By Vina Medenilla
Businesses in the food and hospitality industry are big players in waste generation. As more and more consumers seek environmentally-friendly products, services, and practices, more people also welcome the idea of composting food wastes.
Although composting is considered by many growers and non-growers, some limitations also hinder them from practicing the method. This includes the availability of space, materials, and time, as well as the foul odor it entails that attracts pests. Having this said, composting, if not properly exercised and maintained, can be a challenge.
This is why in celebration of World Soil Day, WWF-Philippines, together with a food waste composting company called Green Space, introduced a new project that emphasizes the reduction of food wastes in commercial establishments, particularly those in the food and hospitality sector.
A modern soil-ution for compost problems
To combat environmental pollution, they’re producing SoilMate, a mobile application that will allow businesses to avail of convenient composting service in just a few taps. The project’s goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, as well as food wastes, through bokashi composting services by Green Space. The said project targets businesses in the food and hospitality sector. They will be focusing on urban areas, specifically in Quezon City, the biggest city in the country which houses over 3,000 registered food establishments. Despite the geographical target, SoilMate mobile application and composting services will be available in different parts of the country.
As for the process, it starts from the collection of food waste in compost buckets (provided by Green Space), which will be carried out by the clients or the businesses and households. Once their bucket is full, clients can now set a day when they plan to exchange their buckets for an empty one via the app. This way, they can continue collecting their food wastes. After that, Green Space will be the one to turn their food wastes into nutrient-rich soil through composting. After a little over a month, Green Space will be providing the compost soil, which the clients can either opt to use for their own gardens and farms or to donate it to community gardens to support local farmers.
“The mobile application can also be a channel for compost beneficiaries. So we can have the option of sharing compost to our beneficiaries like a community garden or any small scale farm. In this way, we can strengthen community farms and gardens to create thriving communities that will value local and healthy food,” says Monique Mahusay, project coordinator of WWF-Philippines’ SoilMate project.
Through SoilMate, users can subscribe to various composting packages by Green Space and they can also track the amount of collected waste through a food waste measurement checker feature. SoilMate also has a methane calculator and statistics including the amount of food waste diverted from the landfill, methane emissions avoided, and the compost created. Educational materials on food waste and composting will also be provided on SoilMate. The price of the services starts at P900.
“Lack of knowledge about food waste leads to misunderstanding and mismanagement. Food businesses with no food waste monitoring system tend to underestimate the quantity wasted and its financial and environmental impact,” Mahusay adds. With the help of the app features, business owners and even household members can monitor their waste diversion that will help them track real-time data, align their environmental goals, and execute timely actions in food waste management and reduction.
Instead of filling the landfills with our wastes, let’s do our part by giving the nutrients back to the soil. As Mahusay said, rather than being land fillers, let’s all be land healers.
For more information, visit WWF-Philippines.