Mbeng, L. O., Phillips, P. S. and Fairweather, R. (2010) Managing hazardous components in household waste in developing countries: lessons learnt from community composting in Cameroon. Journal of Solid Waste Technology and Management.36(3), pp. 54-67. 1088-1697.
Composting is increasingly being adopted as a practicable, valuable and environmentally sound option for the sustainable management of biodegradable household waste. However, despite the community enthusiasm for compost production in Cameroon, compost producers are constrained by the increasing presence of the hazardous components in the household waste e.g. batteries, used paints and solvents, waste electrical and electronic equipments (WEEE). Based on this, semi-structured interviews, participant observation and participatory appraisal methods were used at targeted community composting sites to study socio-economic issues of community composting and their contribution to quality assurance for compost. The study showed that composters were aware of the importance to pre-sort and remove the hazardous components but were constrained by the fact that it was manual and labour intensive. The results of the study also shows that despite constraints, many communities were prepared to undertake composting as there was a significant increase in the demand for compost for use in Agriculture, Horticulture and Landscaping in Cameroon. On this basis, the paper proposes new strategy component for managing household hazardous waste (HHW) during compost production in Cameroon as well as the prospect of organizing waste pickers and training them in the pre-sorting, removal and marketing of recyclables from the composting sites