ReBin transforms waste into energy and fertilizers

ReBin transforms waste into energy and fertilizers

It is a pragmatic solution that this Swiss foundation brings to the sustainable management of waste in Benin.

Since 2017, the foundation has been recycling organic waste collected from households to transform it into energy and fertilizers for the benefit of the same populations.

“We intend to clean up the cities and countryside of Benin, while providing new services that simplify the lives of people,” explains Sewaï Mardochee, director of operations of the waste recovery center of ReBin foundation to agridigitale.

ReBin is a compound English word “Reuse your Bin”. The municipality of Toffo was chosen by the foundation to host the experimental phase of the project.

Reuse your waste

Yet, more than 500 households have been sensitized to bring the waste directly to the foundation’s site in Toffo. In return, they receive one of the products of the center namely biogas, compost, drinking water, effluent or fish.

“Those who want, instead exchange their waste for money,” says Mordechee. Thereby, for 10kg of waste brought, the person receives 250 CFA; the quantity of products given in exchange by the foundation is based on this principle and the populations seem to be delighted.

The use of biogas

Adeline Awadedji doesn’t bring waste to the center; but she regularly goes there to get biogas. Compared to charcoal or firewood, this method of cooking really simplifies her life, she claims.

She uses it for cooking food in her household, but also for her small business. “When I take my bag of biogas of 400 CFA, I can use it for about 5 hours”, says the seller of yovo dokô (dougthnuts made from wheat flour).

“The 5 hours are obviously spread over several days, it all depends on what I prepare”, she adds.

Settling down in Toffo in November 2017, ReBin foundation very soon sought Songhaï’s expertise for the installation of bio-digesters, the waste grinder, the fish ponds and also for the training of the staff.

Songhaï, a significant partner

Since then, the two partners have been working in symbiosis for the success of the project, which should extend to Benin’s 77 municipalities.

Like Songhaï, ReBin foundation is also part of the logic of integration of its activities, in order to complete the cycles of transformation of raw materials. This beautiful experience could be exported beyond Benin borders and benefit all Africa.

 Publié le : 16 Aout 2019  Mise à jour le : 16 Aout 2019

‘Trash is gold’ as Benin community turns waste into biogas

‘Trash is gold’ as Benin community turns waste into biogas

Garbage has never smelled so sweet for a small village in southern Benin since it opened a pilot waste treatment centre to turn household rubbish into gas — and cash.

“Our trash has become gold. We no longer throw it into the bush. We use it to make money,” beams Alphonse Ago, who lives next to the centre in Houegbo village.

ReBin, a Swiss foundation for sustainable development, built the 1.3-hectare (3.2-acre) facility, which every week turns around six tonnes of organic waste into 100 cubic metres of biogas — saving some 164 tonnes of wood from being used to make charcoal.

The centre, which opened late last year, also plans to produce around 400 tonnes of organic fertiliser per year.

So far, around 100 households in the area have signed up to the scheme to deposit their waste at the centre on a daily basis.

Every 10 kilogrammes (22 pounds) of waste fetches 250 CFA francs (around 50 euro cents, 57 US cents), paid either in cash or credit — to buy biogas.

The fuel is a precious commodity in a rural region where electricity remains scarce.

Agnes Avoce, a shopkeeper and mother of five, proudly straps a large plastic bag of the gas onto her back.

Biogas, she says, is much cleaner and more efficient for cooking than charcoal — which “darkens the pots and makes me sick” — and she is more than happy to make the switch.

Avoce is not alone; five other women are waiting to pick up gas.

“There are queues here since we opted for biogas,” another customer says.

– ‘Goldmine’ –

Symphorien Adonon, 35, drops off a week’s worth of carefully sorted waste, smiling as he pockets his cash payment.

“Now I have enough to do the shopping for dinner,” says Adonon, who drives a motorcycle taxi.

The centre has treated more than 20 tonnes of waste since it began operations late last year.

