The food waste landscape in Singapore is not quite ideal. In 2021, the National Environment Agency (NEA) reports that the country’s total food waste generated is 817,000 tons, of which only 19% is recycled.
To address this issue, Singapore has released a Zero Waste Master Plan which will see many initiatives and measures implemented over the next few years.
This includes the enactment of legislation by 2024 to mandate new developments such as placing food waste disposal systems in place in areas where food waste occurs, deploying food waste digesters across Tampines as part of a program to pilot and encourage businesses in Singapore to introduce new solutions.
One such local green tech business is Biomax Green. Founded in 2009 by Sim Eng Tong, who has always been interested in recycling himself, the business plays an important role in the sustainability movement.
I’ve worked in the food industry before and the amount of food wasted I’ve witnessed has astounded me. Since landfilling and incineration were common methods of dealing with food waste at the time, I thought we needed a more sustainable solution and I could be a pioneer in driving this change.
– Sim Eng Tong, Founder and CEO of Biomax Green
Roping asked a friend of his, a scientist, to come up with a solution that could quickly turn waste material into something useful.
This is what eventually led to the establishment of Biomax Green’s patented solution, which can convert all types of organic waste into high quality organic fertilizer in just 24 hours.
Currently, Biomax Green cooperates with a number of domestic and foreign organizations for food waste management and is looking to make their digestive devices more customizable in terms of size, portability and user-friendly as they anticipate growing demand for their technology in the near future.
Solutions towards solving waste in Singapore
Eng Tong laments some misconceptions about the recycling industry and how essential Biomax Green’s technology is in the current landscape.
First, he noticed that people in Singapore are used to packing all their garbage and processing it through a centralized system of trash chutes, where there is absolutely no segregation of waste. It is this convenience, he believes, that discourages many people from actively looking for ways to recycle and developing good waste management practices.
Furthermore, for recyclers, many of them assume that whatever is placed in the recycling bin will eventually be sorted and recycled. However, Eng Tong emphasizes that items containing liquid and food waste are not only unsuitable for recycling, but can also contaminate the rest of the recyclables in the bin, rendering the entire pile unsuitable for recycling. recyclable.
“Items deemed non-recyclable are no different from ordinary waste. They will be burned and disposed of in landfills, which creates inefficiencies of the system and undermines the purpose of recycling,” he added.
He points to another common assumption, which is that everyday waste will be incinerated because most cannot be recycled. In fact, he shares that the technology can be used to effectively treat waste in a short time and be recycled into useful manure such as fertilizer.
For Eng Tong, developing a waste sorting culture in Singapore is key to tackling the waste problem.
Besides finding ways to make the garbage sorting system more diverse and robust, he suggested having more colored bins in addition to the blue bin initiative to better inform users about the types of substances. specific waste is accepted.
“If people knew exactly where to dispose of specific items, they would probably put in more effort,” he stressed.
On a more microscopic scale, he also appeals to schools and educational institutions to educate and encourage students to develop effective waste management methods.
In fact, Biomax worked with a local school by providing them with a small custom composter where students and staff could dispose of their food waste. This gives students a better understanding and exposure to alternative waste management processes.
“There is no better place than schools to learn about environmental awareness and we are delighted to have contributed to the learning and education journey of the next generation,” he said.
He feels that other businesses should also adopt a more proactive stance. Eng Tong praises an example in which his customer placed one of their digesters in the canteen to advocate for their own food waste disposal, where the compost output was then used. for their on-site landscaping needs.
Biomax Green has developed an award-winning technology
This is why Eng Tong is proud of Biomax Green’s technology. In front is the Biomax Rapid Temperature Digester – an automatic closed system that uses specially formulated BM1 enzymes – the organic compounds inside the organic waste can be broken down into organic substances. simpler with unprecedented speed.
Not to mention, the system is compatible with all types of waste. From agricultural waste such as seed husks and fruit pulp, to livestock waste from animal slaughter and egg processing, even municipal waste such as food waste and horticultural waste, all these can all be further degraded by the system.
First, the waste is loaded into the digester via the inlet conveyor, where Biomax Green creates the optimal production environment such as keeping the temperature at 80 degrees Celsius with the help of an automated system.
During the treatment process, for every ton of waste in the system, 1kg of BM1 enzyme is added. This allows waste to be broken down into simpler forms without releasing any polluting byproducts.
Results after 24 hours? Organic fertilizers are odorless, germ-free and highly nutritious.
Ultimately, they want their technology to be able to produce soil-enriching fertilizers in no more than 24 hours, as well as educate people about the benefits of using their technology.
Realizing that more and more local gardening communities and home gardeners are buying their fertilizers, Eng Tong shared that Biomax Green has been working on supplying their fertilizers to several plant nurseries in Singapore. with local farmers.
Passion for keeping business
Eng Tong’s environmentally conscious journey towards building Biomax Green for what it is today has been an arduous one.
“I don’t come from a scientific background. I had to learn as much as I could about the science of waste management in a short amount of time,” he recalls.
As such, it took them years to create the perfect solution of an enzyme catalyst that can break down and convert all forms of organic waste into high-grade fertilizer within 24 hours. “We also need to find a machine capable of generating high heat to carry out the metamorphism,” he added.
To make things worse, recycling wasn’t a popular topic back then either. According to Eng Tong, people are not receptive to such ideas and do not consider waste management part of their goal or vision.
“The first 18 months is a difficult tagline as no one can convince themselves that a small Singaporean company is capable of producing such a technology.”
Despite that, they persisted and wrote to farms and waste companies around the world as potential users of their technology. They have also made efforts to continue to improve the quality of their fertilizers.
Many were skeptical from the start. But after many rounds of convincing them to trust Biomax Green’s products, Eng Tong and his team finally received orders overseas.
Although it was very difficult, Eng Tong shared that they kept going because they truly believe that the technology they are inventing will change the game. Furthermore, there is a growing shift around the world towards the pursuit of more environmentally friendly solutions, of which they aspire to be a part.
With a dedicated and honest team, committed to enhancing sustainability, Biomax Green has been officially awarded the ASEAN Business Award in the category of Innovation for SMEs, Best Practice Award (Exchange). new) by Frost & Sullivan and the Emerging Business Award (Winner) in 2013.
The company also won for itself the Asia Pacific Entrepreneur Award (Most Promising Category), the Entrepreneurship Award, the Entrepreneur of the Year Award (Technology & Innovation) and the Entrepreneur Award. of the Year (Established Entrepreneur) 2014.
It is just a matter of courage to take the first step. I just focus on pursuing my passion for recycling and building a local brand that will provide solutions not only locally but also internationally.
– Sim Eng Tong, Founder and CEO of Biomax Green
Using technology for a greener future
Taking that first step opened many doors for Eng Tong and Biomax Green. One of these doors is to be able to gain an international presence, where Biomax Green expands its market to countries as far away as the USA, Australia and even parts of Europe.
Since their humble beginnings at the Depot Road office in 2009, Biomax Green have continued to improve their products, from expanding their range of enzymes to developing new supplements for growth development of plant roots, to the development of an organic insecticide to eliminate harmful insects in all types of plantations.
Now that Singapore has implemented a Zero Waste Master Plan, Biomax Green intends to continue to play an important role in becoming one of the most sustainable, resource-efficient solutions.
Mr. Eng Tong predicts that businesses’ need for their technology will have to separate food waste and implement waste management measures from 2024 onwards, Eng Tong predicts that the needs of businesses will industry for their technology will increase.
“This is a great opportunity for us to work with more businesses in developing tailored waste management solutions and is something we are very excited about.”
Featured image credit: Biomax Green