How Does UTHM’s Composting Project Help Reduce Food Waste?

Rethinking food waste to make it beneficial for the local community

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Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia (UTHM) (Image courtesy of Karyasama)

The Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia (UTHM) recently launched a food waste composting initiative in an effort to minimise solid waste disposal capacity at landfills especially during the fasting month.

Assoc Prof Ir. Dr Noor Yasmin Zainun, project head, said the initiative was inaugurated on the first day of Ramadan in conjunction with SWM Environment Sdn Bhd and focused on Pesta, Bindu, Taman Universiti, and Parit Raja bazaars, which have the largest food wastages in the district.

She stated that the project’s execution was critical since solid trash disposal during Ramadan was three times more than on normal days.

“At Ramadan bazaars, the Food Waste Management Programme was also done with the community to raise awareness.

“SWM supplied special bins for this programme, and the food waste collected was sent to the Solid Waste Research Centre (PPSP) at UTHM, where it is administered by the university’s spin-off firm, SWIDWEB Solutions,” she told reporters after a briefing on the process of making fertilisers from food waste.

According to Noor Yasmin, a lecturer at the Civil Engineering and Built Environment Faculty, UTHM felt compelled to do so when SWCorp (Solid Waste Management and Public Cleansing Corporation) revealed that during Ramadan, nearly 10,000 tonnes of good food and plastics were thrown away every day across Peninsular Malaysia.

“Actually, the idea was trialled in numerous residential neighbourhoods near UTHM in February, but this time the focus was on Ramadan bazaars.

“The collected food waste will be processed at the PPSP Unit to generate Black Soldier Fly Larvae, which may be utilised as fish food and organic fertiliser,” she added.

Johor SWM Environment Sdn Bhd Corporate Communications and Government Affairs senior executive Shahrul Amir Abdul Rahman was also present during the briefing.