Innovative waste management solutions in India

Henry Ferland, co-director of the GMI ASG, and Swarupa Ganguli, Team Lead for the U.S. EPA’s Landfill Methane Outreach Program, at a biomethanation plant in Pune, India.

In October, a delegation of representatives of GMI’s Municipal Solid Waste Sector and Administrative Support Group (ASG) conducted a scoping mission to India in support of GMI’s work there. The delegation visited several cities, including East Delhi, Pune, and Coimbatore, met with representatives of the national and local governments, and observed innovative solutions to waste management challenges in all three cities.


With a sizable district population of 1.3 million, East Delhi faces ongoing challenges to managing its solid waste, including tracking logistics. GMI visited the Ghazipur landfill and waste-to-energy (WTE) plant, the Okhla composting plant, and the Timarpur Okhla WTE plant with municipal officials.

Despite being at full capacity, the Ghazipur landfill continues to receive waste from East Delhi. The city has implemented a small pilot LFG energy project that collects gas across 4 hectares of the landfill. Electricity generation is expected for use on site by the end of the year. Meanwhile, the Ghazipur WTE plant produces refuse-derived fuel (RDF) from the 500 tons of waste it receives each day. Currently, the RDF is provided free of cost to local industrial facilities that are testing its effectiveness in direct-use applications. In the future, the RDF will be used to generate electricity at a yet-to-be completed power plant.

The Oklha composting plant treats raw municipal solid waste from neighboring areas in South Delhi. The plant treats approximately 500 tons of waste per day using the wind-row composting technique. The composting process is completed in 40 days, and the compost is sold to farmers in bags or by the ton.

The Timarpur Okhla WTE plant receives approximately 2,500 tons of waste per day, which it incinerates and turns into electricity using a boiler. The WTE plant has an electricity generation capacity of 16 MW, which the city then sells to the grid.


One of 20 small biomethanation plants distributed throughout the city of Pune, India.

The city of Pune has a decentralized anaerobic digestion program termed biomethanation for the treatment of organic waste from hotels and apartment buildings. Today, the program consists of 20 biomethanation plants operating at full capacity (10 tons per day); another 5 plants are in the process of being commissioned.

The GMI delegation visited one of the city’s biomethanation plants located adjacent to Peshwe Park. Every day, the plant receives and treats 10 tons of organic waste that is collected from hotels and apartments and manually treated to remove contaminants. The plant currently generates 500 cubic meters of biogas per day, enough to produce approximately 40 kilowatts of electricity. The electricity is used to power public lighting of parks and streets.


The Coimbatore Municipal Corporation (CMC) operates a waste segregation program in 20 of the city’s 100 wards. The GMI delegation visited one of these wards to observe the program in operation. In that ward, 14 two-person teams use push carts to collect waste in the designated areas of the ward to which they have been assigned.

Two-person teams collect and segregate waste in Coimbatore, India.

Each team collects waste from approximately 300 households, six days per week (from Monday to Saturday). The waste is segregated by the sanitation workers at the point of collection into different categories: organic waste for compost or biomethanation, organic waste for fuel, mixed paper, high-grade plastics, low-grade plastics, cardboard, glass bottles, and carry bags. These segregated materials are then taken to a collection point where they are weighed and recorded. In addition to an established monthly salary, the sanitation workers receive payment commensurate with the amount of materials they collect.

Storage bins for sorted waste materials, awaiting recycling or reuse.

The materials are stored at the collection point until they are sold to third parties, such as scrap dealers and recyclers. When one ton of a specified material has been collected, that material is picked up at the collection point. For materials that have been accumulated in lesser quantities, the operators sell the materials at different markets. In addition to scrap materials, cardboard, white paper, and bottles, some organic waste is sold for re-use. For example, recovered coconuts are reused to make activated carbon, straw, and mosquito repellents.

UNECE and Poland to establish joint International Centre of Excellence on Coal Mine Methane

The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and the Republic of Poland have joined together to establish an International Centre of Excellence (ICE) on Coal Mine Methane. Operated by the UNECE Group of Experts on Coal Mine Methane and hosted by Poland’s Central Mining Institute (Główny Instytut Górnictwa, GIG), the ICE will act as a clearinghouse and training center for the entire region. The ICE will broadly engage coal mining stakeholders and the general public, in order to raise awareness about opportunities for methane mitigation and distribute best practices for the capture and reuse of methane from the entire coal sector, from production to final use.

