In the past, most family cook for themselves but nowadays, whether in the countryside or the big cities, making your meal has become a rare occasion. Instead, most of the people prefer to buy prepared foods packed in plastic bags from the markets or department stores.
After each meal there will be a lot of food waste and those waste will often be collected into plastic bags before being thrown into the trash bins in front of the house. However, it may take days of a week before the garbage being removed by local staff for further handling, leaving foul odour and contamination with other waste. Although some types of garbage can be sorted for further reuse, such as paper, glass bottles, hot plastic bags, plastic bottles, etc., these have become unusable.
Without waste separation from the source, public waste containers are likely to be disturbed when waste pickers come to find scrap to resell or trash bins are being ferreted by a dog littering garbage all over the place and giving off a bad smell. Therefore, a poor hygiene public waste containers have become the cause of ill-health in the community.
For this reason, "Uncle Dum" Suthee Promdan, the network coordinator of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Volunteer Network: NEV-Net, at Thep Krasattri Sub-District, Thalang District, Phuket Province, came up with a new idea to handle organic waste management in each household by transforming organic waste in everyday life into fertilizer for growing vegetables in the kitchen garden. At the same time, he also pushes a campaign to stop using plastic bags while persuading the community members to start cooking by themselves again to minimize the use of plastic packages. However, if it is unavoidable to buy prepared food from the market, personal containers are preferred to single-use plastics.
"At the beginning, the plastic cans with lid were distributed among members of the community as a food waste disposal. Then we set the collection date to bring waste into the process of transforming them into compost and bio-fermented water as fertilizer for the trees in the community and at each home." Uncle Suthee described the process of organic waste management.
According to Uncle Dum's method, making organic waste composters is not a complicated process at all. You just take a 200-litre water tank, drill holes, then attach two air vents at each side and now you can finish the first step by laying leaves or hay on the bottom of the tank. Each day, put organic waste such as vegetables and fruits then another layer of leaves or hay over the top. Keep making layers of dry and wet waste every two or three days until tank is full, leave it for 2-3 months and you can have natural quality compost. Similarly in the case of pouring the mixture onto the ground without tank.
As for the process of making bio-fermented water, the formula 4: 1: 1: 10 is being used by putting fruit waste into a suitable sized bucket, consisting of 4 kilograms of pineapple peel or other fruit fragments, 1 kilogram of EM (Effective Microorganism) water, 1 kilogram of molasses and 10 kilograms of water. Leave it for 15 days and you can have bio-fermented water for, plants and vegetables. If there is a lot of waste, increase the fermentation ratio.
Nowadays, "Uncle Dum" has opened as a learning centre at Ban Don community, Village No. 4, Thep Kasattri Sub-district, Thalang District, to disseminate knowledge to individuals and households about organic waste management by using the waste from the community to make compost with the concept of "1 household, 1 empty bucket"
"The compost we made is a good quality one because it receives nutrients from a microorganism. Before packing the bag, it is sifted through the net to remove bone or wood chips to obtain a good grade fertilizer just like sieving the fine sands and after putting it inside a bag it does look good. The price is 10 baht per kilogram, but sales are not the main target, therefore they are not being sold in the market. We were invited to some events to demonstrate and motivate villagers to transform an everyday waste in their household and make compost by themselves.
"As for the income from selling fertilizer during an event, the money will be used to buy various materials. If some government agencies request some fertilizer from us to grow trees, we will provide them free of charge such as the SAO, we also give them about 1 ton of fertilizer each year. From now on, we will try to decrease the production, instead, we will be focusing on spreading knowledge and encouraging people to do it by themselves. That's why I tend to accept invitations as the guest speaker at various organizations to provide knowledge rather than doing it myself. Finding someone to help is also difficult since it is a volunteer activity"
Uncle Dum humbly hopes that only if every meal of Thai people become a zero-waste meal and a zero-plastic bags and each family can handle food waste more properly, the local environment will be improved and plastic waste will be diminished by almost half of the current amount.