Title: [GreenYes] Heard of garbage enzyme?
Extracted from The Star, a local newspaper in Malaysia.
A toast to garbage
By ROSE YASMIN KARIM
Committed to leaving the smallest footprint possible, one woman is
waging war on global warming.
While a lot of tree-huggers take themselves way too seriously, Dr (H)
Joean Oon carries her social conscience without being smug.
Going beyond screwing in compact fluorescent light bulbs and carrying
tote bags to the grocers, the homeopathy and naturopathy doctor is
tirelessly working towards bringing environmental awareness to the
masses by giving free public talks . . . on garbage enzyme.
Fruits headed for the fermenting drums.
Environmental issues are important to Oon because she worries for the
"I was devastated when I found out that Malaysia was on the brink of
sinking due to global warming," says Oon at her Naturopathic Family
Care Centre cum garbage enzyme headquarters in Tanjung Bungah, Penang.
"My biggest concern was for the safety of my three daughters, and I
knew I had to do something, anything, to save them. That was what
drove me to learn about producing garbage enzyme from Dr Rosukon
Poompanvong, an alternative medicine practitioner in Thailand," she
So how does trimming trash help to bring down the earth's temperature?
"The production of garbage enzyme generates ground-level Ozone (O3).
The O3 helps to maintain the earth's temperature by releasing the heat
trapped by the heavy metal in the clouds. If every household turns its
garbage into enzyme, we can protect our ozone, live in a smog-free
environment and eat food free from toxins," explains Oon.
By mixing garbage enzyme with chemical cleaning products, Oon
explains, the enzyme flowing into our drainage system will cleanse the
rivers and oceans.
"We are running a campaign to encourage Malaysians to pour garbage
enzyme into our rivers this Dec 21," says Oon,
"The enzyme will help to break down the harmful chemicals. We have
done a trial run at Sungai Kayu Ara in Selangor and the results have
The yeast forming on the surface of the enzyme is rich in B complex
and Vitamin C. — NURFADILLA A. K. S.
Oon works with 10 dedicated staff to produce the enzyme and to publish
booklets. She and her team have gone on garbage enzyme road shows all
across Malaysia, Hong Kong, Thailand, Singapore, Taiwan, Indonesia and
"To date, we have given away 15,000 bottles for free because we want
to encourage people to try it and eventually make their own," she
Funds for the project, according to Oon, have never fallen short.
"Thanks to the public's generosity, we have not been short of brown
sugar and plastic bottles to keep the project running," she says.
The new black
So how practical — and useful — is this enzyme?
I don't pick up litter in the midst of a shopping excursion, I don't
turn off the tap when I brush my teeth and I sure don't wait until it
mellows before I flush, but Oon's suggestion to reroute one third of
my household waste away from the landfill by making my own enzyme
While Oon attends to a patient, a staff member, Peter Too, 31, takes
me to the porch for a garbage enzyme show-and-tell.
"Glass expands, so it's better to use plastic containers to store the
enzyme," Too says, as he twists the lid off an air-tight plastic drum,
releasing a whiff of fermenting fruits and vegetables. The smell was a
cross between apple cider vinegar and orange juice past its shelf
"To make the enzyme all you need is one part brown sugar, three parts
kitchen waste and 10 parts water. First, mix brown sugar with water.
Then add in the garbage — watermelon rinds, orange peels, carrot
shavings, tea leaves, apple cores, banana peels and vegetables.
"You can also put in meat, dairy products and durian, but I have to
warn you, it's going to smell really bad. Remember to leave some space
at the top of the container for the enzyme to breathe. Every now and
then, give it a good stir so it gets enough air. In three months, your
enzyme is good for use," says Too.
Volunteers helping to bottle the enzyme.
One of the drums has some funky-looking mould floating at the top.
"It's yeast, and it's perfectly safe to use," Too says, rubbing it
between his fingers for good measure.
Another barrel is littered with fat fruit worms, alive and crawling.
"Worms develop when the container is not sealed properly. To dissolve
them all, just add one extra ratio of sugar and make sure the lid is
tight. The extra protein will be great fertiliser."
The garbage enzyme, Too explains, will never expire.
"The longer you store it, the stronger it will become," he says,
sending me off with a bottle and dilution instructions to try out.
Putting it to the test
My poor tresses have been subjected to shampoos that claim to be
natural but contain parabens, sodium laureth sulfate and some other
stuff I can't pronounce. The enzyme, I figure, is just what I need to
disarm the chemicals.
I don't want to mix the enzyme in a full bottle of shampoo so I get a
trial-size bottle, add two tablespoons of enzyme and give it a good
The shampoo smells good, but leaves a sticky residue after the first
rinse. I give it a second rinse. It leaves my locks looking, well,
pretty much the same as they always do. Since it works fine on my
hair, I decide to use the enzyme on other surfaces.
There is some lime scale collecting at the bottom of my bathroom pail.
I fill it a quarter full with water, and add a tablespoon of enzyme.
The flaky white stuff comes off after a good rub with an old loofah.
On a roll, I get to work on some dishes that have been sitting
overnight in the kitchen sink. With the sink plugged, I squeeze a
generous amount of liquid suds, three tablespoons of enzyme and some
water and let the dishes soak for awhile. The suds smell light and
Getting rid of the crusty scrambled eggs in the skillet takes a bit of
elbow grease but it all comes off.
I am so thrilled, my eyes start darting around trying to find
something else to clean.
The kitchen tiles are in need of polishing, I decide. Rolling my
sleeves, I soak a rag in a bucket of water and enzyme. A lot of dirt
comes off. The result isn't exactly sparkling, but it's better than
spraying toxic cleaning products.
Trigger-happy, I drop a tablespoon of enzyme into a brand name glass
cleaner and set to work on my mirrors. Seeing my grinning reflection
in the stain-free mirror totally pumps me up, but I can't help but
roll my eyes when I notice I still have zits at 27.
I dab a bit of enzyme onto some zits along my hairline. It stings a
bit, but next morning, the pimples seem to have shrunk a bit. This is
Feeling pretty pleased, I prop my feet on the ottoman and snack on
pesticide-free grapes that have been soaked for 45 minutes in a bowl
of enzyme and water. Being a domestic goddess sure isn't easy, but at
least with garbage enzyme there's no little voice nagging at your
o Dr Joean Oon will be speaking on Earth Saving Through Garbage Enzyme
at the Change Climate program to be held on Aug 9 in Stadium Putra
Bukit Jalil. The entrance fee is RM5 (reedemable for purchase at theme
kiosks). To know more visit www.justlifeshop.com/changeclimate.
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