Paul Olivier has had a fascinating and diversified career. Although his Masters and PhD were both in philosophy, he developed major breakthroughs in several fields, such as mineral preparation, vegetable sorting, sustainable agriculture and waste management. In 1981 Paul began designing separators for the reclamation of abandoned mine lands. Five years later Paul invented a unique bi-directional dense medium separator, first used by the largest vegetable processing companies in Europe, and later used by some of the largest recycling companies the world.

In 1995 Paul started refining methods for the cultivation and harvest of black soldier fly larvae, and it was here that his interest in sustainable agriculture was sparked. Since then, he has been researching and developing several other technologies such as mesophilic storage and reduction, thermophilic composting, vermi-composting, micro-gasification, lactic acid fermentation and small-scale animal husbandry. Through the integration of low-cost technologies such as these, Paul is convinced that relatively great wealth can be created for millions of poor people through Vietnam and Asia.

Paul believes that a manager of bio-waste should look more and more like a farmer or someone providing a product or service to a farmer, and a farmer should look more and more like an expert in the management of bio-waste. He sees, therefore, a deep connection between responsible waste management and sustainable agriculture.

But he also believes that this connection should apply to the whole of human waste, both feces and urine. He thinks that we will never achieve true sustainability until we learn to give back to nature in a closed loop everything that she needs to sustain us. This giving back to nature should include, first and foremost, the nutrients within our own waste. When we learn to give back on this level, we are simply fulfilling, perhaps, our first and most important duty as citizens of planet Earth.

Paul believes that when we combine and integrate waste processing technologies correctly, we soon come to the surprising conclusion that almost all types of waste can be recycled at a profit. Instead of viewing waste as a huge liability, he believes that we should see it as a tremendous asset. In fact it can become such a tremendous asset, especially in the hands of poor people, that one day countries such as Vietnam could find themselves in the peculiar position where there would not be enough waste to meet the enormous demand for it.

Paul and his Vietnamese wife, Ly, have been living in Vietnam for almost ten years.

EPWT seeks to empower the poor through the transformation of residential, commercial, agricultural and forestry waste.

At EPWT we believe that “there is no true waste”, and that for every type of waste, there is a technology or combination of technologies that allows it to be transformed into a resource of great value. The technologies that we promote are all small-scale, low-tech and inexpensive. This places them squarely in the hands of the poor. This shift away from big companies with big capital and big technologies defines the very essence of our approach to the recycling of waste. We strongly believe that in the processing of waste, environmental and social objectives should be inseparably intertwined. The ultimate goal is to enable the poor to transform waste into food, fuel, feed and fertilizer. Not only do the poor make money, but also they are no longer dependent on petroleum, feed and fertilizer companies that typically operate in total disregard for all that is sustainable. In our approach, the recycling of bio-biodegradable waste becomes indistinguishable from sustainable agriculture.

  • To set up waste resource centers that will train the poor in the operation of these technologies;
  • To organize the poor into co-operatives so that they can obtain the highest prices for their recyclables and waste-derived products;
  • To enable the poor to become relatively wealthy through the sale of waste derived products that vary in value from $50 US dollars per ton right on up to $1,000 per ton;
  • To hybridize socialist principles with the capitalist principles, to blend deep concern for the poor with the power of the marketplace;
  • To tap into the socio-economic structure of agrarian societies where low-cost labor can be easily enlisted to solve huge environmental problems, thereby creating millions of new jobs in the new economic sector of small-scale, decentralized waste transformation;
  • To assure internal security and stability within developing countries through the sustainable production of food, fuel, feed and fertilizer;
  • To eliminate the use of herbicides, pesticides and chemical fertilizers within developing countries;
  • To develop a two-tier pricing structure for certain environmental equipment, calling upon developed countries to voluntarily pay a bit more for these goods so as to partially subsidize their sale in developing countries;
  • To provide many other avenues in which people in developed countries can aid and assist those in developed countries;
  • To fine-tune models of waste transformation worked out in developing countries to such an extent that they can also be utilized and applied in developed countries.