Problem statement

Cartagena de Indias is a coastal, port, industrial and touristic district located on the shores of the Caribbean Sea, composed by a series of islands, peninsulas and inland water bodies. It is considered one of the cities with the highest economic growth in the Colombian Caribbean, due to its touristic attraction and the fact that its port activity moves 60% of the country's maritime trade.

However, despite being a city with significant wealth, 40.4% of its inhabitants live in poverty, and these are the most vulnerable ones to the impacts of climate change. Cartagena has experienced climate variations and their consequences up close. The main climatic phenomena that permanently threaten the city include sea level rise, coastal erosion, and extreme events such as storm surges, torrential rains, and intense summers. It is estimated that by 2040, if no adaptation or mitigation measures are taken against the effects of climate change, Cartagena will lose a large percentage of its beaches and part of the city due to flooding and erosion.

Despite the alarming facts mentioned above, Cartagena is currently facing a situation of governmental neglect, which has relegated to the background strategies related to climate issues, such as updating the city's integrated solid waste management plan (PGIRS), which still does not include clear solutions for the reduction of the amount of waste, and that has led to the occurrence of environmental disasters, such as the case of the Henequén landfill, which reached its maximum capacity in 2001 and generated a myriad of affectations to the surrounding community (a large percentage of the inhabitants of the Henequén neighborhood developed respiratory and skin diseases), and a strong contamination of soil, groundwater, surface water, fauna, flora and air, caused by the poor management of leachates and uncontrolled gas emissions into the atmosphere, product of the waste and sewage decomposition.

Nowadays, thanks to the increased awareness of environmental care, several foundations, NGOs and disposal centers have implemented recycling plans and collection campaigns of reusable waste such as plastics. However, according to a characterization of the waste that arrives at the current sanitary landfill of the city "Loma de Los Cocos", plastics only correspond to approximately 16% of the total waste generated by the urban and the insular areas of Cartagena, while organic waste corresponds to approximately 55% of the total waste generated by these two sectors. For this reason, it is essential to have a plan for the recovery and reduction of organic waste generated in the urban and island zones, which to date has not been developed yet.

Proposed solution

From the Global shapers Cartagena hub, we decided to partner with two important players in the city, Da prieto restaurant and Namasté Beach Hotel, to develop an innovative climate adaptation proposal for the treatment of organic waste generated by these establishments and 40 families of Tierra bomba island located in the vicinity of the Namasté Hotel, using the black soldier fly larvae (BSFL) composting technique, suitable for tropical climates, which allows to transform almost all types of organic waste (including vegetables, citrus fruits, grains, meat, dairy products, fats, vegetable oils, and manure) into valuable biomasses such as fertilizer and animal feed, with the aim of: decreasing the volume of organic waste destined for landfills; producing biofertilizer for local organic crops, and increasing the government's and communities' awareness about the importance of environmental conservation and the dangers of climate change.

Target groups

De prieto restaurant at Cartagena, Namaste Beach Club and 40 households located in Tierra Bomba.


1.    Running a proof of concept of the black soldier fly larvae (BSFL) composting technique at small scale.

2.    Design of the composting methodology suited for each location.

3.    Assembling of the composting units.

4.    Condunting bioconversion pilot trials.

5.    Performing environmental education workshops and official inauguration events of the composting units.



  1. Developing a scalable, science-supported and functional composting procedure, using the black soldier fly larvae (BSFL) technique, suitable for the treatment of the organic waste amount generated by Da prieto restaurant, Namasté Hotel and the 40 families around the hotel.


1.      Evaluating the efficiency of the composting process developed, by conducting pilot tests for the bioconversion of the organic waste generated by the Namasté Hotel and Da Pietro restaurant, for a period of 5 months.

2.      Educating and raising awareness about the environmental conservation and the consequences of climate change among local residents of all ages through interactive workshops, which will be held during the official inaugurations of the Tierra Bomba and Cartagena composting units.

3.      Composting 45 tons of organic waste generated by Namasté Hotel per year and 19.76 tons of organic waste generated by the 40 families located in the vicinity of the hotel, which represents about the 13% and 6% of the total organic waste generated by the 3500 inhabitants of Tierra Bomba per year, respectively.

4.      Composting 32 tons of organic waste generated by Da prieto restaurant per year, which represents about the 0.013% of the organic waste received at “Loma de Los Cocos” Landfill.

5.      Producing between 9.7 to 39 tons of biofertilizer from the composting facilities at Da Prieto restaurant and Namasté Hotel, that will be donated to the Tierra Bomba plant nursery project to be developed by Universidad de Cartagena, which seeks to contribute to the sustainable food security of the island by installing organic crops in the backyards of some local families.

6.      Establishing our project as a green business, by supplying the organic waste treatment service to restaurants and hotels in Cartagena or Tierra Bomba, or through paid consultancies on how to implement this composting technique.


1.      Influencing public policy through citizen action & youth engagement initiatives to promote strategies for the adequate and sustainable waste management in the district of Cartagena, in order to reduce the uncontrolled greenhouse gas emissions generated at Los Cocos Landfill.

Available Metrics

1.      tons of organic waste composted.

2.      tons of biofertilizer generated.

3.      Number of local families impacted by the organic crops project.

4.      Number of people trained in the environmental education workshops.



1.      Government:

·        Coastal protection project sponsored by the Cartagena City Hall.

2.      Technical advisors:

·        Biotecnocol S A S.

3.      Financing:

·        Da Pietro Restaurant.

·        Namasté Beach Club.

·        The Climate Reality Project.

·        NG Hotel.

4.      Civil Society:

·        Amigos del mar Foundation.

5.      Local Academics:

·        Universidad de Cartagena.

·        SENA: Servicio Nacional de Aprendizaje.

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