By Liz Yanira Del Valle / Special for El Nuevo Día
Coffee residues, orange rinds, tubercles, eggs, rice, onions, peppers and kidney beans, among other foods common in our diet, are usually seen as unpleasant and stinking leftovers in our kitchens garbage cans.
For Tati Freedman, organic agriculturist and communitarian leader of the Coalition of Piñones (COPI), this vision must be surpassed, since these vegetal wastes do not have the protagonists of the bad scents and the scorn of the homes of their consumers.
Of the wastes from our kitchen, many of the vegetable wastes go to the garbage dumps. Everything seems in norm, but scientifically speaking, those organic wastes are unfriendly with the principles of environmental conservation.
Vegetal waste, when disturbed, produces methane, gas that absorbs solar energy and causes, along with other gases, an increase in global temperature.
A molecule of this gas absorbs 20 times more heat than one of carbon dioxide (CO2). It is the worst gas for the air. In addition, organic wastes in garbage dumps favor infections, worms and bad scents.
According to Sarah Persh, communitarian advisor for COPI, in Puerto Rico, nearly 40% to 50% of waste in garbage dumps is of vegetal origin.
With this number in hand, reason for preoccupation and action, members of COPI organized educational talks on how to turn these leftovers into compost.
According to Freedman, compost is produced by the decomposition of organic materials (compounds formed by or formed of live beings, of vegetal or animal origin).
This fertilizer improves the quality of the substrate, benefiting the crops, ourselves (by avoiding the use of chemical agent) and the planet, by reducing methane discharges.
“Oxygen, humidity, nitrogen and a not excessively high temperature are necessary elements for the creation of compost. In this one, bacteria on the ground interact with the degradable wastes, producing an excellent fertilizer”, indicated Freedman, that directed the first factory for citizens who live in apartments and that are interested in creating composts.
Physical space does not have to be a limitation in the process to composting. It is easier for those who have patios or yards, but not impossible for the ones who don’t.
In Puerto Rico, a good example of commercial composting is Verde Amanecer, an agricultural project specialized in rabbit farming, that produces compost using earthworms as well.
In this case, the earthworms are put together with the organic materials, and with the excrement of these worms, create organic compost.
The fertilizer produced by Verde Amanecer is sold in organic markets and it is used to fertilize the vegetation of the property where this mayagüezana company locates.