Composting like never before | SunStar

Composting like never before

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Composting like never before

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Compositing in Davao City. (Contributed photo)

COMPOSTING has always been the byword of organic farmers and gardeners, but regular households who live in tiny spaces know how stinky that can become before you can even have a good amount of compost fertilizer.

Garbage, too, is the waterloo of just about every local government unit.
While every garbage trader would want to get their hands on your PET bottles, they will not even touch your biodegradable materials. You have to dispose it yourself, twice a week, to the garbage bin to fill up the already filled up sanitary landfill in Calinan district.

It is the sight of these garbage that has led veterinarian Dr. Roberto "Doc Bo" Puentespina to explore what other potentials composting holds.
He found it in a technology called YMO developed by Kankyo Wakuchin Vaccine Co. Ltd. of Japan.

The biggest attraction of YMO tech is that it cuts out the problem of odor, immediately.

Doc Bo told SunStar Davao that his new company, the Davao Thermo Biotech Corporation (DTBC), started trials on composting in 2014 using the YMO technology, and eventually acquired the license for it as it fit right into his environmental advocacy to get rid of the biodegradables that continue to flood our canals and water sources and contaminate our soils.

What makes the technology unique and a pioneering endeavor in the country is that it prevents leachate and because it is produced at 100°C, all pathogenic organisms are also destroyed and decomposes faster.

Doc Bo said that it takes just 45 days to convert raw garbage to odorless compost. In regular composting, the temperature of the decomposing substances only reaches 80°C, which is not enough to destroy the pathogenic substances in the garbage.

Thus, not only are food waste, animal manure, restaurant grease, food peelings, and autolyzed yeast managed in compliance with environmental laws, all these are in turn made into organic fertilizers that can benefit farmers and the whole agriculture sector.

The composting facility is located in Barangay Binugao in Toril while their office is at the Puentespina Orchid Garden Compound along Bolcan Street in Agdao, Davao City.

At present, they are focusing on industrial partners who need to dispose of their biodegradables, including plantations and food processors.

Do Bo, however, has his sights on the communities as his advocacy is to get rid of garbage.

"Until maka-educate nang communities, industry muna i-service namin," he said.

Bottomline, communities have to learn to segregate properly, which is not the norm in the city where people are so used to just dumping their garbage in one bag; this after earlier orders to segregate were proved useless because garbage collectors just dump them inside one truck, anyway.

DTBC is also eyeing the grease that restaurants are just flushing out through their drainpipes, as majority of restaurants in the city do not have the required grease traps. Grease is a major culprit in flooding, Doc Bo said, because these line up the pipes and clog them up.

"That's the reason why after flood recedes in the downtown area, you see a white line on walls marking where the water has reached," he said.

They are also experimenting on bananas and soil affected by the Fusarium wilt.

In this regard, Doc Bo said, they are working with a big banana plantation only because this company has the equipment to test for the Fusarium.

Initial tests show they can decompose the infected bananas and come up with compost that has no trace of the fungus, at all. This development, he said, has vast potentials, but they are not yet ready to announce anything yet.

Fusarium wilt is behind the downfall of many a farmer in the region after the massive flood brought about by typhoon Pablo in 2012 and refusal of farmhands and farm owners to abide by strict procedures to isolate the affected areas caused the widespread infection of thousands of hectares of banana plantations.

Fusarium wilt of banana or the so-called Panama disease is a fungal disease caused by soil-borne HYPERLINK "" Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense (Foc). This fungus enters the plant through the roots and colonizes the plant's vessels, blocking the flow of water and nutrients and eventually killing the plants. Because it is soil-borne, even the mere stepping on infected soil can spread the disease to other areas when the footwear used is not treated afterward.

It is also called panama disease because it is the banana disease that wiped out the banana industry in Central and South America in the 1950s after an outbreak in Panama.

At the moment, DTBC is building up its client base, which are the local government units, food and beverage manufacturers, agricultural plantations, livestock, poultry, and fisheries sectors, and tourism establishments.

With the stringent requirements food producers, processors and tourism establishments have to comply with, having a facility such as DTBC as a partner allows for better disposal of biodegradable wastes and DTBC even issues certifications for this.

For those interested in the production side, DTBC is open for franchising. They can be contacted through: or call 082 295-3459.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on September 26, 2016.

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