In addition to the customers’ household waste, there is also rubbish collected by a local non-government organisation, Astome.

The NGO’s chief, Florent Gbegnon, says he used to collect it on a push cart, but he now uses a tricycle provided by the centre.

“It’s a huge relief,” he says as he dumps a load of pineapple skins. “Pushing the cart was a real burden.”

It was the massive amounts of waste such as pineapple skins that originally caught the attention of ReBin’s founder, Mark Giannelli, and inspired him to set up the treatment centre in Houegbo.

“I saw this not as a problem, but as an opportunity, and I thought it was a goldmine,” Giannelli told AFP.

Benin is Africa’s fourth-biggest exporter of pineapples. And in Houegbo, which has one of the busiest markets in the region, local sources estimate that more than a tonne of waste is generated every day from that fruit alone.

Mark Giannelli told AFP that he had been searching for a potential site for his project in Benin’s West African neighbours Ghana and Togo.

But it was the enthusiasm with which the locals embraced his idea that finally convinced him to set up the waste treatment centre here, he said.

– ‘Source of happiness’ –

The goal is to establish “a real economy that serves the population and protects the environment,” he says. “We have to take the problems locally and adapt them to local solutions.”

Once the necessary expertise has become more firmly established in Houegbo, Giannelli hopes to extend the project to larger municipalities and let local entrepreneurs run it.

The centre’s director, Sewai Mardochee, suggests duplicating it in all of Benin’s 77 municipalities.

“We can then create jobs and clean up our living environment by reducing the use of firewood and coal,” he said.

Nicolas Hounje, a retired official, has put himself forward to take over the company.

“We did not know here that garbage can become a source of happiness,” he says.


afp – Wedensday 22nd August 2018

Cooking using my waste ?

Cooking using my waste ?

Biogas, what is it?  

Biogas is a type of biofuel that is naturally produced from the decomposition of organic waste in the absence of oxygen (also known as anaerobic digestion). Biogas consists mainly of methane (CH4) and carbon dioxide (CO2) with the exact proportions depending on the type of feedstock being digested and processing techniques. The amount or volume of biogas is normally expressed in ‘normal cubic meters’ (Nm3), a common unit used in industry to refer to gas emissions or exchange. The energy value of biogas varies between 4.5 and 8.5 kWh/Nm3, depending on the relative amounts of methane, carbon dioxide and other gases. This corresponds roughly to half a liter of diesel oil or 5.5 kg of firewood. Both methane and carbon dioxide are odorless. Yet, the biogas can contain a variety of Sulphur compounds, responsible for an unpleasant odor. In terms of its constituents the biogas is comparable to natural gas, which is composed of as much as 99% methane. The major difference is that the methane present in the natural gas has fossil origins. Biogas can be used to replace natural gas in many applications such as cooking, electric generation or heat production. If the biogas is upgraded or purified, the so called biomethane can be used as vehicular fuel.

So how does it work? 

The biogas production-and-use cycle is continuous. Organic materials like manure, crop residues, wastewater sludge or domestic waste are fed into a biogas digester.  Within the digester, fermentation of biodegradable materials is taking place slowly (it takes between 14 and 40 days) producing biogas. Contrary to popular beliefs, biogas plants are not filled with pressurized explosive gases, the reservoirs are filled mainly with wastewater and only the top of these reservoirs contains gas. Therefore, if handled and maintained properly, biogas digesters are not dangerous infrastructures. During the anaerobic digestion, maintaining a constant adequate temperature as well as using water to maintain the bacteria culture are critical factors for maximizing the gas production.


What comes out of a biogas digester?

According to our partner (B)energy, 15 kg of cow dung (or organic kitchen waste[1]) and the same amount of wastewater produce around 1 Nm3 of biogas, with which one can cook for approximatively 3 – 4 hours. Once the anaerobic digestion process is completed the remaining organic compounds are transformed into a high-quality fertilizer called bio-slurry or digestate. This bio-slurry can be separated: the solid part can be composted and the liquid part can be used as liquid fertilizer. When the available bio-slurry cannot be used at once, it can be stored and added to composting with other biodegradable materials. The resulting composted fertilizer can then be stored for several weeks.
[1] In Benin, a typical household waste is mainly composed of kitchen waste, food leftovers and vegetable and fruit peel and skins.

