Hoi An residents turn organic waste into compost and detergent

While cycling for exercise every early morning, Nguyen Thi Hong Van often passes a market to collect leftover fruits and vegetables.

Hoi An residents turn organic waste into compost and detergent
Nguyen Thi Hong Van puts leftover fruits and vegetables into a bucket of water mixed with sugar in order to make detergent liquid.

The rotten fruits are used to make compost and dish-washing liquid by Van, who lives in Thanh Dong Hamlet, Cam Thanh Commune in Hoi An City.

By using biodegradable waste from her house and neighbouring areas, she takes advantage of organic waste to make useful products for the garden and kitchen.

Van sorts domestic waste discharged by her family into three groups - biodegradable, recyclable and non-recyclable, then she keeps organic waste to feed her 1,000sq.m garden and sells recyclable waste to local scrappers.

The only garbage her family discharges into the environment is a small amount of non-biodegradable waste which is transported to the city’s landfill.

“I try to treat the domestic waste of family by myself. Because I love planting fruits and vegetables by myself without using pesticides, I often mix rotten fruits and vegetables with dried leaves, husk and sawdust and wait for three months to make organic compost. Then I use that compost for my plants. The plants composted with organic waste are chemical-free and grow very well. The natural origin leftover fruits and vegetables used to feed plants now come back to nature. It’s the cycle of life,” Van said.

Hoi An residents turn organic waste into compost and detergent
Van mixes rotten vegetables with dried leaves, husk and sawdust to make compost in her garden. — VNS Photos Khanh Duong

Van is the first person in Thanh Dong Village to make detergent liquid from leftover fruits.

By mixing 3kg of fruits with 1kg of sugar and 10 litres of water, after three months, she has a big bottle of liquid that can be used to wash dishes, clean floors and water plants to kill pests.

“If you need more bubbles in the liquid, add soapberry. Add garlic, chilli and soapberry to make a pest-killing liquid,” she told Việt Nam News.

Van said she learned how to make the liquid from fermented organic waste online two years ago and failed several times due to not sealing the bottles well.

She said her liquid was only a simple product without a filter and she made it for domestic use only, shared the recipe with her neighbours and does not intend to make it for commercial purposes.

“It needs further treatment if it is sold to the market,” she said.

“The liquid does not have many bubbles like the dish soap sold at the markets. But it is very organic. Dishes and floors are very clean after being washed with it,” she said.

Most families in Thanh Dong Village have very large gardens. Many households in the village have learned from Van how to make compost in their gardens and create their own detergent from fermented biodegradable waste.

Following Van's example, now many local households sort garbage, compost and make detergent from organic waste.

 

This has also made the work of waste collectors easier.

A local waste collector who declined to be named said some households didn't even have any waste when she came to collect because they reuse all their organic waste.

Thanh Dong Village has more than 300 households with more than 1,200 people. Each of them is estimated to discharge about one to 1.5kg of garbage every day.

If more and more among more than 1,200 people in the village can recycle waste, the amount of waste put into Cam Ha Landfill – the city’s waste dump – will reduce.

Van said: “My neighbour puts wastebaskets at local schools to collect leftover fruits, vegetables and other biodegradable substances. He volunteers to transport them to our area and then we share them to make compost and dish-washing liquid.”

“I feel my living environment has improved a lot since I started taking advantage of organic waste to make useful garden compost and home products,” she added.

Local authorities have also encouraged households who do not have gardens to sort garbage and benefit from organic waste by building a station located in the centre of the village called the Material Recovery Facility.

At the station, people can sort their garbage and then local waste collectors will make compost from organic waste. Villagers who do not have gardens to make compost can come and select compost for their household use.

Hoi An residents turn organic waste into compost and detergent
Biodegradable waste gathered at the Material Recovery Facility will be made into organic compost by local waste collectors. Villagers who do not have gardens to make compost can come and pick compost for their household use.

The facility, the first of its kind in Hoi An, was put into operation in late January with the support of the Management Boards of the Cham Island Marine Protected Area and Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA), a worldwide alliance of more than 800 grassroots groups, non-governmental organisations, and individuals in some 90 countries whose vision is a just, toxic-free world without incineration.

Nguyen Van Vu, deputy director of Management Boards of the Cham Island Marine Protected Area, said the facility aimed to cut the amount of waste discharged into the environment and reduce waste dumping on the city’s landfill.

"We hope the model will be applied widely in other areas of Hoi An City," he said.

The second facility of this kind in Hoi An will be inaugurated in April on Cham Island - which has become known as Vietnam’s role model in plastic waste reduction.

VNS

Zero-waste communities emerge in Hoi An

Zero-waste communities emerge in Hoi An

Reserving a 2,600sq.m garden in Dong Na Village in Cam Ha Commune – a farming intensive suburban area of Hoi An – local farmers and businesses have joined hands to debut the first zero-waste agriculture

From waste comes green products and vital jobs

From waste comes green products and vital jobs

After giving a great deal of thought as to how to reduce the amount of waste that at times got out of hand in Da Nang, Tran Thi Hong, a native of the central coastal city, began to produce her own safe dish wash from organic household waste.

 
 

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