Tuesday, June 18, 2013

A Visit to Food Recycle Land

Chang Chau Island Women’s Association Ltd, in Hong Kong is a local women’s association who are involved in various social activities in the island. One of their programs are Food Recycle Land, this is a social garbage disposal program. Cheung Chau Island is a remote island in Hong Kong.

Our General Secretary Mr. Kohei Yamada, APAY Green Team Member Mr. Lee Man Key, Green Ambassador  Ms.Cathy Wong and myself visited this island on 17th of June to have an first-hand experience of the environmental project.

The program of Food Recycle Land include food waste collection and process them to compost fertilizer, using a food digester. Hong Kong does  not have enough land for garbage dumping, moreover, this creates a lot of environmental concerns. Under such a situation this program addresses the issue of garbage dumping and creating a clean environment.

Every day the staff of this project collect food wastes from enlisted residents of the island. They have two collection points, one in the market place and the other in front of their office. The enlisted residents come to this collection point daily at a designated time and deposit their food garbage in a plastic box provided to them earlier. Then they are given a clean plastic box to bring in their garbage for the next day. The staff also stamps on a card of the resident. The purpose is that when the resident does have 18 stamps on their card, they are entitled to a small bag of compost fertilizer as an incentive.

The collection point, where the garbage is collected

These food wastes are then piled up in tricycles and carried to the site where they have the food digester. These food waste is then put in the digester for processing. It takes 16 hours to transform these into compost fertilizer, then it is stored in buckets for 21 days for being matured enough to be used as fertilizer. This machine can process about 100 kilograms of garbage at a time and produce about 25 kilograms of compost fertilizer each day. There are 4 part-time staff members for this project, who collects the garbage, process them and also clean about 150 boxes per day, ready for distribution for the next day.
 The digester machine

Garbage feed into the digester

Cleaning of garbage boxes

The processed compost 

The compost fertilizers are distributed free of cost to various organizations, who are involved in organic farming and also distributed to the participating residents of this project.

APAY Green Team Members with the staff members of FRL

This project is funded by the Hong Kong Government and is a very good example of environmental programs which some of green ambassadors could initiative in their own YMCAs. The cost of the digester is very high, this is appropriate in Hong Kong as there is scarcity of land, but in a case, where there is enough space, the garbage could be processed in natural method using the land, which is a cost effective. This digester costs about HK$300,000 and consumes about 69 Kilowatt of electricity a day. These costs could be reduced if the natural method could be adopted.

Duncan Chowdhury

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