Turning trash into treasure: How Blue Planet tackles Southeast Asia’s waste crisis

Blue Planet co-founder and CEO Prashant Singh

Southeast Asia, a region experiencing phenomenal economic growth and rapid urbanisation, faces a mounting challenge: waste management. Traditional disposal methods are buckling under the pressure, leading to overflowing landfills, environmental pollution, and potential health risks.

According to a World Bank report, global waste generation is expected to surge dramatically by 2050, reaching a staggering 3.40 billion tons annually. This represents a significant increase from the current figure of 2.01 billion tons. Given its booming economy and growing population, Southeast Asia stands particularly vulnerable to this trend.

Emerging from this challenge is Blue Planet, a waste management company based in Singapore. Founded in 2017 by Madhujeet Chimni, Prashant Singh, and Bharadwaj Chivukula, the company is on a mission to lead the charge in sustainable practices and circular economy initiatives.

Blue Planet’s multi-faceted approach to waste management

“Through innovative technologies and collaborative efforts, we aim to transform discarded materials into valuable resources, such as renewable energy, recycled materials, and fertilisers. Our vision encompasses a future where resources are utilised efficiently, pollution is minimised, and communities flourish in harmony with nature,” said Prashant Singh, co-founder and CEO of Blue Planet, in an interview with e27.

With operations in Southeast Asia and the UK, Blue Planet leverages tech to address various facets of waste management. Its anaerobic digestion (AD) technology converts biomass, organic waste, and agricultural residues into biofuels. Additionally, through thermal catalytic depolymerisation (TCD) technology, thin plastics are transformed into fuel, offering alternatives to conventional waste disposal methods.

The company undertakes municipal waste management in waste-to-energy solutions, reducing reliance on landfills while generating energy. Its remediation and resource recovery efforts include techniques like landfill mining and extracting resources such as Refuse-Derived Fuel (RDF) to manufacture construction materials like pallets, boards, and lumber, fostering a circular economy.

Also Read: Unlocking hidden gold: How overlooked wet waste streams hold profit potential despite challenges

In e-waste management, Blue Planet employs proprietary hydrometallurgy technology to recover base metals and precious metals (PMR) from electronic waste, alongside battery recycling and industrial waste management services. The company also streamlines waste collection and processing by operating Material Recovery Facilities (MRFs) that process recyclable materials and convert construction and demolition (C&D) waste into geopolymer blocks, diverting waste from landfills.

Complementing these efforts, Blue Planet offers waste collection services for public and industrial sectors, including hazardous waste management, cleaning, and restoration services, along with social awareness initiatives and consulting services.

“In Southeast Asia’s climate tech landscape, opportunities abound in renewable energy, sustainable agriculture, waste management, and carbon offset projects. Blue Planet plans to leverage its expertise by offering tailored solutions such as recycling tech, waste-to-energy conversion, and organic waste management.

Integrating waste management with renewable energy projects and partnering with local entities will drive growth. Additionally, initiatives like carbon offsets and sustainability education will reinforce Blue Planet’s position as a trusted climate solutions partner in the region,” Singh shared.

The firm claims it manages 15,200 metric tonnes of waste daily and produces 10,000 normal cubic metres of biogas (as clean energy) each day from organic materials. It has recovered over 800 acres of land (legacy landfills) for the public. It claims to have processed 3.3 million metric tonnes of waste, reducing two million metric tonnes of CO2 emissions last year.

Building a sustainable business model

Blue Planet maintains financial sustainability through diversified revenue streams. It offers various revenue models tailored to different customers, including grants, user fees, fixed costs, or customised arrangements based on user requirements. The organisation also focuses on creating awareness through educational offerings such as courses and workshops while earning income through education and training programs.

Also Read: Singapore’s waste management firm Blue Planet gets Bintang Capital’s backing

Blue Planet has primarily been funded through private investments and partnerships. The latest investment, totalling US$35 million, came from The Investment Fund for Developing Countries. Before this, the venture secured investments from the Neev Fund, OSK Ventures International, Japan’s Mizuho Asia Partners, and Malaysian private equity firm Bintang Capital Partners.

Blue Planet has expanded its portfolio through the acquisitions of Vac-tech Engineering and Disaster Restoration Singapore in Singapore, Mahindra Waste to Energy Solutions and Xeon Waste Managers in India, and Qube Renewable and Recycle Force in the UK.

Looking ahead, Blue Planet aims to continuously innovate in waste management technologies, expand its global reach, and make substantial contributions to combating climate change for a more sustainable future. “By 2029, we aim to help reduce 40 million tons of CO2 emissions,” concluded Singh.

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Image credit: Blue Planet

The post Turning trash into treasure: How Blue Planet tackles Southeast Asia’s waste crisis appeared first on e27.

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