ReCarbon Ground Trading is a private company that produces certified organic compost for use by farmers, landscapers, and gardeners. The compost-making process entails the diversion of organic waste (solid and liquid) from landfill.
This particular ReCarbon Ground Trading project at Uitenhage diverts food, liquid waste and sawmill matter from landfill. The greenhouse gas emissions (GHG’s) savings are associated with avoidance of methane (CH4 ) emissions and Nitrous Oxide (N2 O) emissions that would have occurred had the ReCarbon business in Uitenhage not existed and the organic waste had been treated in the ‘conventional’ manner. Typically, this conventional manner or organic waste disposal involves high levels of anaerobic decomposition.
The production of compost is considered an important part of a circular economy and contributes not only to carbon dioxide removal (CDR) from the atmosphere, but also to soil fertility, soil water retention, reduced use of inorganic fertilisers and slows soil degradation.
ReCarbon Ground Trading is the project developer and legal owner of any carbon credits generated by the project, as described in the Registration Agreement between ReCarbon Uitenhage and Credible Carbon Pty Ltd.; the Registration Agreement entitles Credible Carbon to the exclusive rights to sell carbon credits from the project for a minimum period of 12 months, beginning 1 June 2021.
The material that is composted is delivered by various suppliers in the food processing, timber, agricultural and industrial sectors, to the Uitenhage project site. The material is treated and accumulated in windrows for 6-8 weeks. Regular turning of the waste material with a mechanical turner ensures on-going aerobic decomposition and the production of high-quality compost that can be used as organic fertiliser.
The ReCarbon Ground Trading project in Uitenhage avoids the production of Green House Gases that would otherwise emanate from the conventional processing of biomass, food and liquid waste, and particularly the anaerobic decomposition of that waste.
To calculate the emissions that would have arisen had the solid materials been sent to a conventional solid waste disposal site, a First Order Decay (FOD) model 1 was applied. The FOD model uses the degradable organic carbon (DOC) content of the waste as the key variable to determine the GHG emissions.
It is assumed that liquid waste would have been disposed of at Waste Water Treatment Plants (WWTPs). GHG emissions from the WWTPs are calculated using the quantity of organic waste present in the wastewater, given by either the biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) or the chemical oxygen demand (COD), depending on the type of wastewater (IPCC, 2006). GHG emissions for the composting facility are calculated directly using an emission factor provided in the standards. Due to the lack of actual data, default values from the guidelines are used, supplemented with literature data where default data is not provided in the guidelines.
The CDM methodology for determining the GHG emissions from composting waste does not consider the type of organic waste and the composting process when calculating GHG emissions. A default emission factor of 2 gCH4 /kg waste and 0.2 gN2 O/kg waste (for wet waste) is thus used in the calculations. CO 2 emissions are not included in the calculation as they are assumed to be biogenic or short cycle carbon, however the CO 2 equivalent of CH 4 and N2 O is used in order to reflect the ultimate carbon credit figures.
The GHG emissions savings per mass of waste is calculated as the difference between the GHG emissions from the historical treatment pathway and the composting treatment pathway. The emissions factor for all the waste streams in the composting process (apart from eggshells/shells and calcite) is 0.11kg CO2 e/kg waste.
The project aims to uplift the communities where the drop-off and landfill site is located, by creating job opportunities for residents within the Nelson Mandel Bay Municipality. The area has a population of 1,334,883 and an unemployment rate of 36.6%. The project currently employs twelve previously disadvantaged people from surrounding areas supporting their livelihoods and the livelihoods of their dependents and aims to grow this number as the operation expands.
As with similar Credible Carbon projects, 50% of the carbon revenue paid to ReCarbon is expected to be reinvested in local community development. This will be audited against once carbon revenue has been paid to ReCarbon.
A Project Idea Note (PIN) was drawn up to formalise the project scope with regards to carbon credits.
The project’s first audit for the period 1 January 2020 to 31 December 2021 (both inclusive) in February, 2022.