THF Conservation Grant
This EFWC is an invention of Assoc. Prof Dr Che Zalina Zulkifli from Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris (UPSI) and is designed to provide an efficient option to accelerate the transformation of food waste into compost. This project is being supported as an innovation under our sustainability pillar. It aims to provide a solution to reduce the amount of food waste produced on Penang Hill that is disposed as general waste and finds itself in the state landfill. It will involve working closely with Penang Hill Corporation (PHC) to install two Food Waste Composters (EFWCs) which will serve food vendors, cafes and restaurants on the hill.
The EFWC is able to process 50 kg of organic waste per-load. Assisted by heat, in-built fan, and microbes, and with a combination of brown waste in the form of leaves and clippings, compost can be harvested every five days. The project will involve the training of partners on how to use the system, conduct ongoing monitoring and maintenance of the system, and document this initiative for publication in a high-impact journal.
The EFWC has already been successfully trialled in selected schools and restaurants in Seberang Perai and George Town. It has received favourable reviews because of the ease of use and the cost-effective nature of the machines. The Council has ordered new machines and plans to extend the system to other areas. Currently there are 10 in use.
Earlier this year, THF conducted an Assessment of Food Waste Production on Penang Hill as a baseline study to gather data on current waste generation and standard waste disposal protocols. The study which involved observations and interviews with vendors at Astaka, Bellevue Hotel, The Habitat, and David Brown’s, found that for the volume of waste generated, two EFWCs can adequately address current needs. One of the EFWCs will be donated by Think City, and another newer prototype (the SMART-EFWC with Internet of Things (IoT) capability) will be purchased under the project.
This project tackles a very visible problem and will help demonstrate practical steps towards sustainability in conjunction with the Penang Hill UNESCO Man & the Biosphere Reserve. In addition, the project will also explore how compost generated from the project can be utilised to help with the revegetation of slopes affected by landslides. There is also the option of providing it to middle-station farms as an incentive to reduce their use of pesticides.