BY PATRICIA BIANCA S. TACULAO
With urban gardening taking cities by storm, more people are realizing the importance of giving back to the environment and the potential of food waste as natural inputs.
One common practice for people who want to lessen the amount of food waste in the environment is composting or the natural process of decomposing organic matter using microorganisms in controlled conditions. Composting not only helps plant growth and development but also improves soil quality so it can provide more nutrients for plants.
But not many people have access to composting since they may not have the space to do it. An example of this is businesses that need to adhere to strict health and cleanliness protocols or are unaware of the entire process of composting.
To provide a solution to this problem, World Wildlife Fund-PH (WWF-PH) launched a project that leverages the power and accessibility of the internet to create a healthier environment.
Known as SoilMate, the mobile application aims to grant businesses access to Bokashi composting and establish a centralized food waste collection system. Its goal is to divert unavoidable natural wastes from landfills to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while improving soil quality by connecting businesses to a composting subscription.
“We chose to develop a mobile application because, with the growing number of people accessing the internet via smartphones and tablets, mobile development has the unique ability to access a large number of potential consumers,” said Monique Mahusay, the SoilMate project coordinator.
Using a mobile application will support WWF-PH’s to make composting a daily activity for residents and businesses since SoilMate is meant for both target audiences.
SoilMate is geographically focused on servicing Quezon City. But in the future, Mahusay shared that they plan to extend the services throughout Metro Manila.
How it works
WWF-PH partnered with Green Space, a food waste composting company, to secure the services of SoilMate. And to make sure that its mobile application works well, they also teamed up with Optimind Technology Solutions to develop the app.
“With this app, we can quickly extend our reach severalfold and make the overall SoilMate experience more convenient and enticing,” said Rina Papio, the Chief SoilMate from Green Space.
So instead of having to go through the entire process of Book-A-Bucket, where Green Space provides consumers with buckets to compost in, filling out forms, and exchanging buckets, consumers need only a few taps on their mobile devices to start their composting journey.
From the app, users can choose between composting at home or composting at work. The next steps will then determine what materials users need depending on their household size, experience with composting, and how big they want their composting bucket to be.
“On average, a standard household of four fills up a standard bucket in two weeks. A bigger household can fill up a bucket in one week, while a smaller household may opt to choose the mini bucket,” Papio said.
The Chief SoilMate of Green Space added that users can choose their composting plan. Three months is for what they call a “SoilMate rookie” which is ideal for those who are trying composting for the first time.
Meanwhile, experienced users can also choose a six-month plan which is called a “SoilMate enthusiast.” But if users are ready to commit to saving the earth, they can choose the one-year plan known as “SoilMate hero.”
As for businesses, the app will allow them to choose their preferred plan depending on food waste data such as how much food is made or thrown away, the number of employees, and work experience.
But if users are looking for a simpler experience, they can simply choose the Book-A-Bucket option on the app. There, they will choose a date to receive their buckets, specify how many buckets are needed, settle their payments, and just wait for the exchange day.
The app also allows users to monitor activities and impacts such as their progress, collective impact, and track their personal impact.
Saving the earth by lessening the amount of food waste in the environment has just become more accessible thanks to the launch of SoilMate, a mobile application developed by WWF-PH and Green Space to connect residents and business owners to convenient composting.
SoilMate is available to download on the Google PlayStore and Apple AppStore.