Monday, June 15, 2015

An inspiring way to recycle household waste into something very useful



Pobsook Community is lined along the Pobsook Street in Pak Kret, a neighbor of Bangkok.  It has around 300 households made up of professionals and office workers.  Like any urban community, fresh waste disposal is a problem.  Its waste is made up of 50% organic biodegradable matter, 35% recyclable wastes like plastic bottle,  plastic bags, paper and cartons. 15% are non-recyclable waste like diapers and styropor boxes.

The 12 year-old recycling center was initiated by the members of the community with their growing garbage problem which attracts flies, emits bad odor and affected the poor sanitation of the community.  Community leaders were encouraged to solve this problem with the donation from the Japanese Embassy in Bangkok and JICA of the Pobsook’s 270m2 recycling plant.  The key to this environmental solution is the use of EFFECTIVE MICROORGANISM TECHNOLOGY from Japan. 

Although the methodology is proven in Japan, it took about three years for the household to adapt the solution by daily segregating their  family wastes into biodegradables, recyclables and the non-recyclables. Mr. Anake Homwan, the Director of the Recycle Center of Pobsook under the management of Pakkret Municipality, volunteered his time and talent for the past 13 years to make this dream a reality – to make Pobsook Community a role model for the successful reduction of household wastes while establishing the reputation of being a recycle learning center in Thailand. The volunteers who are themselves Engineers, teacher, nurse and office workers showed the way and dedicated their time to make sure that all households follow instructions.  As the daily procedure of segregation and collection of biodegradables became routine, the center became an effective model for Thailand urban communities.
All the 50% biodegradables were turned into compost which are either given to the urban container gardeners or sold to the nearby fruit farmers at 8 to 10 Baht per kilo.

50 kg.       D1 or D3-rice bran
50 kg.       ground rice hull
5   liters    rice rinse water – hugas bigas
40 liters    clean water or coco juice – buco juice
5   kg.        molasses
3   liters     EM-1.  Make this 5 liters to neutralize very obnoxious garbage.
50 kg.        compost produced by the center

**Click this link for other bokashi formula**
Mixed all the solid ingredients on the cement floor.  Then spray the liquid concoction made up of clean water or coco juice, molasses, EM-1.  Make a mound and cover with jute sack.  Mix the materials every two days. After two weeks, the Bokashi is transferred to plastic woven bags and kept in cool, dry place.  Moisture content is around 40%.


Place the mixture in plastic drums and seal well. No need to mix. In ten days, the EM Bokashi is ready to use.  White molds may appear on the top portion.  This is a successful fermentation process.

Each household are instructed to segregate their biodegradable kitchen waste from the recyclables and non-recyclables.  Every morning from 7 to 9am, a tricycle garbage collector go around the community and collect the segregated biodegradables. Used paper, plastic and glass are segregated for recycling and are collected separately. 

The bio-organic kitchen wastes are brought in with the plastic waste containers. These are emptied into the small mixer.  Layers of Bokashi prepared by the Center is mixed as the wastes are unloaded. 20 kg. Bokashi to 100 kg. kitchen waste.  After three minutes, the electric rotary mixer is unloaded with the treated wastes placed inside the woven onion bag.  The filled onion bags are placed inside the fermentation rotary plastic drums.  These will be kept there sealed in an anaerobic condition for seven days.


The plastic fermentation drums have a faucet at the bottom.  The Bokashi treated wastes will produce a liquid that can be removed through the faucet after three days of fermentation. 20 liters per 200 liter drum of kitchen waste can be harvested from 3 days to 30 days.   The EM Juice can be diluted 20 to 50 times to condition the soil, rich in micronutrients.  Dilute 10cc EMJ to 5 liters of water as foliar application for vegetables.  Apply pure EM juice to sanitize drainage canals to remove foul smell and clean the water and canal bottom.  Similarly, this solution can be used to treat septic tanks. Apply 2 to 3 times weekly in Septic tank.  Maintenance cost of septic tank will be significantly reduced.

Do not use EM Juice for cleaning floor, wall or furniture.
After seven days, the drums with fermented kitchen wastes are emptied at the mixing area. 1% Bokashi is again applied liberally, with 10% dried leaves added to absorb more moisture from the fermented waste.  Then, a conveyor belt brings the treated waste into the composting tank.
The tank has the capacity of three tons for fermented waste.  It rotates three hours a day at 20 RPM. A blower is put on for two hours to provide aeration inside and 2 hours of exhaust fan to circulate the hot air inside the tank.   At the other end of the tank is an outlet where the finished product, composted kitchen wastes, are removed on a first in, first out basis.  The compost is shredded to fine particles and air-dried on the floor before packing.

This is the conveyor that will bring this fermented kitchen waste inside the composting tank.

The composting tank.

Alternative to composting tank

One of the most expensive equipment in the recycling center is the composting tank. Although the cost is not mentioned, it is the most complicated piece of machine.  Engr. Homwan shared to us with another “secret”. We can make our own composting drum with the following criteria in mind.   It should be able to rotate slowly to mix the fermented kitchen waste while the composting process is on-going.

Immediate use of fermented kitchen waste          

As we learned from the Kyusei Natural Farming Center, the fermented kitchen wastes were buried under the vegetable plots.  In ten days time, this will be fully composted and benefit the plants. 
12"-16" depth


This is the actual picture from Bacolod City, Philippines.

Pictures from different Kabalikat sa Kabuhayan, Season Long Training in the Philippines.
Pictures from different Kabalikat sa Kabuhayan, Season Long Training in the Philippines.