Malaysia generates income from garden waste

Malaysia generates income from garden waste
Hasim, Haslinda, Adnan and Haris showing off the Putrajaya Floria product line of plant fertiliser.
PHOTO: The Star

FALLEN branches, plant prunings and dead leaves will be turned into fertiliser at the new Floria Compost Centre in Putrajaya.

Not only will this home-made fertiliser cut down on maintenance costs for its parks, it will also be available for sale to landscapers and gardeners.

With contractors hauling in a total of 152.9 tonnes of garden waste daily, supply will hardly be a problem, Federal Territories Ministry secretary-general Datuk Seri Adnan Md Ikhsan said.

"Before the centre was set up, garden waste was either disposed off in landfills or shredded and left to decompose naturally in temporary waste transfer sites located in the Wetlands Park and Botanical Garden.

"This takes a long time but the new system can process compost on a bigger and faster scale - more than 50 tonnes a day," Adnan said.

Putrajaya Floria, a subsidiary of Putrajaya Corporation, will be in charge of marketing the fertiliser together with a range of other landscaping products.

(From left) Hasim, Haslinda, Adnan and Haris showing off the Putrajaya Floria product line of plant fertiliser. (From left) Hasim, Haslinda, Adnan and Haris showing off the Putrajaya Floria product line of plant fertiliser.

Managing director Haslinda Khalid said the idea of turning garden waste into a revenue generator came while they were looking at solutions to reduce dependency on government funding for the annual Royal Floria event, a flower and garden festival.

"Before this, we were buying compost from outside and it was a big expense.

"Since we have our own resources, such as land, manpower and machinery, we felt we should be producing our own fertiliser to reduce maintenance costs," said Haslinda.

For now, Putrajaya is alternating between chemical and organic fertilisers. When the centre is operating at full capacity, only organic fertiliser will be used.

Facilitating the technology is MIG Green Resources, which also manages the processing of garden waste for Kuala Lumpur City Hall.

The compost processing centre in Putrajaya is its third facility.

Chief executive officer Mohd Faridz Alayedin said the company's role was to manage the facility, provide machinery, operate the equipment and supply the end products to Putrajaya Floria.

Left to nature, it takes four months to make compost. With the help of science, the time frame is reduced by half. Left to nature, it takes four months to make compost. With the help of science, the time frame is reduced by half.

"Garden waste is processed into two different products. Leaves and grass are turned into compost while logs and branches can be used for wood chips and mulch.

"We have also ventured into making biochar, which is carbon made from plants," said Faridz.

The technology sees shredded logs and branches being sprayed with microbes to hasten decomposition.

Left to nature, it takes four months to get compost out of garden waste. With the help of science, the time frame is reduced by half.

In addition to fertiliser, the centre will also be looking at another income source - turning the area into a disposal centre for garden waste.

"The current rate for tipping fees is RM45 per tonne. We are offering landscape waste contractors a discounted fee of RM30 per tonne," said Putrajaya Floria chief operating officer Haris Embong.

Putrajaya Corporation president Datuk Hasim Ismail said the fertiliser project was only the tip of the iceberg in creating a truly green garden city.

"We are looking to form more partnerships with other companies to create more landscaping products, not only for the market but for overseas as well," he said.

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