The Community Cooker

By Hannah Campbell

Loisaba Conservancy is remote and located a three hour drive from the nearest major town, meaning disposing of waste can be challenging. We have to be mindful when disposing of items, and ensure waste is sorted into biodegradable (that can be used in our BioDigester!), items to burn, items to recycle and items to bury.

Plastic is an ever growing issue globally, with it making up approximately 11% of household waste and taking up to 1,000 years to decompose. But what if there was a safe way to turn plastic into energy?

In 1990, Jim Archer recognised this increasing environmental problem around Kenya, and that rubbish could be a never-ending resource to produce energy if processed responsibly. In partnership with Mumo Musuva, he began to develop designs for a very simple, inexpensive rubbish burner which could also serve as a stove for cooking…

The Community Cooker is an innovative yet practical waste-to-energy technology that has tremendous potential for environmental, economic and social change in low resource settings around the world. It burns rubbish in an environmentally friendly way at 880oC – 1200oC to generate heat energy for cooking, baking and heating water in large quantities. At these temperatures, the Cooker achieves 90% combustion efficiency and meets European Environmental Standards, US EPA standards and Kenyan standards for Nitrogen Oxides, Sulphur Dioxides, Carbon Monoxide, Furans and Dioxins as tested by Société Générale de Surveillance (SGS).

Jim Archer’s first sketch of the Community Cooker in the ’90s © Jim Archer

After the first prototype was built in 2008 and passed the emission test (EPA standard), the Community Cooker Foundation (CCF) was established in 2010. The CCF is a Kenyan based charity that promotes sustainable waste management by encouraging institutions, people and communities to use Community Cookers to clean up the environment, save trees, improve health and create employment value.

Waste ready to be turned into cooking fuel!

Stemmo firing up the cooker

The implementation of the Community Cooker at Loisaba means 100% of waste (other than glass and metal which are recycled) at Loisaba can be either put through our BioDigester or into the Community Cooker to provide fuel, creating a much more sustainable way of disposing waste!

Community Cooker in use

Chapatis cooked using waste!

If you would like to learn more about the community cooker and help the thousands of local under-privileged communities and institutions that are in need of low cost, sustainable energy solutions, click here!


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