Not Just Dirt
Compost the medicine to your sick soil
Composting food and organic waste may seem like a big chore to many people. Hong Kong citizens may not want to get involved solely based on the fact that dumping leftover food in the trash and waiting for the trash truck driver to pick it up has become a habit. People know this is environmentally friendly but are too scared to change. Citizens are too scared to change because composting is not something we see all over Hong Kong, it's like jumping on to a trend. For example, when Elon Musk first introduced Tesla initially the public was hesitant. Though as more customers were buying his cars and as Tesla spread globally it became much more popular. Now if you look around there are many electric cars all over Hong Kong, there are electric car chargers and clubs, malls and homes. Composting should be similar. Once composting becomes a well-known habit/trend in Hong Kong, many citizens would pick it up. There would be compost bins in restaurants, cafes, schools etc. It should become a habit not a burden. Our aim is to help more citizens composting in their homes to not only reduce food waste but to also create organic and healthy fertiliser for plants.
1) Why is soil health important?
Soil health is important to the growth of plants because the nutrients within the soil replenishes the plant, absorbs more water to keep it hydrated and supports its growth. Using organic soil to grow crops has many long term and short term benefits. Those of which include healthy organic soil is packed with nutrients and holds water for plant roots to take in. In the long run, organic soil can be reused multiple times consistently growing healthy plants because it replenishes and takes nutrients from the previous compost used to create the soil.
2) How can composting benefit the environment?
Composting has many benefits to the environment. It is not a big lifestyle change but a habit we should all develop. Aside from composting nutritional value to crops it also helps bring our precious leftovers to a better use other than to the landfill. Food waste is the most amount of solid waste that goes to the landfill. The leftover foods from our meals and expired food from supermarkets are dumped at the landfill and slowly decompose the mixture with wood, plastic etc. Not only does this damage the soil and air pollution, it is extremely cost unfriendly and takes up a large amount of Hong Kong’s precious land. Composting benefits our environment because it takes the nutrients, vitamins and all the healthy minerals out of our food and decomposes to become organic and healthy soil. This process takes less amount of time than food decomposing in the landfill and it is reusable to grow crops, plants etc.
3) What happens to the food we send to the landfill?
Throwing your leftover food into a trash bag and letting garbage trucks bring them to the landfill may seem less burdensome to citizens, however, it is not environment friendly. The food we send to the landfill in plastic bags does not break down and decompose, but instead it mummifies. When food sits in landfills the biogas produced goes straight into the atmosphere and contributes to global warming and climate change. The gas released which is Methane is 25 times more toxic than carbon dioxide. That is why composting is so important and is an economically friendly solution to reducing food waste.
When Sophie and I learned about the 17 Sustainable Development Goals outlined by the United Nations we were motivated to align our interest in composting and food waste to their action plan. We created Not Just Dirt when we became aware of the environmental impact of food waste and Hong Kong’s own contribution to the problem. We have been increasingly concerned about global warming and the impact of our own actions on the environment. Not Just Dirt is our composting initiative, which promotes the importance of healthy soil, natural fertilizers and provides information to communities on how to reduce their own environmental footprint. If clients agree to start a home compost, we will be here to guide them. To start, all they would need to is a bucket. A jar of our own compost will be provided to clients to help give them a headstart. After 12 weeks, which is the average time it takes to compost enough soil for a plant, we will return with seeds so that customers can start planting their plants!