SoilMate: An IT Solution on Food Waste Landfill Diversion through Composting
The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Philippines’ The Sustainable Diner (TSD) project has been engaging with several members of the hospitality sector eager to find green solutions to their food waste conundrums. TSD focuses on empowering companies to reduce their food waste at source, exploring the possibility of donating surplus food, and diverting unavoidable food waste from landfills. This third approach proves to be especially challenging to pull off for businesses, particularly those in urban areas. Composting has been the gold standard in managing unavoidable food waste but requires a good amount of time and space, all too often something they cannot afford. Other concerns raised included odor; hygiene and sanitation; pest control; and irregular waste collection schedules (that may exacerbate the former).
TSD seeks to address these concerns by teaming up with GreenSpace— a company solely focused on food waste composting. Together, they are to develop an app called SoilMate, which aims to grant businesses easy access to Bokashi composting and a centralized food waste collection system through a Mobile Application.
Bokashi composting is a Japanese fermentation technology that quickly and easily converts food waste into highly productive compost. Food waste is simply collected in a bucket and layered with Bokashi bran, both of which are provided by GreenSpace as part of its subscription package. GreenSpace then collects the compost generated. By subscribing to this initiative, businesses benefit from reduced composting time (by as much as half compared to traditional composting), a less odorous compost, and regular food waste collection. This also allows companies to be active participants in environmental and societal uplifting as converting food waste into compost provides raw material for regenerative agriculture and helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
GreenSpace began as EarthVenture Inc. in 2013. It was founded to engage in the business of cleaning the environment through responsible waste diversion and in situ bioremediation using EM technology. EarthVenture introduced the use of live beneficial microorganisms to treat the waterways of Metro Manila. Through various workshops and with the collaborative help of the former Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission in 2015, communities became engaged in the learning, making, and using of EM Mudballs to treat the esteros of Metro Manila which positively impact the rehabilitation of rivers. Through river clean-up activities, it rose to attention that a root cause of the damage of waterways is the improper disposal of waste. Using the same good microorganisms in EM Mudballs, GreenSpace aimed to divert food waste from being pollutants to being valuable resources that can produce healthier soil.
GreenSpace advocates the proper disposal of waste, with a focus on food waste. They aim to make composting a natural part of daily life in order to normalize putting waste in its proper place, rather than letting it pollute our environment. In GreenSpace, waste is treated as a valuable resource.
The novelty of the Soilmate app offers the hospitality industry a jumpstart in establishing systematic links and accessing solutions to unavoidable food waste. Additionally, SoilMate:
- serves as a decision-making guide for businesses seeking evidence-based solutions on resource management and waste reduction;
- uses readily available technology to promote an easy-access circular economy;
- provides real-time monitoring of waste diversion; and
- supports social inclusion, local livelihood, and cleaner food production.
Food waste reduction at source nevertheless remains at the helm of tackling our food waste problems, but now we can close the gaps that lead unavoidable food waste to landfills by encouraging everyone to be a #SoilMate.
The Sustainable Diner and SoilMate Project Team:
Melody Melo-Rijk, Monique Mahusay, Jonna Ellaine Jordan, Lorayne Therese Roque, Alexa Jeanne Lasch, Iris Joy Abrigo, Jenette Callada, Liezl Stuart del Rosario, Kristan Gabriel Villalon, Rina Papio, Danyelle Papio, Andie Papio
Design by Jonna Jordan and Gabriel Villalon