What makes the biogas a sustainable energy alternative?  

Nearly three billion people in developing countries rely on wood, charcoal, animal dung, DSC_1849crop residue or coal to meet their energy needs for cooking. This reliance on solid fuels has serious consequences for their health, the environment and the social and economic development. According to the World Health Organization, household air pollution from cooking and heating kills over 4 million people every year and sickens millions more. Presently, in Benin 94% of the population is using slid fuels for cooking. By introducing a new business model of mobile biogas solution for domestic use and providing clean cooking solutions our pilot project in Toffo addresses therefore the most basic needs of the poor, while also delivering broader benefits such as the emancipation and engagement of the communities through increased ownership.

Since biogas production is a natural form of waste-to-energy that uses organic matter, the production is easily maintained even in rural areas due to readily available organic waste. Therefore, for households in developing countries, biogas utilization could lead not only to cost savings and health benefits from the reduced use of unsustainable sources of energy, but also to an overall improvement on families’ standard of living as the waste they produce become a valuable resource they can bring to the plant and receive payment for.


Finally, with our pilot project, ReBin creates new job opportunities providing decent work conditions and engaging women throughout the whole entrepreneurial model.  We consider that women in Benin play an important role for the adoption of innovative and cleaner fuels and equipment, since they are the primary users of energy equipment and have significant knowledge about local conditions and resources.

The adoption of biogas technology is therefore an intervention that combines economic development, environmental and social impact and, last but not least, sustainability.


développement durable

Evening ReBin: a real success!!

Evening presentation of the Foundation ReBin at the Hotel President Wilson, Geneva

The Foundation ReBin for Sustainable Development held its first event open to a large audience on February 1st in Geneva. An attending audience of 100 was composed of:

  • Diplomats
  • Representatives of the public and private sectors
  • Representatives of International Organizations
  • Our first donors
  • Sustainable development actors
  • Partners
  • Sponsors


The purpose of this event was to present the mission of the Foundation, its members and more particularly the concept of resource valorization that will be put in place this year in Toffo, Benin. The presentation allowed us to share and recall the current context, the impact and commitment to the Objectives of Sustainable Development to which this project responds, as well as the financial needs necessary for its implementation and development.

This was an opportunity for His Excellency Eloi Laourou, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Benin in Switzerland, to express his support for this project, being himself an essential actor of sustainable development and waste management in Africa.


Léçan Pot, a Benin-Swiss artist, shared with us her sense of humor and vision of waste in her native country, Benin, as well as the bonds that unite our two countries.

The evening concluded with very promising exchanges between guests and members of the Foundation, which took place in various forms:

  • Promises of donations
  • Potential partnerships
  • Volunteering proposals
  • And upcoming media coverage



Link to the pictures:

Fact Sheet Fondation ReBin

Choisir une ONG de confiance

La Fondation ReBin est une organisation non gouvernementale suisse basée à Genève, fondée en 2016 par trois entrepreneurs avec une vision commune. Le but est d’aider les populations locales à améliorer leurs conditions de vie et à atteindre un plus grand niveau d’autonomie. Une Fondation dont l’objectif principal est d’aider la communauté et de générer des bénéfices conscients pour investir durablement dans d’autres projets similaires.

En quoi la Fondation ReBin est-elle différente d’autres organisations ?

La Fondation ReBin mène ses actions en étroite collaboration avec les populations et les autorités, le but étant de créer des synergies entre les services responsables de l’assainissement du territoire, les familles et les communautés afin de diminuer l’impact des déchets sur la société, l’économie et l’environnement.

Dans son travail, la Fondation s’appuie sur 12 des « 17 Objectifs de Développement Durable » des Nations Unies.


