Make garbage enzymes for cleaning purposes from fruit and vegetable dregs.
With the announcement of the Movement Control Order (MCO) as a measure to curb the COVID-19 outbreak, people rushed towards their grocery stores to stock up on food for the next few days! And now we’re in our third week, we’ve started to realise that there are many of us who can cook, which means we also have more fruit peels and vegetable dregs leftover!
Wait! Before you throw any of them away, care to try one more thing? Convert organic waste into garbage enzymes!
So, what is garbage enzyme?
Garbage enzyme, or known as eco enzyme is a multipurpose liquid that is produced from the fermentation of organic waste.
The idea was first introduced by Dr. Rosukon Poompanvong from Thailand. The idea was to cultivate enzymes into organic cleaners, from organic waste that we would normally throw into the garbage bins.
Then, what are the functions or benefits of garbage enzymes?
Garbage enzymes can be used as a natural floor cleaner, kitchen cleaner, dishwashing liquid, air purifier, insect repellent, pesticide and fertiliser.
What’s even cooler is the fact that we can reduce the amount of organic waste piling up in landfills, in which organic waste goes through anaerobic decomposition process at landfills, mostly producing methane, a greenhouse gas that can trap heat far more than carbon dioxide.
Is it difficult to make?
I personally felt that it’s a bit of a hassle until I tried it. I found that residue of garbage enzymes is an excellent fertiliser. The advantage is the enzyme serves many other purposes too, in varying levels of dilution.
For example, I dilute the garbage enzyme with water to clean the toilet, kitchen and the drain. It’s cheap, easy to make and also an effective natural cleaning product. Maybe the only disadvantage is the odour, it smells like vinegar, not as fragrant as other commercial cleaning products.
Okay, so how do I start?
You have to prepare 1 portion of brown sugar (or any raw unprocessed sugar), 3 portions of peels, 10 portions of water and a bottle. The ratio should be 1 : 3 : 10.
For example by weight: 100g brown sugar + 300g of veggie/fruit peel + 1000ml of water (use any multiples thereof, maintaining the same ratio).
STEP 1 : Add 300g of fruit peel into the container.
STEP 2 : Add 100g of brown sugar.
STEP 3 : Fill container with 1000ml of water. Leave some air space for fermentation.
STEP 4 : Place the container in a dry and well ventilated area. Avoid direct sunlight.
(During the 1st month of fermentation, open the lid once every two days to release gas produced during fermentation. After a few weeks, the gas will reduce and you only need to stir it every one or two weeks.)
AFTER 3 MONTHS…
STEP 5 : Extract out the liquid and leave only the residue. Filter and fill into different bottles.
STEP 6 : The remaining residue can be used for the next batch of enzyme fermentation or put into the ground as natural fertiliser.
STEP 7 : The garbage enzyme is ready to use. (Dilute with water before using it).
- Reusing old plastic containers are preferred as gas will be released during the fermentation process. Plastic containers are not as rigid as glass or metal.
- Only use fruit/vegetable waste, avoid oily cooked food, fish or meat residues. To make a fresh smelling enzyme, add orange/lemon peel or pandan leaves.
- During the fermentation process, it will produce smells so make sure you close the lid of the container tightly.
- To know if the fermentation process is going well, you should see a white layer of biofilm on the surface of the enzyme.
- The ideal color of garbage enzymes is dark brown. If the color turns to black add the same amount of brown sugar to re-ferment it.
While the news about Covid-19 may be bleak for us right now, taking a break from the overwhelmingly news is still important! Besides reading, watching videos, and supporting frontliners, we can also do something meaningful by staying indoors.
Making garbage enzymes can be a time for us to reflect on our previous overconsumption habits and start adjusting our lifestyles by avoiding wastage and utilising existing resources, as the amount of food wasted by Malaysians is enough to feed 12 million people a day, according to SWCorp.
We humans just aren’t meant to consistently consume negative information over an extended period of time, after all. We can overcome it by taking small but meaningful actions. Stay safe during this pandemic and rest assured that we will emerge from this challenge victorious!
- Koyama, Tadashiro 1963. “Gaseous metabolism in lake sediments and paddy soils and the production of atmospheric methane and hydrogen”.Journal of Geophysical Research 68 (13): 3971–3973.
- Pamatmat, Mario Macalalag, and Bhagwat, Ashok M. (1973).”Anaerobic metabolism in Lake Washington sediments”.Limnology and Oceanography18(4). Pp.611–627.