Saturday November 21, 2009
Vermicomposting saves 38 tonnes of wet waste from being disposed of at landfill monthly
A HOTEL in Kuala Lumpur has adopted a vermicomposting system to play a more significant and effective role in the management of solid waste disposal.
The Shangri-La Hotel, Kuala Lumpur’s vermicomposting project, which is spearheaded by its Corporate Social Responsibility Team that is led by vice-president/general manager Lothar Nessmann and comprises committee members from various departments, is in line with its commitment to ensuring a global sustainable development in the next millennium.
The process involves the use of earthworms to break down wet waste, such as food scraps, into organic fertiliser, in contrast to the traditional method of disposing of waste into landfills, which ultimately causes clogging, thereby increasing carbon dioxide emission, decreasing the landfill’s lifespan, and causing other environmental issues.
The eco-friendly organic fertiliser produced by the earthworms is used for the beautification of the hotel’s gardens and landscape.
Green initiative: Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts corporate social responsibility and sustainability director Patricia Isabel Gallardo, Nessmann (third from left), hotel manager Marcel van Mierlo (right, in suit) and team with the eco-friendly organic fertiliser produced from vermicomposting process
All hotel employees adopt a set of Best Practices, such as the three ‘R’ (recycle, reuse and reduce) approach, in their daily operations in the course of ensuring the vermicomposting process is carried out successfully.
These steps include ensuring daily waste, such as office paper, batteries, plastic, bottles and food waste, are correctly placed into the dry and wet bins respectively. The hotel’s chief steward, who is also in charge of the environment, safety and health (ESH) (head of waste management) then ensures the dry waste is packed for recycling and the wet waste is collected for vermicomposting.
The hotel saves at least 38 tonnes of wet waste from being disposed of at the landfill every month through this green initiative.
As an environment-friendly establishment, Shangri-La Hotel, Kuala Lumpur was the first hotel in South-East Asia to be awarded three major certifications — ISO14001: Environmental Management System; OHSAS18000: Occupational Health and Safety Management System; and Hazard Critical Control Point (HACCP) by international accreditation body Lloyd’s Register Quality Assurance, Britain in 2006.
It was one of only five Malaysian hotels that received the Asean Green Hotel Award 2008 and these recognitions have further served to increase the hotel’s commitment and effort in working towards a sustainable future that benefits guests, employees and the community at large.
|Monday November 23, 2009
Using worms to reduce organic waste
Stories by BAVANI M
Photos by Low Lay Phon
KUALA LUMPUR produces 3,500 tonnes of domestic and industrial waste per day. This could fill the Petronas Twin Towers up to a height of 11m.
Imagine, every 40 days KL-ites would be able to fill up both towers with waste.
If this picture is not scary enough, just think of all that waste rotting in our landfills and producing a toxic poisonous substance called leachate which will contaminate our rivers and seas.
Put to good use: Sooria with the worms that are used to compost organic waste.
Think about the greenhouse gas emissions such as nitric oxide and methane which is 21 times more potent that carbon dioxide.
Think about the RM140mil per year that the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) spends on our waste disposal. Money that Kuala Lumpur mayor Datuk Ahmad Fuad Ismail would like to put to better use like planting more trees and building more parks.
Dangerous: Gas and leachate seeping out from waste
So the next question is can something be done about KL’s garbage problem? The answer is yes and it is called vermicomposting.
For the uninitiated, vermicomposting is simply composting with worms or rather using worms to speed up decomposition to produce a richer end product called vermicompost. In other words. it is basically feeding your organic waste to the worms.
At work: A worker piling the waste for vermicomposting at a small farm.
“The current waste generated by an average household in KL has now reached 0.8 to 1.3kg per day. Out of the 3,500 tonnes of waste that end up in our landfill, at least 50% is organic waste.
“If that 50% can be taken out of the equation — not only will the lifespan of our landfills be extended, the amount of toxic and poisonous gasses released ito the atmosphere and rivers will also be reduced,” said chairman of the Solid Waste Management Committee Sooria Gandhi Rao.
The committee was set up under the Housing and Local Government Ministry’s Local Agenda 21 programme.
Sooria said the committee has embarked on a project to divert organic waste from entering the landfills which is treating organic waste via vermicomposting.
“The idea is to start with the hotels and complexes and eventually move to the masses. We want to work with the DBKL to solve the waste problem in the city in the most sustainable way possible,” said Sooria.
Apart from the environmental benefits, vermicomposting would also help the DBKL save millions in tipping fee (money paid to dispose waste) and by replacing conventional chemical fertilisers with organic vermicompost for DBKL’s usage in the nurseries, landscaping and vegetable planting project in housing areas.
“Being green is not about making a sacrifice; it is about making a change! This is the way to go. Vermicomposting is the most cost effective and natural way to dispose the city’s organic waste and it reiterates DBKL’s seriousness in tackling sustainable waste management,” added Sooria.
Monday November 23, 2009
Worm farm to be set up in KL
KUALA LUMPUR City Hall (DBKL) has identified a plot of land in the heart of Kuala Lumpur and is planning to turn it into a worm farm.
Kuala Lumpur mayor Datuk Ahmad Fuad Ismail said that DBKL is willing to work with a strategic partner in green endeavours like recycling, composting and even vermicomposting as long as everything is done in a proper manner. “As long as there is community participation and it does not become a nuisance to the residents, I am all for it,’’ Fuad said.
High grade fertiliser: The end product of vermin compost.
The mayor also wants to see the concept introduced in schools where the younger generation can partipate and learn about recycling, composting and vermicomposting to create environmental awareness.
The farm may be operational before the end of the year.
Once ready, organic waste from hotels, hypermarkets and complexes in the city will be collected and taken to this worm farm and turned into fertiliser.
“It would take about two weeks to level the land and start operations. In fact, collection has already started,’’ said chairman of the solid waste management committee Sooria Gandhi Rao.
Once it is fully operational we can easily handle about 20 tonnes a day and we hope to hit 150 to 500 tonnes in the future,’’ he said, adding that this would be the largest worm farm in the country and the first in Kuala Lumpur.
A pilot project is already being carried out and organic waste from several hotels and hypermarkets in the city is being sent to a farm and being turned into vermicompost.
“We started in June and have been collecting three tonnes of organic waste daily from Shangri-La, Sheraton and Capitol Hotels and the Aeon Jusco Hypermarket in Cheras.
Sooria added that once the farm in KL is fully operational, households would be required to separate their waste at source. Organic waste will be sent to the farm to be fed to the worms for vermicomposting.
Food waste is segregated at source and placed into specific bins. A dedicated truck (currently provided by Alam Flora) will collect the waste on a daily basis and take it to the vermicomposting site where it is turned into organic fertiliser which can be sold.