A startup waste management company founded by women – Compost City – is working to enhance household waste disposal by increasing the practice of home composting in the Kingdom, a practice they claim has the potential to reduce landfill waste by up to 80 per cent in Phnom Penh.
Tchaw Monorom, founder of Compost City, said that composting the leftovers from every household could reduce the amount of waste sent to the landfills by approximately 70 per cent.
She said that around 55 per cent of the waste is from the kitchen, 10 per cent is from paper and the rest is from the garden or various other sources of decomposable waste.
“It could reduce 70 per cent of the waste going into the landfills at least and possibly more because our customers will take care of other waste as well once they start composting.
“And when they make compost from waste, they might also think about the plastic that comes into their lives and into their homes every day and so they could also reduce that as well,” she said.
Monorom, a Cambodian who grew up in France, said that “our goal is to encourage people to take care of and value kitchen waste and have a connection with the soil and the life in the soil.”
Currently, Compost City is selling its products called the Turnkey Composter Kit and Bag of Carbon Mix and providing workshops for organisations interested in waste composting.
“We know that daily waste management causes a lot of pollution on our land, in our air and harms our general health. So, I want to raise the question – is there any other solution? And in our package we provide the family a chance to start working on their own solutions and to practice these solutions on their own,” she said.
According to a survey conducted by Compost City, Monorom noted that most participants indicated that they had started to have more conversations regarding waste with their families and friends in recent years. Moreover, half of the participants were already building gardens or planting trees before they started composting their waste.
Seng Socheata, a freelancer in Phnom Penh and a customer of Compost City, said that composting had helped her manage her household waste and helped reduce the bad odours associated with it and the overall quantity of waste in her home.
“We are all citizens and we should participate in composting to help the environment. And, I believe that [through composting] we will not have dirty garbage on the streets when the garbage trucks are late to collect it and even in the kitchen there will no longer be any bad smells or flies because we separate our waste. Moreover, our city will also be more beautiful,” she said.
“Although it cannot solve all the waste management problems in the Kingdom, we can do our part starting with our own households,” said Monorom.
According to a 2018 report by the Ministry of Environment, more than 90 per cent of urban waste contains recyclable materials such as organic waste (55 per cent), plastics (21 per cent) and other wastes. However, only 20 per cent of the potentially recyclable waste was actually recycled.