8.5.3 Recycling and composting in Ethiopia
It is very difficult to assess how much of Ethiopia’s waste is recycled or composted. As explained above, much of the nation’s recycling is done by the informal sector and so information about it never enters the official statistics. Percentage recycling rates cannot be estimated because the total amount of waste produced is unknown. Much of the waste is never collected and disposal sites do not weigh the waste that does arrive there. Bjerkli (2005) quoted government figures for Addis Ababa which suggested that about 15% of the city’s waste was recyclable, but that the recycling rate was about 5%. Around 60% could have been used in compost production, but only 5% was composted. However, these figures should be viewed with caution because they depend on the reported quantities of waste and, as noted above, it is very difficult to obtain accurate data. In addition, some reusable and recyclable wastes such as metal scraps, old clothes and shoes are not considered as wastes in the first place. The actual recycling rates, if these materials were taken into account, would probably be higher.