Eco-Enzyme: Multipurpose Liquid from Organic Waste

eco enzyme or garbage enzyme as a multipurpose liquid
Eco enzyme or garbage enzyme as a multipurpose liquid.
(Source: Lea Wee from Straittimes.com)

What is eco-enzyme?

Eco enzyme or garbage enzyme is a multipurpose liquid that is produced from the fermentation of organic waste. Some of the function of this product include mopping liquid, kitchen cleaner, fruit and vegetable cleaner, insect repellent and plant fertilizer. The disinfectant property inside an eco enzyme is due to the alcohol and/or acetic acid content in this liquid. Alcohol (ethanol) and/or acetic acid are produced by the metabolic process of bacteria that are naturally present on fruit or vegetable scraps. Anaerobic respiration, or also known as fermentation, is underwent by the bacteria to obtain energy from carbohydrate in an anaerobic (without oxygen) condition and with alcohol or acetic acid (depending on the type of microorganism) as the byproduct. Yeast and some types of bacterium produce alcohol through fermentation, whereas most bacteria produce acetic acid. This fermentation process is a result of enzyme activities of the microorganisms. In the making of eco enzyme, either alcohol, acetic acid, or both is produced, depending on the type of microorganisms that are present on the fruit or vegetable scrap. Both substance has a disinfectant property.

Converting organic waste into eco enzyme is important for reducing the amount of organic waste piling up in landfills. A study by Sustainable Waste Indonesia found that as much as 60% of the total waste produced in Indonesia is organic waste (CNN Indonesia, 2018). Unfortunately, out of the total waste produced (organic and non-organic), only 7.5% are processed. The rest of the waste are piled, burned, ignored and as much as 69% are transported to landfills (KLHK, 2017). This is problematic because the capacity of landfills are limited. For instance, it is predicted that TPA (landfill) Bantar Gebang can no longer operate by 2021 due to overcapacity (Dinas LH DKI).

Organic waste that are piled up in landfill produces harmful gases to the environment and to the health of the people living around the landfill. At landfills, organic waste go through anaerobic decomposition process that produces methane, a greenhouse gas that has capacity to trap heat 30 times more effective than carbon dioxide. This harmful anaerobic process often occurs to organic waste that are kept away from oxygen in-between non-organic waste (e.g. food waste wrapped inside plastic). Moreover, methane may also threaten the health of people who live around the landfill by replacing oxygen content in the air. Environmental and health issue that arise due to organic waste in landfills must be managed with by reducing the amount of organic waste produced, as well as by processing the produced organic waste, such as through producing eco enzyme.

What are the benefits of eco enzyme?

As a disinfectant, eco enzyme can replace most cleaning liquids for multiple household products, even to purify air from airborne bacteria, due to its ability to kill bacteria and fungus. Other than to reduce the usage of chemical based cleaning liquids, eco enzyme also has its own economic value because it reduces the expense from buying commercial cleaning products. Furthermore, the nutritions that are contained inside the fruit and vegetable residue from processing an eco enzyme can be utilised as festilizers.

eco enzyme can substitute household cleaning products
Eco enzyme can substitute household cleaning products.
(Source: rawpixel on Unsplash)

Enzyme activities inside an eco enzyme can also be utilized. During a fermentation process, the enzymes of microorganisms are active to process the energy source. Arun and Sivashanmugam (2015) found that eco enzyme contain amylase, protease and lipase activity that can be utilised to treat dairy waste, in which it contains carbohydrate, protein and fat to be broken down by those enzymes.

The following are some of the benefits of eco enzyme:

  1. Floor cleaner
  2. Toilet cleaner
  3. Kitchen cleaner
  4. Dishwashing liquid
  5. Air purifier
  6. Clothes detergent
  7. Waste treatment
  8. Body wash and hair care
  9. Insect repellent
  10. Pesticide
  11. Fertilizer

How to make eco enzyme?

how to make garbage enzyme
Eco enzyme goes through fermentation in an air tight plastic container.
(Source: Savefoodcutwaste.com)

Ingredients and equipment

  1. Vegetable and fruit scrap (raw)
  2. Brown sugar
  3. Water
  4. Air tight container

Instruction

  1. Measure water, fruit or vegetable scrap and brown sugar with 10:3:1 respectively (e.g. 10 gram of brown sugar, 30 gram of fruit/vegetable scrap, 100 gram of water). Adjust with the available waste or the container.
  2. Chop the fruit or vegetable scrap into small pieces.
  3. Mix all ingredients into a plastic container and stir. Plastic material is preferred to avoid the container from exploding when gasses built up.
  4. Close the container until it is airtight.
  5. Leave for 3 months at a sheltered space.
  6. During the early stage of fermentation, open the container approximately every once a week to release the trapped gasses and prevents the container from exploding.
  7. After 3 months, a successful eco enzyme will have a dark brown colour with vinegary smell. If the liquid is black, add more sugar to continue the fermentation process. Just ignore if worms and insects are present because it will be broken down through the process.
  8. Filter the liquid from the organic waste residue dan keep in any container for later use.
  9. The organic waste residue can be used as fertilizers.

What types of waste can be used to make eco enzyme?

orange peel and orange scrap can be used for eco enzyme
Fruit scraps are suitable for eco enzyme.
(Source: Charles Deluvio on Unsplash)

Ensure you only use raw fruits and vegetable scrap to be processed in producing eco enzyme. Fermentation that produces alcohol and acetate acid with disinfectant property only applies to plant based materials due to its carbohydrate (sugar) content. Decomposition and fermentation process of meat is different from plant. Meat can decompose quickly and release pathogens at unregulated temperature. If you want to produce eco enzyme, or if you want your organic waste to be processed by a waste management agent, make sure to sort your fruit and vegetable scraps  from other organic and non-organic waste.

Want your waste to be collected by Waste4Change?

waste collection service
Waste collection: one of the main services by Waste4Change.

If you do not have the time or the facility to process your own organic waste, you can still do it with Waste4Change. Give your waste to Waste4Change through the residential, commercial or individual waste collection service. This service is available for collecting waste in residential areas and businesses (e.g. Restaurants, industries, etc) and individuals where the collected organic waste will be processed in Rumah Pengomposan Waste4Change. See the following link for further information about the waste collection service: https://waste4change.com/collect/.

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