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War on Waste: The power of poop

Composting holds huge environmental benefits. Garden waste left at the landfill would not decay efficiently and would produce methane, a greenhouse gas.

Recycling at its very best!

Cattle poop, garden waste, wood chips and saw dust… The byproducts of our everyday lives and from everyday industries.

But for Kenbrook Kompos, the above mentioned products are combined to make a precious commodity, compost.

The process involves decomposition of organic waste into humus known as compost which is a good fertilizer for plants.

Optimal temperatures and moisture levels are maintained throughout the process in order for the organic waste to decompose quickly and efficiently, thus conserving the majority of nutrients.

Cattle manure is collected from rural areas throughout Limpopo and farmers are even paid for the dung collected. A true win-win situation for these rural farmers as they would ordinarily have to remove the waste by hand. Now the manure is collected for them and they receive a monetary amount for it.

Heavy machinery works to turn over the compost and add water to the mixture.

Working closely with Greater Tzaneen Municipality (GTM), Kenbrook Kompos receive wood chips and garden waste from Tzaneen’s landfill site, ultimately saving air space in the landfill and prolonging its longevity.

Saw dust comes as a byproduct from the saw mills locally.

Read: Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without

All four ingredients for the compost recipe are therefore recycled products, wholly ticking the green box!

The combination of the four materials during the composting process creates a useful soil like substance which returns vital organic matter and nutrients for plants back to the soil.

In April 2017, the Kenbrook Kompos operation was set up in Tarentaalrand, outside Tzaneen.

Windrows of compost on the farm at Tarentaalrand.

The property was previously used for farming mangoes, so natural bush was not destroyed in order to provide space for the composting operation.

In terms of the process, initially a pre-mix is made and the combined products are left for seven days at a temperature of 65 degrees celsius.

The mix is then made into a windrow and the whole process takes about 20 to 25 weeks to complete.

The windrows of compost mix are turned regularly by heavy machinery and water is also added to maintain a 50% moisture content during the process.

The machinery used to turn the compost is manufactured locally in Tzaneen by FM Sheet Metal Works. Local is lekker!

Kenbrook Kompos currently employ 18 staff and have thus far produced approximately 20,000 cubes of compost since April 2017. Their aim is to produce 200,000 cubes annually.

The compost end-product is sorted into three different sizes, from a coarser ‘mulch’ material through to a finer one.

Each of the three sizes have differing uses in the farming sector and are sold locally to farmers.

Read: War on Waste: Meet the unsung recycling soldiers of Tzaneen

By using the coarser mulch under fruit trees, farmers can use up to 40% less water to maintain the trees as the compost has such good water retention properties.

Further benefits in the agricultural sector include; higher nutrient content of soils, improved aeration and water retention, a more balanced pH of soil, improved soil structure and reduced need for chemical fertilizers.

Additionally, composting holds huge environmental benefits. Garden waste left at the landfill would not decay efficiently and would produce methane, a greenhouse gas.

Diverting green waste from Tzaneen landfill reduces methane emissions as well as airspace at the landfill site.

For more information about Kenbrook Kompos, you can contact Hennie Breytenbach on 062 407 5796 or email: kenbrookkompos@gmail.com

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