La Fondation ReBin se consacre à une aide au développement portant sur le long terme et a pour but de rendre les populations locales durablement autonomes. La Fondation offre non seulement un appui financier mais aussi un soutien technique à travers ses partenariats stratégiques. Les spécialistes en gestion durable des déchets partagent leur savoir-faire avec les populations locales. Grâce aux programmes de formation, ils procèdent à un transfert de compétences et à un renforcement des capacités locales.

Qu’est-ce que mon soutien apporte ?

Le revenu venant des donations et des legs est essentiel pour les projets de la Fondation. En 2017, le soutien reçu par ce moyen couvrira entièrement notre projet pilote au Bénin, à hauteur de 150’000 francs suisses.

Le projet en quelques mots :

  • Un centre de recyclage « laboratoire » sur une surface de 5000m2
  • Un bassin de 1000m2 pour développer la pisciculture
  • Un dispositif de triage des déchets, avec bennes de récupération et broyeuse
  • Un système communal de latrines innovant pour récupérer la matière
  • Des cuves d’une capacité de 500m3 pour produire du biogaz
  • Un entrepôt de 500m2 pour produire de l’engrais biologique
  • Un centre de distribution des produits recyclés
  • Un programme d’éducation scolaire sur la gestion durable des déchets

Une vision entrepreneuriale : rendre le projet durable par sa viabilité économique. Une approche novatrice pour transformer les déchets d’un risque environnemental en une opportunité réelle de sortir les gens de l’extrême pauvreté en payant leurs déchets triés pour ensuite réintroduire la matière recyclée auprès des familles, dans les circuits industriels et agricoles. Le détournement des déchets des sites d’enfouissement et de la nature créera un contexte environnemental, sociétal et économique favorable.

Quels sont les pays d’action de la Fondation ReBin ?

La Fondation a sélectionné ses zones d’action en fonction d’une part de leur indice de développement humain et de la situation économique du pays, et d’autre part d’un travail de recherches minutieux de deux ans ce qui lui permet d’être d’autant plus crédible et pertinente dans ses interventions.

Aujourd’hui la Fondation ReBin est active en Suisse et au Bénin. Notre stratégie actuelle se concentre sur les régions d’Afrique sub-saharienne.

Soutien : dons, parrainages, bénévolat, etc.

Comment soutenir la Fondation ReBin ? Vous avez plusieurs possibilités pour nous soutenir :

  • Faire un don par virement bancaire, via carte de crédit ou encore PayPal sur notre site Internet :
  • Devenir marraine ou parrain en choisissant le montant et la fréquence de votre soutien
  • Devenir membre honorifique grâce à une cotisation annuelle de 5’000 francs suisses
  • Faire un don testamentaire et contribuer à améliorer – demain – la vie des populations locales
  • Vous engager comme bénévole afin de vous investir autrement que financièrement

Mon don est-il déductible fiscalement ?

La Fondation ReBin est une organisation suisse reconnue d’utilité publique, vous pourrez ainsi déduire vos dons dans votre déclaration d’impôts. Les règles varient selon les cantons en ce qui concerne le montant maximal déductible et le minimum à donner pour pouvoir déduire votre don. Les dons peuvent être déduits du revenu imposable au titre tant de l’impôt fédéral direct que de l’impôt cantonal et communal.

Un des principaux avantages de l’exonération fiscale est que les personnes physiques ou morales qui font un don pourront déduire ce don de leur déclaration d’impôt. À Genève par exemple, les personnes physiques peuvent déduire jusqu’à une limite de 20% du revenu net et les personnes morales jusqu’à concurrence de 20% du bénéfice net imposable.

Sont déductibles les dons en espèces ou en valeurs patrimoniales (actifs mobiliers ou immobiliers, créances, droits de propriété intellectuelle). Pour bénéficier de ces réductions fiscales, n’oubliez pas de joindre l’attestation de vos dons de l’année fiscale concernée, qui vous est adressée sur demande en février de l’année suivante.

