MANILA, PHILIPPINES - The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Procter and Gamble Co. (P&G) are teaming up to explore the feasibility of building "waste-to-worth" energy plants in the Philippines that will generate up to two megawatts of power using solid waste collected from homes and businesses.

"The disposal of municipal solid waste is a serious environmental and social challenge," said Jose Manuel Limjap, Investment Specialist at ADB. "This is the kind of innovative project that brings the public and private sectors together to tackle a problem seen throughout the developing world. Successfully piloting an integrated solid waste management system means it could be replicated in other parts of the world."

Around 6,700 tons of solid waste is generated every day in metro Manila alone, but only 720 tons are recycled or composted. The balance is hauled to the city's dump sites, openly burned, or dumped illegally on private land, in rivers, creeks, or Manila Bay. This has led to serious environmental problems, such as air pollution and soil and groundwater contamination.

The project aims to eliminate the need for landfill, as less than 1% of the waste is expected to remain after processing, and this will mostly be material that may be recycled for use in products like asphalt.

ADB has approved a $385,000 technical assistance plan, equivalent to 60% of the total cost, to help determine the viability and sustainability of waste-to-energy projects. If deemed viable and sustainable, a lead waste-to-energy plant will be piloted in the Philippines by 2016.

The project further aims to develop the municipal solid waste management system into a profitable and flexible business model and supply chain for the collection and treatment of municipal solid waste. If proven successful, it is hoped that the model will be replicated in other areas with such a need. P&G, a consumer goods company, is conducting these studies to further its long-term sustainability vision of having zero consumer or manufacturing waste go to landfills.

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