage collection points throughout the country, the amount of waste continued to rise, threatening to entail even bigger quandaries. The solution was eventually found. Expert community and the government developed a uniform and phased treatment strategy for production and consumption waste for the whole country with the main focus on the introduction of innovative technologies and attraction of investments, including foreign funds.

It is based on the creation of a network of standard design ultramodern waste sorting and recycling plants. According to expert estimates, even one year of operation of such a plant in every region of the country would significantly change the situation. They would not just address operational problems, but allow being proactive, moving toward complete resolution of the problem.

The initiative was built on the concept of expansion of the scope of application of municipal solid waste while minimizing their negative impact on the environment. Today, millions of tons of garbage are stored in landfills throughout the country and remain unused, while in the European Union, Japan, Republic of Korea, they have long been in demand as a feedstock for the production of a wide range of goods, bringing billions of dollars in revenue.

The first conceptually new and ultra-modern waste sorting and recycling plant will be built in Urgench district of Khorezm region through loan resources of the National Bank of Uzbekistan. The industrial complex will be equipped by the Chinese Beston Group Machinery Co LTD.

The industrial facility, which is scheduled for commissioning by the end of the current year, will consist of two process steps – a specialized waste sorting station, and a complex for processing various types of waste. Annually, the facility will process almost 900 tons of municipal solid waste, and produce six types of finished products.

For example, fuel for boilers will be produced of rubber, tires, cellophane and plastic, and briquettes for heating will be obtained from pruning waste. Plastic bottles of soft drinks will go for the production of padding polyester for textile and construction industry.

It is planned to establish the production of walling blocks out of construction waste. A separate line will process waste paper into packaging material for industrial enterprises. Fruit and vegetable waste and spoiled food will go for the production of biogas and plant fertilizers.

A question arises: what will be the effect of one, or even 15 plants? This initiative should be assessed from a different angle. Plants just imply modern technologies, while triggering as much important system of separated waste collection nationwide, which is now regarded by all international experts without exception as one of the main mechanisms to address waste disposal problems. In this context, Uzbekistan will pioneer the introduction of a full-scale system of separate waste collection and recycling not only in Central Asia and the CIS, but among the most advanced nations of the world.

The scheme is simple: people will carry trash to specialized collection points equipped with modern containers, each of which is intended for a specific type of waste – glass, paper, plastic and so on. Specially procured vehicles of domestic production will deliver waste to factories for processing, which then will supply ready products to the market. The introduction of this system was supposed to start in the country long ago with Tashkent as a pilot project. However, the lack of a network of processing plants and full funding impeded the project. Now it is time for a full-scale launch.

Uzbekistan relies on the European experience. For example, a project on the modernization of solid waste management in Samarkand is partnered by the French Development Agency, which invests €23.5 million, and the EU that allocates €8 million from a special fund.

The project provides for the construction and repair of 200 garbage collection points, purchase of 70 specialized vehicles, construction of a municipal solid waste sorting center and a waste disposal center, as well as the installation of a bioreactor for recycling biogas in landfills.

It is unique for the fact that the waste technical dumping center will be used as a bioreactor to maximize the extraction of biogas as a basis for obtaining fuel for refueling containment machines. The complex will be the first of its kind in Uzbekistan and the entire Central Asia.

This all suggests that with the right approach, Uzbekistan is likely to turn into one of the cleanest countries in the region in a couple of years, earning on seemingly useless waste. The project has been launched, and the results are anticipated.

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