Numerous waste streams (green, food, human) currently exist that are not being captured and recycled, especially in urban environments. The approach of RUNRES consists in capturing waste streams and retrieving nutrients into different products.

The innovations co-developed in Phase 1 (2019-2023) address three aspects of circular bio-economy:

  • Recycling organic and food waste,
  • Recycling human waste, faeces and urine, and
  • Supporting small-scale processing in relation to the flows of recycled organic waste.

For each of these innovations, we ensured that they were technically feasible, that regulatory standards were met and that the output would be a meaningful impact in terms of circular economy.

Soll input

Organic waste collected from urban centres of the city regions, transported and processed into compost, have the capacity to provide critically needed organic soil inputs for farmers in rural areas. These innovations simultaneously alleviate environmental and human health challenges in these urban centres, while also improving soil health and fertility in the adjacent agricultural zones

Coffee plantlets, DR Congo
compost production, Ethiopia
Compost tunring, Arba Minch, Ethiopia

We co-developed composting innovations in the DR Congo, Ethiopia, Rwanda, and South Africa. These innovations have been developed by different local companies and organisations, and focus on composting and co-composting of organic and human waste through thermophilic compost and vermi-compost production. In addition, we recover urine to be used as a fertilizer, where we deactivate pathogens through long-term storage.

Animal feed

By recovering organic waste and cassava peels, RUNRES aims to privide high quality animal products. Our focus is:

  • Rearing black soldier flies’ larvae with organic waste to produce animal feed.
  • Treating cassava peels through fermentation to remove aflatoxins and cyanides, drying, and grinding for animal feed supplement.

We developed animal feed solutions in the DR Congo and in Rwanda. These innovations have been developed by different local companies and organizations.

Human consumption and safety

The use of organic and human waste by farmers poses a number of risks due to possible pathogen and pollutant accumulation in the products. Therefore, we set up a quality assurance programme aiming to measure the following parameters to guarantee the quality of the products: the agronomic parameters, the level of pathogens, for example Escherichia coli or Helminths’ eggs, and the amount of heavy metals. We could also show that the processes set in place deactivated harmful pathogens. The remaining challenge is the level of some heavy metals, which exceeded the norms in some places, although these cases were rather exceptional.

Our RUNRES innovations alre also oriented towards human consumtion. We supported small-scale food production, for instance through producing banana flour as a substitute for cereal-based flour, also adapted as baby-food.