Reducing waste through charcoal briquette production

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)  is conducting a massive advocacy on reducing waste through its charcoal briquetting program that will at the same provide alternative livelihood and conserve forest resources.

Bonifacio A. Apura, regional executive director of DENR XI said they had introduced the technology to different sectors in the community saying that it generated good results although a lot of work still has to be done.

With the volume of garbage that is being produced and using the technology he said these waste products could be converted into charcoal of better quality.

He said the DENR charcoal is a solid fuel dervied from carbonized leaves, twigs, stem and other farm and urban wastes and compacted into briquettes.  The charcoal is easy to ignite and burns completely in at least 50 minutes.

He said with this charcoal it can lessen wood charcoal consumption of poultry farms, households and other domestic businesses. Every year these charcoal users consume about 5.4 metric cubic meters of fuel wood from the forest and woodlands or an equivalent of 1.35 million metric tons of charcoal.  And for every ton of briquettes produced, about 88 trees are conserved.

Citing comnparative analysis of the type of charcoal required per household he said for a day’s cooking of three meals would need 3.5 kilograms of ordinary charcoal, 2.01 kg of DENR non-crbonized charcoal and 1.69 kg of DENR carbonized charcoal.

Part of the plan is the setting up of P2 million fund for the acquisition of eight complete set of charcoal briquettor that will be deployed in the different provinces of Davao Region although Apura did not give details yet as to how this will be carried out.

But he said they are looking at the volume of waste for instance in Davao City for durian shells that during peak season just go to the garbage pile. These waste materials when carbonized and converted into charcoal could supply the demand of charcoal here.

He also said that tons and tons of buko shells are also being thrown as waste and the excesses of bananas including the trunks could also be a good source that are abundant in Davao del Norte.

Meanwhile Engr. Santiago R. Baconguis, chief science research specialist of DENR Manila who talked on Fueling Biogas during the 9th Recyclable Collection Event held Tuesday at SM City Entertainment Plaza revealed that for a day’s barbecue about 2 million trees are cut to supply the charcoal requirement.

“Using charcoal briquettes for barbecue will save us from cutting of trees and these happens in December where the demand of these kind of food including lechon manok is high,” he said.

He admitted that although charcoal briquette is now produced in the Philippines, these products are not yet patronize domestically even as he said that big groceries are already selling the product.

The supply he said is not that big locally because most of our producers export their products to international market in Korea, Japan, Bruneir, US, Europe and Saudi Arabia.

In the export market it is sold equivalent to P40 to P50 per kilo while locally it is sold at P25 per kilo and this could already meet the cooking need of a household for one day.

Banconguis also said that there are eight exporters in Davao for the charcoal briquette while total number of exporters in the country numbered to about 20.

On the other hand a non-government organization in General Santos City has adopted the technology where it produces charcoal briquette and supply the product to the local market.

Jeryl G. Andraje, holistic development facilitator of Share An Opportunity Philippines (SAOP) said that one worker could produce 60 to 70 kilos per day and the supply is being distributed within General Santos City and South Cotabato.

He said the local market there are already aware of the product and in fact they got orders from local buyers of not less than 100 kilos per week per client.

He said what they like about the livelihood opportunity is that it can reduce waste and at the same time help preserve the environment.


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