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Waste in, fertiliser out - Ecowells turns trash into compost

Published:Monday | May 14, 2012 | 12:00 AM
Ecowells' worm casting and potting mix are great for the garden.
Ecowells' 100 per cent organic fertiliser.
Compost ready for use.
Ecowells' compost is sold by the truckload or by the square yard. - Contributed photos
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Keisha Hill, Gleaner Writer

In the normal course of activities, one would simply throw out kitchen organic waste, for example vegetable and fruit peeling, to rot over time. Or, the dedicated gardener would turn it periodically to speed up the breakdown process. This is normally a tedious process and the smell can be very unpleasant. You can actually save yourself the hassle and purchase compost for your garden straight from the shelves of your local store.

Ecowells is the Environmental Division of Canco Limited. They collect, process and manage the company's organic waste - ackee pods and seeds and all other fruit and vegetable peelings from its food-processing plant. The biodegradable waste is separated from non-biodegradable waste and is transported to more than three acres of land for composting. The organic debris is heaped into large piles and large equipment is used to turn it.

"Composting prevents biodegradable waste from being sent to the landfills. Biodegradable waste can be harmful in landfills as it releases harmful greenhouse gases into the air and pollutes groundwater, rivers and streams," said Norman McDonald, chairman of Ecowells and Canco Limited.

Tested recipes

The process starts with laboratory-designed and tested recipes using the cleanest local source separated organic (SSO) materials. It is sustained by maintaining a temperature between 110F and 150F for between six and eight weeks to ensure that the pathogens are killed. The moisture content is also monitored so that an ideal environment is created for the micro-organisms that decompose matter to thrive.

Ecowells Limited has three different products: Compost, Compost Potting Mix, and Worm Castings. Each product has a different function.

The Ecowells Soil Conditioner Compost is not a fertiliser. It provides a new lifestyle for your plants so their health is improved over time.

"It infuses slow-release nutrition, making it an increasingly rich, health environment for your plants to grow. By adding to existing soil, compost enhances conditions and creates a healthier environment for plants to thrive," McDonald said.

The Compost Potting Mix is good to blend with other materials to make a soil medium for starting seedling and Worm Castings can be used as a source of plant fertility as an organic fertiliser.

"Compost has many greater virtues than fertilisers. It improves soil structure, water and nutrient-holding capacity, improves infiltration and enhances the soils microbial diversity," McDonald said.

Manufacturing of the compost has been ongoing for some five or more years, and McDonald indicated that they have been educating persons about the wholesome benefits of the product through exhibits at agricultural shows, including Denbigh and Hague. They have also been teaching children in some schools the process and importance of composting.

Prices are as follows:

20-pound bag costs between $450 and $480

60-pound bag costs between $900 and $1,000

100-pound bag costs $1,000. It is also sold by the cubic yard at $6,000 per cubic yard.

Visit their website at www.ecowells.com or call them at 920-4466 or fax 920-3136.

keisha.hill@gleanerjm.com