From Garbage to Garden

Have you ever wonder where does all food waste goes when they are dumped away with the regular trash? According to NEA, food waste accounts about 10% (791,000 tones in 2016) of the total generated waste in Singapore, and only 14% of these food waste is recycled.

So how can we improve the food waste in our community? And what is an alternative way to recycle food waste?

In this episode of our blog, we would like to introduce to you one of the ideal food recycle processes call, compost. 

What is compost?

It is a seem-to-be a simple process of turning leftover organic material such as veggies or fruits – not the leftover chicken rice nor pizza from the fridge - into a pile of nutrient-rich fertilizer for our green garden.

So how does it work?

When food is deposited into the composter, bacteria are formed to break down plant matter and create carbon dioxide and heat, which act as a powerhouse for the compost cycle happening in the pile, which can usually reach up to 40-60 degrees Celsius (100-140 degrees Fahrenheit).

Aside from the heat, the good composter also requires help from our “garden friends” such as worms, slugs, and insects to digest the decomposing matter, in order to generate better compost’s texture by binding the small particles into larger crumbly bits.

The art of balance 

It may all sound easy, but “a good cup of Kopi comes with a good blend between the condensed milk and black coffee”.

The concept applies similarly to the compost pile as well, aside from the organic material, the pile needs to be blended with the Greens and Browns to produce the finest fertilizer. The greens are usually defining as nitrogen-rich plant scraps that work to raise the pile’s temperature; eliminating most pathogens and dangerous bacteria in finished compost. However, adding too much of nitrogen would then generates odorous ammonia gas, releasing bad smell to the surroundings. Hence, that’s when the Browns come in to play. Brown ingredients like carbon-rich leaves, woodchips, coffee grounds and even bits of paper help to provide oxygen, allowing a breathing space for the compost pile which in turn, reduce moist and smelliness. 

Therefore, keep in mind to pay attention to the surrounding environmental factors, and subsequently add in the greens and browns along with the organic waste into the compost pile.

Not everything can be thrown into the compost pile!

It is recommended not to deposit any meat, bones or especially fatty foods into the composter, because these ingredients can create awful odour if not manage well. So it is important to filter out your food waste before bringing them to the garden.

How long will it take the food to be fully composted? 

A good pile of “black gold” would require time to complete. It is ready for use when there is no longer any resembles of the raw materials, which would usually take a few months or longer, depending on the weather, temperature and the compost setting location that can greatly affect the whole compost cycle.

If you’re looking for a compost bin for your garden, you may find out more here for the ranges of composter that are now available at our store
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