The average Malaysian produces 0.8 kg of household waste a day while urbanites like us tend to produce double of that! Last year alone, Malaysians produced in excess of 7.3 million tonnes of garbage – enough to fill 42 Petronas Twin Towers!
To combat this wastage and to encourage people to do their bit in saving the environment, a new and interesting way of recycling your garbage has been introduced in the form of garbage enzymes. The enzymes have been proven to be powerfully effective as a natural and organic floor cleaner, household cleaning liquid, laundry washing, cleaning cars and amazingly drive away insects! Some have even claimed it to be effective in removing pimples from your face! Add all these great benefits up and you are looking at big savings from buying harsh chemical cleaning agents for your household.
Making your own garbage enzymes are easy and it can be done in the comfort of your home with the rubbish that you usually throw away. Learn how you can do this easily after the jump!
1. Start with some kitchen waste.
Only fruit and vegetable waste is recommended. Adding protein or dairy would cause it to really smell!
2. Add some black/brown sugar
3. Ensure the correct proportions
Don’t forget to stir the mixture every now and then to ensure that sufficient air gets in for the fermentation process.
The longer you store it, the stronger it’ll be and once done, you can use it for all the following uses with the right dilution:
It is the ultimate organic cleaning agent and is totally chemical free so is safe for everyone in the family to use.
Committed to leaving the smallest footprint possible, one woman is waging war on global warming.
While a lot of tree-huggers take themselves way too seriously, Dr (H) Joean Oon carries her social conscience without being smug.
Going beyond screwing in compact fluorescent light bulbs and carrying tote bags to the grocers, the homeopathy and naturopathy doctor is tirelessly working towards bringing environmental awareness to the masses by giving free public talks . . . on garbage enzyme.
Environmental issues are important to Oon because she worries for the future generation.
“I was devastated when I found out that Malaysia was on the brink of sinking due to global warming,” says Oon at her Naturopathic Family Care Centre cum garbage enzyme headquarters in Tanjung Bungah, Penang.
“My biggest concern was for the safety of my three daughters, and I knew I had to do something, anything, to save them. That was what drove me to learn about producing garbage enzyme from Dr Rosukon Poompanvong, an alternative medicine practitioner in Thailand,” she recalls.
So how does trimming trash help to bring down the earth’s temperature?
“The production of garbage enzyme generates ground-level Ozone (O3). The O3 helps to maintain the earth’s temperature by releasing the heat trapped by the heavy metal in the clouds. If every household turns its garbage into enzyme, we can protect our ozone, live in a smog-free environment and eat food free from toxins,” explains Oon.
By mixing garbage enzyme with chemical cleaning products, Oon explains, the enzyme flowing into our drainage system will cleanse the rivers and oceans.
“We are running a campaign to encourage Malaysians to pour garbage enzyme into our rivers this Dec 21,” says Oon,
“The enzyme will help to break down the harmful chemicals. We have done a trial run at Sungai Kayu Ara in Selangor and the results have been encouraging.”
Oon works with 10 dedicated staff to produce the enzyme and to publish booklets. She and her team have gone on garbage enzyme road shows all across Malaysia, Hong Kong, Thailand, Singapore, Taiwan, Indonesia and India.
“To date, we have given away 15,000 bottles for free because we want to encourage people to try it and eventually make their own,” she says.
Funds for the project, according to Oon, have never fallen short.
“Thanks to the public’s generosity, we have not been short of brown sugar and plastic bottles to keep the project running,” she says.
The new black
So how practical — and useful — is this enzyme?
I don’t pick up litter in the midst of a shopping excursion, I don’t turn off the tap when I brush my teeth and I sure don’t wait until it mellows before I flush, but Oon’s suggestion to reroute one third of my household waste away from the landfill by making my own enzyme seems do-able.
While Oon attends to a patient, a staff member, Peter Too, 31, takes me to the porch for a garbage enzyme show-and-tell.
“Glass expands, so it’s better to use plastic containers to store the enzyme,” Too says, as he twists the lid off an air-tight plastic drum, releasing a whiff of fermenting fruits and vegetables. The smell was a cross between apple cider vinegar and orange juice past its shelf life.
“To make the enzyme all you need is one part brown sugar, three parts kitchen waste and 10 parts water. First, mix brown sugar with water. Then add in the garbage — watermelon rinds, orange peels, carrot shavings, tea leaves, apple cores, banana peels and vegetables.
“You can also put in meat, dairy products and durian, but I have to warn you, it’s going to smell really bad. Remember to leave some space at the top of the container for the enzyme to breathe. Every now and then, give it a good stir so it gets enough air. In three months, your enzyme is good for use,” says Too.
One of the drums has some funky-looking mould floating at the top.
“It’s yeast, and it’s perfectly safe to use,” Too says, rubbing it between his fingers for good measure.
Another barrel is littered with fat fruit worms, alive and crawling.
“Worms develop when the container is not sealed properly. To dissolve them all, just add one extra ratio of sugar and make sure the lid is tight. The extra protein will be great fertiliser.”
The garbage enzyme, Too explains, will never expire.
“The longer you store it, the stronger it will become,” he says, sending me off with a bottle and dilution instructions to try out.
Putting it to the test
My poor tresses have been subjected to shampoos that claim to be natural but contain parabens, sodium laureth sulfate and some other stuff I can’t pronounce. The enzyme, I figure, is just what I need to disarm the chemicals.
I don’t want to mix the enzyme in a full bottle of shampoo so I get a trial-size bottle, add two tablespoons of enzyme and give it a good martini shake.
The shampoo smells good, but leaves a sticky residue after the first rinse. I give it a second rinse. It leaves my locks looking, well, pretty much the same as they always do. Since it works fine on my hair, I decide to use the enzyme on other surfaces.
There is some lime scale collecting at the bottom of my bathroom pail. I fill it a quarter full with water, and add a tablespoon of enzyme. The flaky white stuff comes off after a good rub with an old loofah.
On a roll, I get to work on some dishes that have been sitting overnight in the kitchen sink. With the sink plugged, I squeeze a generous amount of liquid suds, three tablespoons of enzyme and some water and let the dishes soak for awhile. The suds smell light and fresh.
Getting rid of the crusty scrambled eggs in the skillet takes a bit of elbow grease but it all comes off.
I am so thrilled, my eyes start darting around trying to find something else to clean.
The kitchen tiles are in need of polishing, I decide. Rolling my sleeves, I soak a rag in a bucket of water and enzyme. A lot of dirt comes off. The result isn’t exactly sparkling, but it’s better than spraying toxic cleaning products.
Trigger-happy, I drop a tablespoon of enzyme into a brand name glass cleaner and set to work on my mirrors. Seeing my grinning reflection in the stain-free mirror totally pumps me up, but I can’t help but roll my eyes when I notice I still have zits at 27.
I dab a bit of enzyme onto some zits along my hairline. It stings a bit, but next morning, the pimples seem to have shrunk a bit. This is magic.
Feeling pretty pleased, I prop my feet on the ottoman and snack on pesticide-free grapes that have been soaked for 45 minutes in a bowl of enzyme and water. Being a domestic goddess sure isn’t easy, but at least with garbage enzyme there’s no little voice nagging at your eco-conscience.
o Dr Joean Oon will be speaking on Earth Saving Through Garbage Enzyme at the Change Climate program to be held on Aug 9 in Stadium Putra Bukit Jalil. The entrance fee is RM5 (reedemable for purchase at theme kiosks). To know more visit www.justlifeshop.com/changeclimate.