Organic waste is one of the topics that people easily take for granted, and yet it is one of the biggest parts of the waste management system. There are quite a lot of different organisations out there in the world trying to manage waste for us as we are consuming the food on our plates. Today, I would like to introduce you one of the organisations from Taiwan that has been managing the waste in the country since 1992.
Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation, short for Tzu-chi, is a non-profit organisation that helps people across the world in many areas. They have volunteers from all over the world, sending out resources for those in need and educating people to make our society a better place. In fact, my grandmother is part of the organisation. She donates money to the foundation regularly and volunteers to make great food for other volunteers who are helping others.
Tzu Chi made a huge amount of organic food waste during the process of making food for the organisation. However, 0% of them was turned into waste – instead, they created a simple method to make the organic waste into something more useful.
How is it possible for Tzu Chi to achieve 0% organic waste? One of the methods is to turn the food scraps into natural enzymes. The steps are easy, and it takes only about three days to produce liquid yeast, and one month to produce fertiliser.
Firstly, they organise the vegetable and fruit scraps into small pieces and put layers of food waste and soil on top of each other inside a plastic bucket. They will fill the bucket with the layers and spray some brown sugar water and enzymes to break down the food faster during the process.
The volunteers will label the month and date that it is made and check regularly and the whole process makes sure it is clean and dry, so there are no contaminations.
The product of the enzymes can be used for cleaning or watering the garden. The solid will be mixed and used as fertiliser.
Tzu chi is also giving out an easier version of the recipe and giving it to classes in public schools and community centres to manage the food waste in their houses on their own.
The class introduces the importance of saving the environment and how easy it is for us to do so. By only using some brown sugar, water, and vegetables/ fruit scraps and leaving it the plastic for three months, multi-purpose organic enzyme is created.
This recipe is safe and reliable. Tzu Chi also gives out a list of ratios for the family to mix the yeast with water or other ingredients for different purposes. This method now has become popular and shared in Taiwan.
0 food waste program
Tzu-chi has also launched this program across the country in the public schools to prevent food waste from a young age. Children are educated about the importance of 0 waste and how can it impact our environment. The program was created by volunteers who are parents, deciding to make a stage show about food waste to encourage the children not to waste food.
This program was successful and the food waste per year has been going down. Now, they are continuing to initiate the program across the public schools in Taiwan.
As environmental awareness grows and the organisation expands, the effects of these organic waste management processes will have greater impact. Tzu chi has already spread offices across 47 countries. I believe that this will continue to spread and make the Earth a better place.
TzuchiCanada,2008, 廚餘製成清潔劑 天然環保又省錢, news, You Tube, viewed 18th June, < https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZJvPu7gy4f0&feature=related>
Tzu-Chi Malaysia,2015, 隆靜思堂零廚餘, documentary, YouTube, viewed 18th June, < https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=chHnAFRn9j0>
Tzu-Chi Malaysia,2015, 家庭廚餘有妙用 回收推肥潤大地, documentary, You Tube, viewed 18th June, < https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5_WlfeU_vFI>
Tzu-Chi Foundation, 2017 , Index, viewed 18th June, <http://tw.tzuchi.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=159%3Aintroducing-tzu-chi&catid=81%3Atzuchi-about&Itemid=198&lang=zh >
Tzu-Chi Foundation, 2012, 廚餘回收再利用 周年展實做有機肥, viewed 19th June, <http://www.tzuchi.org.tw/community/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=29877:1035377E860849D1482579EA00241D4C&catid=164:2010-01-22-03-41-46&Itemid=197>