Title: [GreenYes] Re: Heard of garbage enzyme?
Thanks for posting this extraordinary story. I have to say, it makes no
sense at all.
Oon's description of the science is a head-scratcher. While the earth's
upper-atmosphere layer of ozone is important in protecting us from solar
radiation, ground-level ozone is a nasty pollutant and a major component
of smog. Fortunately, I do not think that fermenting kitchen waste will
produce ozone. Clouds do not usually contain heavy metals (they're
heavy, and so tend to precipitate out of the atmosphere quickly). Nor
would releasing additional heat into the atmosphere somehow ameliorate
What I think is happening here is simple fermentation. If kitchen waste
means vegetable peelings, etc., we are talking about a clean,
source-separated stream of organics. Put those into a low-oxygen
environment (the plastic probably allows some oxygen in through osmosis,
unlike glass) with some sugar and water, and the decomposition process
will form some fairly strong organic acids. This is essentially what
happens when wine- or beer-making goes wrong: instead of producing
alcohol, the extra oxygen forms acids.
These acids can certainly be useful for cleaning, as they are solvents.
In particular, calcium scale from hard water, which I believe is
generally alkaline in nature, would dissolve well in an acidic solution.
For the same reason, many people clean with vinegar or lemon juice. I'm
not sure I would put it on food, though.
The only climate benefit I can see from this is if the kitchen waste
were otherwise being mixed with other waste and sent to landfill, where
it could form methane. But pouring large quantities of organic acids
into rivers and oceans is certainly a bad idea: the world's oceans are
already suffering acidification from having absorbed unprecedented
levels of CO2. I still think a better use of kitchen waste is composting
or anaerobic digestion.
It's a pity the reporter did not talk to someone capable of verifying
these extraordinary claims.
Nancy Poh wrote:
> 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
> future generation.
> "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
> been encouraging."
> 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
> seems do-able.
> 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
> martini shake.
> 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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