Biogas and compost

Around 10.4 million people live in Bolivia. Poverty and environmental pollution are amongst its greatest problems. The town of Cochabamba alone generates about 200 tonnes of organic waste every day. At the rubbish tip, this waste creates harmful substances, and in particular poisonous seepage water and climate-damaging gases. With the correct treatment, not only can the damage to the environment be significantly reduced, but also organic fertilisers (compost) and renewable energy (biogas) produced.

The Project

This project will make a contribution to the sustainable development of the Cochabamba region. The clean and economically sustainable alternative of using organic waste reduces environmental problems, creates new jobs for people without any training, produces compost to improve the soil and generates renewable energy (biogas).

A composting and biogas plant for the sustainable recycling of organic urban waste will be the first system of its kind in Bolivia. It should serve as an example to other towns in the region.

Aims of the project:

  • Raising the awareness of the local population with regard to the waste problem
  • Removal of organic waste by the urban refuse collection service (EMSA)
  • Town by-law on the integral use of residential waste


  • Small businesses employed by the town process around 50% of organic urban waste
  • Creation of 23 new jobs (50% of which are for women), mainly for unqualified personnel
  • Farmers in the region have access to compost which improves soil quality
  • Supplying approximately 1,000 poor households with energy using the biogas produced
  • Sustainable reduction of climate-damaging greenhouse gas (equivalent of 30,000 tonnes CO2 per annum, the same as about 8,000 private cars)
  • The pilot project serves as a model for other towns in Bolivia and the region

Project website

Project countries

  • Bolivia

Project duration

2012 - 2016


  • SDC

Working area


Swiss Foundation for Technical Cooperation
Hardturmstrasse 123
CH-8005 Zurich

Tel. +41 44 454 17 17
Fax +41 44 454 17 97