One Man's Trash is Another Man's Treasure…
That couldn’t be more true here at SOIL, where we see “waste” as a resource that’s just waiting to be set free! While this is perhaps most evident in our use of ecological sanitation (EcoSan), which transforms poop into agricultural-grade compost, it’s actually just one of many ways SOIL gets value from things that other people see as worthless.
For example, the sawdust-like mixture that keeps our no-flush toilets clean and odor-free is actually made up of discarded materials from some of our friends here in Haiti. Local rum companies Nazon and Barbancourt give us their bagasse, woody bits of sugar cane that are left over from rum production, while Meds & Food for Kids gives us the shells from their peanuts (which were grown using SOIL’s compost)! After sifting and grinding these unwanted leftovers, we’ve got the perfect cover material for our composting toilets, plus we’ve solved a waste-disposal problem for our friends – and did we mention that Nazon was inspired to install SOIL’s public toilets in the community around the factory? Twenty families now have access to safe sanitation all because we saw an opportunity in the garbage!
Now, SOIL is embarking on an exciting new experiment with another source of waste.
SOIL Agronomist Jean-Marie gives us the scoop:
“Last week, our team collected nearly 800 gallons of discarded cabbage leaves from the market at Kwa de Bosal in Port-au-Prince. We decided to launch this experiment for three reasons:
1) to increase the amount of compost we’re producing,
2) to show others how simple it is to compost food waste and other easily-decomposing material, and
3) to demonstrate a low-cost, environmentally-friendly way to add nitrogen to the soil, which in turn makes growing more food even easier.
We actually got this idea from seeing one of our partners, Sakala, compost their food waste, and it inspired us to start this pilot project. In January we’ll look at the data and decide if we should move forward with collecting market waste regularly.”
Interested in composting your own food waste? Check out this September blog post for resources to get started!