HOTELS & TOURISM | Krisana Gallezo-Estaura, Singapore

Check out how Grand Hyatt Singapore converts food waste into fertilizer in 24 hours

It saves the hotel $100,000 a year on waste disposal fees.

The need to minimise waste and recycle has become an acute matter in land scarce Singapore, given that space in the landfill in Pulau Semakau is expected to run out between 2035 and 2045. According to figures from the National Environmental Agency (NEA), the total amount of waste generated in Singapore rose by 159,000 tonnes last year to 7.67 million tonnes - just short of the high of 7.85 million tonnes in 2013. Food waste in particular is a concern, as it is corrosive and attracts pests such as rats.

To contribute in addressing the issue on waste management, Grand Hyatt Singapore has leased a 1,000 litre digester machine from Biomax Technologies where food waste is recycled into high-grade fertilizer within 24 hours.

Food waste from nine different sources in Grand Hyatt’s restaurants and kitchen is transported by a vacuum piping system to a centralised location before it is treated in Biomax’s digestor.

According to Sim Eng Tong, the man behind this innovative technology, Biomax’s technology boasts of the speed in which food waste is converted to organic fertilizer, unlike traditional methods of composting which can take several months. The resulting high quality fertilizer produced, he said, can be used for gardening or landscaping purposes, where other facilities may produce by-products that are not very useful.

“Unlike the labour-intensive technology that some other waste management facilities require, Biomax’s digestor is automated and only two staff are required to operate the machine. No sorting of waste is required as the digestor can handle all types of organic waste, unlike some types of technology that can only process a limited variety of food waste,” claims Mr Sim.

According to Mr. Sim, the technology does not harm the environment and produces no harmful pathogens or offensive odour.

This particular 1,000 litre digestor installed in Grand Hyatt Singapore can recycle 500kg of food waste per day. About 200-250 kg of fertilizer is produced.

The project has helped Grand Hyatt save $100,000 a year on waste disposal fees. By eliminating the need for such haulage, the hotel will further reduce its carbon footprint.

Who’s Mr Sim?

This venture started off by Mr Sim as an idea which was later solidified into a business plan with partner Dr Puah Chum Mok.

Mr Sim was in the food trading business prior to starting Biomax and witnessed first-hand the extent of wastage in the F&B industry. Dr Puah was a lecturer and research scientist with 30 years of R&D experience in microbiology and biochemistry in UK and Singapore.

They met through a mutual friend and Mr Sim then challenged Dr Puah to create a technology that can convert organic waste into fertilizer within 24 hours. He wanted to see if all this food that was being thrown away or had expired could be recycled or made into something more useful. Dr Puah agreed to put his understanding of biotechnology toward bringing Mr Sim’s vision to fruition.

They started the R&D journey in 2004. Five years later, Dr Puah successfully developed a technology that could accelerate the waste treatment process within 24 hours and Biomax Technologies was incorporated.


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