Recycling nature’s way through composting

Photo shows the MBKS Green Centre at the Stutong Community Market.

NATURAL ecosystems are multiple complexly interwoven cycles – life, nitrogen, water, and carbon. Composting is a natural cycle in which organic matter – leftover vegetables and fruits, coffee grinds and tea bags, bones – through the action of decomposers such as bacteria, fungi and insects, are broken into components that plants can then use for growth – the cycle of life.

This ecologically sound method for recycling organic matter has been included in the ‘Green Initiative’ programme of the Kuching South City Council (MBKS), which operates a recycling centre at the Stutong Community Market, enabling residents to exchange recyclable items (plastic, paper) for household goods under its ‘Buy Back Programme’.

Commercial composting MBKS environment and health officer Kho Joo Huat said it is very expensive to get rid of plant and animal waste from markets. Commercial composting is a way to reduce costs, pollution and carbon dioxide production, while making high quality natural fertiliser.

In May 2011, he oversaw the setting up of the first MBKS Green Centre at the market and then another at the Petanak Market in 2013.

Kho and his team facilitated a talk and demonstration on composting recently, organised by the Malaysian Nature Society Kuching Branch at the MBKS Green Centre at Stutong Market.

The stallholders, who attended the training sessions, support this initiative and they also received high quality organic fertiliser – a win-win situation.

Although the MBKS Green Centre is a hive of bacterial activities, there is no smell as the organic waste is quickly turned into high quality fertiliser.

“It takes 24 to 48 hours to complete the composting cycle. The mixture has already stabilised for one month, resulting in a tremendous reduction of waste,” Kho explained.

He added that the high quality organic fertiliser is used to maintain the plants and gardens around the city, but the public can also purchase it.

Kho shows the organic compost produced by the centre.

Home composting

Homeowners and flat or condominium dwellers can make composting a way of life too.

Kho has introduced the super simple, smell-free Takakura Home Composting System.

I myself compost kitchen and garden waste, but have had some problems with texture, odour and insect invasions.

This is probably because I just dump the stuff and let nature do the work.

So I am going to try the Takakura Home Composting System, an innovative method, which enables householders while reducing the amount of rubbish produced, to make high quality fertiliser for home use.

The four-step process is described in great detail in brochures available as hard copies or soft copies from their website. Fariz, a composting technician at the MBKS Green Centre, demonstrated the steps.

The first is to make separate sugar and salt solutions which, after ageing for three to five days, are used to make the seed compost – equal parts of rice bran and rice husk.

This mixture matures in around seven days and then you are ready to compost the organic matter you produce in your home.

Amelie Ningkang, who is enthusiastic about the Takakura Home Composting System, said, “A great initiative which if applied individually has the potential of a positive impact on the environment. I’m very keen to try this at home and contribute my part.”

Most of us know that global warming is a result of human economic activities. Composting may seem insignificant but it is not.

By composting at home, we reduce the waste and carbon produced. We are can green up our gardens. So we become part of the solution.

For information, go to www.mbks.sarawak.my.

Fariz demonstrates the four-step process of Takakura Home Composting System.

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