Quels sont les avantages du don par virement bancaire ?

Le don par virement bancaire nous permet de réduire sensiblement les frais administratifs comparé aux services de carte bancaire ou PayPal.

Les dons en ligne sont-ils sécurisés ?

Oui. Les dons en ligne sont traités via la plateforme de paiement hautement sécurisé Stripe ®. Grâce à ce module, la sécurité des données est garantie par un système constitué de plusieurs barrières de sécurité ainsi que de processus de cryptage complexes.

Les données d’adresse que vous fournissez pour permettre l’exécution du paiement ne sont jamais communiquées à d’autres entreprises. Les données restent propriété de la Fondation ReBin et sont traitées de manière totalement confidentielle. Nous gérons nous-mêmes vos adresses et ne louons ni ne vendons d’adresses. De plus, nous ne conservons aucun numéro de carte de crédit.

Pourquoi le parrainage de projets, plutôt que le parrainage nominatif ou individuel ?

Afin de garantir un soutien durable, la Fondation ReBin propose aux donateurs qui veulent offrir une aide ciblée de s’engager dans des parrainages de projets spécifiques au Bénin. En effet, pour améliorer durablement la situation, il faut agir sur les structures collectives et non sur les individus.

Je n’ai pas d’argent, mais je souhaite aider. Comment ?

Il est possible de s’engager autrement que financièrement en faisant du bénévolat. En fonction de vos compétences et préférences, vous pouvez nous aider au niveau administratif, lors d’évènements ponctuels ou en allant sur place aider nos partenaires locaux. Nous sommes ouverts à vos idées et envies, n’hésitez pas à nous contacter !

Nos promesses

Si vous décidez de laisser un legs ou faire une donation à la Fondation ReBin, nous allons utiliser votre argent de manière transparente et judicieuse. En effet sur 100 francs, 95 francs vont directement à nos projets sur le terrain.

Comment La Fondation ReBin vérifie l’efficacité de ses projets ?

Chaque projet est géré sur la base d’une convention passée entre la Fondation ReBin et le partenaire local, qui détaille les éléments suivants : les objectifs, les résultats attendus, les modalités de mise en œuvre et de suivi, le plan de financement et le budget.

Tous les projets bénéficient d’un système de suivi rigoureux de la part d’un bureau de coordination régional. Les projets sont en outre évalués semestriellement afin de vérifier l’avancement et la qualité des activités et leur conformité à la convention signée entre la Fondation et le partenaire. Enfin, les comptes sont révisés chaque année par une fiduciaire agréé par l’Autorité de surveillance en matière de révision (ASR).

Comment les comptes de la Fondation ReBin sont-ils contrôlés ?

L’ensemble des comptes de la Fondation ReBin est révisé chaque année par la société Unifid SA à Genève, Réviseur agréé par l’Autorité de surveillance en matière de révision (ASR).

La Fondation ReBin est en outre assujettie à l’Autorité de surveillance des fondations, rattachée au Secrétariat général du Département fédéral de l’intérieur (DFI). L’Autorité fédérale de surveillance des fondations est chargée de la surveillance de la Confédération sur les fondations reconnues d’utilité publique œuvrant aux échelons national et international.

GoodFestival 2016

good-festivalReBin à la rencontre d’innovateurs du monde entier au Good Festival 2016 à Lausanne. Belles rencontres et projets au service d’un monde meilleur. Présentation du modèle devant un panel d’experts: nous proposons une solution pour redonner la valeur des déchets aux communautés qui les produisent.

Waste Project Benin: strategic problem

The amount of waste increases globally at an alarming rate and with the expected growth of the world’s population to 9 billion by 2050, the threat posed by society to the environment is immense.  The emergence of a middle class in developing countries is exacerbating the situation.  The OCDE has estimated that their number will go from 1.8 billion in 2009 to 4.9 in 2030.  The role of this middle class in economic growth but also in the consumption of goods and services will become predominant.

