Sarajevo CONSUL Proposals

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SOFRA – SarajevO Food Recycling Association

REIC REIC  •  2019-11-29  •    Nema komentara
Shema of SOFRA energy source
Shema of SOFRA energy source

Šifra prijedloga: Hrana-nije-Otpad-2019-11-70

The establishment of Food Recycling Association aims utilizing food waste in Sarajevo for energy purposes while reducing food waste in parallel.

Key problem - Main issue we want to solve:  

Food represents a great share of total waste in Sarajevo and contributes to climate change as well. In most of the cases food is being dumped along with other municipal waste or flushed with waste water thus polluting the local environment. Very often food waste can be found in parks and other public areas which negatively affects visual aspects of the City of Sarajevo. Above all, a significant portion of local people lack daily food needs. Food residues (e.g. waste oil from restaurants, organic waste in supermarkets etc.) represent a great energy potential if properly utilized, as biogas for example. For example, 1 t/day of mixed food waste generates enough electricity for 12 family houses in Sarajevo for one month. As the share of waste food oil and/or old bread is greater the quantities of food waste needed, for the same output, are lower 4-6 times.  Deploying energy potential out of food waste represents a win-win solution, since it reduces energy poverty and has a positive impact onto local environment while mitigating climate change. 

Solution hypothesis:

If food waste would be collected separately in greater quantities then a significant technical energy potential would be obtained. If major food waste producers (e.g. restaurants, super markets etc.) would unite (e.g. as an association or cooperative – SOFRA) then food waste could be utilized for energy purposes. If SOFRA would be founded then this would enable production of both electrical and thermal energy. If SOFRA would operate successfully and comprehensive then food waste in Sarajevo would be minimized.


The establishment of SOFRA (SarajevO Food Recycling Association) aims utilizing food waste in Sarajevo for energy purposes while reducing food waste in parallel. The business model is quite simple and yet very innovative and unique. Founders and members of SOFRA are restaurants, catering services, hotel, super markets and all other producers of any kind of organic waste (e.g. agricultural waste or paper). In fact SOFRA would act as an assembly point were all food waste would be collected and utilized for energy purposes. The output would be electrical and/or thermal energy. Electrical energy could be fed into the grid and sold on the market (operational revenue) and/or thermal energy could be used for heating purposes (reduction of costs and/or operational revenue). In addition, significant quantities of food waste would be reduced, even minimalized. It is obvious, there would be a great financial incentive for achieving this goal.

Lessons learned:

REIC has recently finalized a project on waste oil in food services (restaurants, hotels, catering services etc.) and during this project a Survey was done with the aim to estimate quantities but also asses the willingness of institutional waste management. Overall there is a great level of positive acceptance and readiness. Our experience on previously developed project which are similar to this subject, or business model in particular, show that there is general acceptance and readiness for action. 

Sustainability and indicative resources:  Environmental protection has always to be subject to improvement of economic activities which is a measure of cost reduction and/or additional revenue. The SOFRA model can contribute to both, cost reduction and gaining revenue. Such model provides a great interest for founder and member of SOFRA to keep it going on. Moreover, the greater the waste amount collected the greater the output (energy  cost reduction and/or revenue). Moreover, after the process of production biogas (during anaerobic digestion) a very important output is being produced, the so called fermented residual material. This can be used as fertilizer in agriculture or as compost (e.g. KJKP Rad and KJKP Park could gain benefit out of this product). The business model would also allow and invite any kind organic waste (livestock waste, crops, waste water). This would greatly impact the overall sustainability of SOFRA and other organic waste quantities.  A small biogas plant of 25 kWel would cost (turn-key solution) approx. 250.000 KM. Expected annual production is 200.000 MWh which can generate revenue of almost 50.000 KM a year. Operational expenses are estimated in the amount of 15.000 KM a year. Discounted payback for such facility is less than 10 years with and IRR of approx. 10% and NPV of almost 100.000 KM in a timeframe of 15 years. These financial parameters could be further improved if fermented residual materials would be additionally sold. This would contribute to the utilization of approx. 30.000-40.000 tonnes of food waste in Sarajevo which represents about 15-20% of total food waste in Sarajevo. Apart of financial resources the establishment of SOFRA would require following resources -    Technical Assistance for the establishment of SOFRA (legal part) -    Appealing activities and gathering events -    Marketing and PR activities -    Training and coaching activities -    Design of biogas facility For these activities a budget of 80.000 KM would be required. 

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