First appeared in

Asian Development Bank

100 Climate Actions from Cities in Asia and the Pacific


An ongoing community recycling project is exploring the untapped potential of food waste in Mongolia’s capital.

The $3.2 million initiative, primarily funded by the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction, works to turn food waste into compost through community participation, with pilot projects being implemented in households and schools within the city, and a large composting facility constructed under the project.


The participating households and schools will be provided with the necessary tools, including storage bins, composters, and protective equipment, to engage in composting on a small-scale. The resulting compost will be used for green open spaces, flower beds, and vegetable gardens.

The new community composting facility will process at least 2,000 kilograms of food waste per day, and composters will be equipped with self-heating systems, which will ensure activities can be conducted even in the winter in the world’s coldest capital. The composting facility is expected to become financially self-sufficient due to income generated from compost sales after only one year.

By 2024 it is expected that 700 tons of food waste will be composted each year, and greenhouse gas emissions will be reduced by 1,368 tons annually.

Local schools will be equipped with composters to turn food waste into compost, which will be utilized in gardens and green open spaces across the city (photo by ADB).

The Challenge

Ulaanbaatar generates more than 40% of Mongolia’s solid waste, much of which is food waste that is illegally dumped or disposed of in landfills.


Economic The project will provide opportunities for new businesses and jobs, particularly among vulnerable communities, with local schools, restaurants, and hotels all benefitting from project activities.

Environment The recycling of food waste through composting will improve environmental conditions, reduce health risks, and lower greenhouse gas emissions.