Going Green: Easy ways to compost food and reduce your carbon footprint this Earth Day

It’s not easy being green, though there’s not much harm in trying. For those who have yet to jump on the bandwagon of zero-waste living, food composting is a fun and easy way to recycle meal scraps and reduce waste. With food waste occupying 30% of the city’s landfills, food composting is a great micro solution to reducing carbon footprint and domestic waste. In support of Earth Day on 22 April, why not take an eco-friendly step towards green living with these five ways to compost food…

1. Traditional aerobic method:
The traditional aerobic process involves a large bin filled with leaves, newspaper and soil to break down food waste naturally through microorganisms found in the soil. It  takes the longest among other methods (six to 12 weeks) and is more suitable for large homes with outdoor space, not only to fit a large bin, but also to avoid the home reeking of last week’s dinner. 
Find a composting bin at Green Earth Society for HK$ 3,800.

2. Bokashi method:
A great option for green thumbed apartment dwellers, this Japanese method which combines a patented mix of microorganism and sawdust or rice bran inside a small airtight container — isolating oxygen from the waste to eliminate odour and decrease composting time (one to two weeks). The remains, however, need to be transferred into soil to fully break down, which could serve as a fertiliser for your plants.
Find a Bokashi starter kit at Greeners Action for HK$399.

3. Buy a small composting machine:
An effortless and time efficient solution to managing food waste at home is by owning a composting machine. They come in various sizes and is the most convenient, albeit expensive, option for any home. These innovative machines imitate the natural process of using microbes to turn food scraps into compost within 24 hours with a simple press of the button.
Check out Whirlpool Corporation’s Zera™ Food Recycler (HK$9,321) or Oklin GG02 (HK$9,400) by Oklin International.

4. Deliver to a local farm:
Instead of throwing out spoilt food and leftovers, an easy and great circular way to reduce food waste is by delivering to local farms. Simply store the waste in an air tight container and send it off to the farm where they turn organic waste into compost for fertilisers. 
For more information on collection and delivery services for food waste click here.

5. Visit your residential compost machine:
The Environment and Conservation Fund (ECF), provide large compost machines for communities in various areas of the city. Commonly installed in schools and residential areas, it serves as a great way to get the whole community involved in green living. The compost are then transported to local farms or used in school gardens as fertilisers.
You can check the ECF website on how to apply to install a composting machine within your estate or ask your property management for assistance.


These compost home appliances will solve your food waste problem

Hong Kong homes are typically small and composting food often requires outdoor settings with large bins and easily accessible organic scraps, like leaves and dirt. Although food compost initiatives like the Nicole’s Composting Machine have been introduced, those equipments are often used in hotels, restaurants, or cafeterias.

These compost home-appliances will recycle your food waste zera food recycler by wlabsinnovation image gafencu

In recent years, innovative zero-waste solutions have increasingly emerged in the market. They include food composting machines that are as small as your household rice cooker, and they work as easily as a regular bin. Food composting machines can recycle food waste into fertilizers that can be used for your own indoor plants and rooftop gardens. The following food waste composite machines are convenient home-composting solutions. These easy-to-manage appliances also encourage children to learn a zero-waste lifestyle and develop a habit of upcycling amid an increasingly circular economy. 

These compost home-appliances will recycle your food waste gafencu foodcycler


Food Cycler

This user-friendly home-composting system is a drastically smaller and simpler system to operate than larger machines like that of Nicole’s Composting Machine. It needs little composting knowledge and maintenance and functions with a simple press of a button. Its compact size was designed to fit onto any kitchen counter-top. It uses agitators and heaters to dehydrate and break down food scraps into your own backyard fertilizer. Though odorless, some users said the machine isn’t very efficient in breaking down scraps. Unfortunately, this shortcoming has been said to form molds in some cases.

These compost home-appliances will recycle your food waste oklin GG02 gafencu
image from oklininternational.com

Oklin’s GG02

The Oklin GG02 offers a low-carbon footprint zero-waste solution to our food waste challenge.  Unlike the Food Cycler, the Oklin GG02 imitates the natural process of food composting as it uses microbes to turn dinner scraps into compost within just 24 hours –a process that would typically take weeks. Although twice as big as the Food Cycler, it holds a daily capacity of 4 kilograms of fruit and vegetable scraps, bread, eggshells and small fish bones. However, it doesn’t take well to large bones, seafood shells, fruit stones, and heavy amounts of oil.

These compost home-appliances will recycle your food waste zera food recycler by wlabsinnovation gafencu
image from wlabsinnovation.com

Zera Food Recycler

The Zera Food Recycler by Whirlpool won the 2017 Best Innovation Award for Eco-Design and Sustainable Technologies at the CES Innovation Awards. Like the Oklin GG02, it takes almost all types of food waste with the exception of large bones, fruit pits and other scraps. The system uses oxygen, moisture, heat, and agitation to speed the decomposition of up to a week’s worth of dinner scraps and recycles it into rich home fertilizer for your house plants. This device also features digital connectivity to its mobile app to provide live updates and reports.