“The centre will put Poland on the map of climate change mitigation efforts. It is time for action. Onsite training that provides concrete, hands-on learning experience is needed to translate good practices into tangible results. We invite all United Nations Member States that exploit coal mines to benefit from the expertise of the centre.”

-Jerzy Pietrewicz, State Secretary, Ministry of Economy, Poland

In May 2015, U.S. EPA GMI Coal Subcommittee Co-Chair Felicia Ruiz and the Chair and Secretariat of the UNECE Group of Experts on CMM met with representatives of the Polish Ministries of Economy, Treasury and Foreign Affairs to advance development of the ICE. Following up on that work, on 2 November 2015 UNECE Executive Secretary Christian Friis Bach and Jerzy Pietrewicz of Poland’s Ministry of the Economy signed a Memorandum of Understanding formally creating the ICE.

Last chance to give feedback to U.S. EPA Methane Challenge Program

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requests your feedback about its proposed new methane challenge program. The Natural Gas STAR Methane Challenge Program provides a new framework through which companies could make and track ambitious commitments to reduce methane emissions. It is built on stakeholder input and reflects the need for a more robust voluntary program. EPA recently released its draft Supplementary Technical Information and encourages U.S. and international stakeholders to provide feedback by 13 November 2015. If you are interested in providing feedback, you can submit your feedback online or by email to

If you have questions about the proposal or wish to schedule a meeting, please contact GMI Oil & Gas Subcommittee member, Carey Bylin, at (202) 343-9669 or by email at


GMI Outreach in China

In October 2015, MSW Subcommittee Co-Chair, Tom Frankiewicz, traveled to China to participate in an international waste conference and conduct a training workshop.


Tom presented GMI’s new Urban Municipal Waste and Wastewater Program at the International Solid Waste Management Conference, held in Suzhou by the China Association of Urban Environmental Sanitation (CAUES) and International Solid Waste Association.

Heinz-Peter Mang, University of Science and Technology - Beijing, (left) and Mark Hudgins, GeoCost (right)

Heinz-Peter Mang, University of Science and Technology – Beijing, (left) and Mark Hudgins, GeoCost (right) presenting at GMI’s training seminar in Ningbo, China.

GMI conducted a 2-day training seminar for municipal officials and other stakeholders to develop best practices for the handling and treatment of food waste in Ningbo, China. Representatives from the World Bank and the Ningbo Environment and Sanitation Management Office made opening remarks at the training seminar. Once operational, Ningbo will be the first residential food waste separation, collection and treatment project in China. The summary of the training workshop is available in both English and Chinese.

Zhang Yue, MOHURD (left) and Tan Hau, CAUES (right)

Tom met with Zhang Yue, Director-General, with Ministry of Housing and Urban Rural Development (MOHURD) and Tau Hau with CAUES to discuss MOHURD’s interest in collaborating with GMI to advance organics and sludge treatment best practices.

October Methane News Round-Up


Happy Halloween from your friends at the Global Methane Initiative Administrative Support Group! Before delving into the methane news coverage of this month, we ask you: what’s spookier than climate change? Check out these climate change Halloween-themed costumes to wear out tomorrow evening – that way you can spread the word about the serious effects of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere in addition to donning a creative theme (hint: we like the methane-themed farting cow costume).

This month, The Economist touted the near-term benefits of curbing short-lived climate pollutants, and the European Parliament listened when it decided to support a new law that puts national limits on major pollutants, including methane (but excluding methane from enteric fermentation). The new law still needs endorsement by member states.

In the United States, the rising ocean temperatures off the Pacific coast are causing methane hydrates on the ocean floor to melt and release their methane. Meanwhile, the Alaskan permafrost is beginning to thaw. In the nation’s capital, the Blue Plains facility is using biogas generated from citizens’ excrement.

Finally, the Daily Beast offers a helpful guide on effective recycling. See you in November!