The current consumption model is often limited to “Take-Make-Waste”.  Waste disposal is considered as being the final stage of our value chain and its impact on society, environment and economy is widely underestimated.  The system is looking at improving the current situation rather than looking for a different solution to satisfy the real needs.  Waste management is generally considered from a local perspective, but depends mostly on social and cultural phenomena and crosses the boundaries of the natural communities.

The problems posed by waste in developing countries like Benin are multiple and increases the population’s vulnerability, especially those of the most disadvantaged classes.  The damages caused to human lives and the environment are permanent.  The lack of understanding regarding the complexity and the challenges resulting from the increasing production, accumulation and mismanagement of waste is the main reason the government relegates its importance behind the priority for developing the country’s economy.

It is, therefore, indispensable to rethink this problem in a more comprehensive way by repositioning it in a coordinated and integrated frame, that ensures the sustainability of future initiatives.  Especially that technical, financial, environmental and institutional challenges are enormous.

With the increase of the world’s population, its life span and the emergence of a class that will play a dominant role in our consumption model, we are facing a major crisis with the amount of waste we produce and the way we manage it globally.  Plastics, metals, and other toxics are present in all consumables and have resulted in more sophisticated and expensive ways to dispose of our waste.

Despite the financial and industrial resources that the richest countries have at their disposal, only a limited quantity of our waste is being processed locally.  The remainder is “exported” to the poorest regions of the Planet.  In addition, these same countries suffer from the rapid transition of organic waste to more industrialized ones, without the financial resources and technical means to cope with this challenge.

Since 1987, the Republic of Benin enacted several laws and national decrees with the objective to sanitize the living and working framework of its communities.  It has already implemented some actions in partnership with organizations active in the waste management sector.  The cost for implementing a comprehensive system that optimizes the collection of waste and promotes a better use of recycling mechanisms is evaluated at more than half a billion Euros spread over twenty-five years from now.  The success also depends on the capacity of the government to establish an efficient institutional and regulatory framework as well as managing the multiple streams implicated in the waste lifecycle rationally.  The government cannot tackle this immense challenge on its own and needs private partnerships that will bring innovative solutions to minimize the environmental and sanitary costs on short, medium and long terms.

waste project benin cotonou laguna

              Picture taken in Cotonou Laguna in September 2015

There is an increase in awareness around waste management in both developed and developing countries but the matter is still being looked at mainly from the environmental angle and overlooks the societal and economic interactions.  We can and must transform the problem into an opportunity for real sustainability.  We must no longer look at waste as an inevitable cost but as a resource to be exploited by industry and agriculture.

  • Waste has an impact on the environment as a whole and creates risks for humanity, with hundreds of thousands of deaths a year caused by its effect on water alone.
  • Local authorities and taxpayers mostly finance waste management, putting the burden mainly on communities and not on the companies who make a profit by collecting and disposing of waste in landfills.
  • Most waste has a value attached to it and can be considered as a valuable resource. The basis of a “zero-waste” economy exists but is not effective, largely due to its costly implementation and recycling operations.
  • The mismanagement of waste is an obstacle to economic development. It is hard to conceive as the public sector is usually in charge of managing waste and assuming the costs while the economic sector is in charge of operations and absorbs the profits generated.
  • People, households, and companies are the sole contributors to the waste lifecycle process but are not responsible actors in general.  Social and cultural norms vary from country to country and education is the key driver for this necessary change in the collective mindset.

Federate the actors (i.e. state, local authorities, general population, collectors, industries, and companies) around a common goal. A mean to reach this objective is to turn waste into a resource.  We can adopt a new paradigm that can create opportunities, generating income for the poorest, more jobs, allowing public spending in other directions such as education and health, and reusing our natural resources through a more efficient recycling process.  Our waste project in Benin must be an opportunity for the government to realize its programs, leveraging on the existing legal, regulatory, organizational, technical, financial and economic tools.


By Mark E Giannelli, April 2016

ReBin 2016 ©