October Methane News Round-Up

Low Hanging Dirt (The Economist)

European politicians back new law to reduce air pollution (Reuters)

New methane organisms discovered (Business Standard)

Fracking can cause nearby abandoned wells to leak methane: study (Reuters)

Warming Oceans may be Spewing Methane off West Coast (Popular Science)

Permafrost warming in parts of Alaska ‘is accelerating’ (BBC News)

D.C. water is number one at recycling number two (WJLA ABC News)

When Should You Not Recycle? (The Daily Beast)

Featured Project Network Members

Catalytic Products International

D & R Energy Services



Flex Energy


International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis

Jamshedpur Utilities


Nashik Municipal Corporation

National Energy Research Center




Tata Consulting Engineers Limited

Thiess Global Mining

Zia Engineering

GMI Visits Brazil

In early October 2015, the Global Methane Initiative traveled to São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to focus on methane mitigation in the landfill and wastewater sectors.

São Paulo: GMI’s MSW sector advisors attended a Forum on Waste Management hosted by the Brazilian Association of Public Cleaning Companies and Special Waste (ABRELPE). The forum allowed for an exchange of different and complementary approaches to waste management and resource efficiency. GMI presented on integrating methane mitigation into the MSW sector to an audience of approximately 150 people.

Rio de Janeiro: The team then traveled to Rio de Janeiro to participate in a biannual conference held by the Brazilian Association of Sanitary and Environmental Engineering (ABES). The theme of this year’s conference was Climate Change and Environmental Sanitation Management. On behalf of GMI, Floriano Ferreira presented “Tools and Criteria for Financial Analysis of Biogas Projects in the Waste Water Sector” in a biogas-focused panel attended by approximately 250 people.


Meanwhile, the GMI Administrative Support Group manned a booth in the exhibition hall, promoting methane mitigation in the wastewater sector. We were pleased to see that our friends at Probiogas – a Brazil-Germany project Fostering Energy Use of Biogas in Brazil – were also in attendance.


Following the ABES conference, the GMI technical team attended a workshop sponsored by GMI, the CCAC, Rio de Janeiro’s Municipal Waste Management Company (COMLURB), C40 Cities, and Texas A&M Transportation Institute on Sustainable Transportation for Solid Waste Collection. This workshop featured notable addresses from the President of COMLURB and the city of Rio de Janeiro’s Secretary of Transportation, as well as engaging presentations on topics such as a landfill gas to transportation fuel project and C40 initiatives on sustainable transportation.

All in all, a successful trip to Brazil!

September News Round-Up


Each month, we here at Methane International will bring you a selection of the methane-focused news and studies published over the past month, as well as a list of the GMI Project Network members we have featured on Twitter. September 2015 put landfill emissions in the spotlight, thanks to the release of a new study from Yale University. NPR provided a helpful guide to cut kitchen food waste, while members of the United Nations dined on a lunch made completely of wasted food ingredients.

The Economist put out two interesting reads on the American dairy industry and creating urban power sources via small anaerobic digesters in parks that can be filled with dog poop.

Finally, the world celebrated ‘National Coffee Day’ on September 29th – and it turns out that the leftover grounds you threw out could be used to store a substantial amount of methane. What will October bring?

September Methane News Round-Up

Don’t Toss That Sour Milk! And Other Tips To Cut Kitchen Food Waste (NPR)

How Your Trash Is Contributing to Climate Change (Time)

The palm oil plantations powering communities and tackling climate change (The Guardian)

Trendsetting Manhattan Leads in Methane Leaks, Too (InsideClimateNews)

Study proves pipeline replacement programs are effective (

From Moo to You (The Economist)

Urban Anaerobic Digesters for Pet Waste (The Economist)

Used Coffee Grounds Can Store Methane (Popular Science)

World Leaders Are Fed Food Waste, and It’s Great (US News and World Report)

Why Beef is the new SUV (CNN – Opinion)



Economic impacts of carbon dioxide and methane released from thawing permafrost (Nature)

Estimates of solid waste disposal rates and reduction targets for landfill gas emissions (Nature)

Featured Project Network Members


Verso Energy

Petroleum Club of Romania

PRM Energy Systems

Quality Tonnes

Random Dynamic

Raven Knight

Rolls Royce

Scientific Drilling




Thai Biogas Company


The Coal Authority


Unison Solutions

Urja Biosystems