How to Compost in Singapore

Thinking of making compost at home but unsure where to start? Whether you are looking to creating your own compost for your plants or seeking a solution to food waste, there are several systems to choose from when it comes to composting in Singapore. Here is a list of systems available locally, there is one to suit your space, budget and comfort zone.

1. Smart Cara – This is for those who prefer a straightforward, high tech option and do not mind the $899 price tag. Made in South Korea, there is no need to sort your food waste and you can put raw and cooked food into it, unlike many low tech solutions. This unit holds up to 1kg of food waste and it takes 3-4 hours to convert food to compost, grinding and dehydrating it in the process. Measuring 31cm long x 27cm wide x 34cm tall, it doesn’t take much space in the home and is perfect for kitchens with space constraints. Get your Smart Cara from Ecoponics.

2. Bokashi Bin – This anaerobic system uses EMs, or Effective Micro-organisms that include beneficial yeasts and bacteria, to hasten the process of composting through fermenting food waste. When the bin is full, it is sealed and left alone to pickle, and after 10 -14 days, its contents will be turn into pre-compost, which needs to be added to a compost bin or heap to further compost for at least two weeks because it requires that amount of time for its acidity to neutralise. What is fantastic about the Bokashi Bin is you can compost eggs, dairy, cooked food, as well as raw and cooked meat. Like many low tech compost systems, the Bokashi Bin requires a balance of wet and dry ingredients so that its contents are not too moist, which can result in a bad odour. This system requires the continual purchase of Bokashi EMs, which is applied each time food is added to the Bokashi Bin. During the composting process, leachate is also produced and can be used as a nutrient booster for plants. The 19-litre Bokashi Bin is currently available at a special price of $90 at GreenSpade, find out more here.

3. Baba Compost Bin – This is suitable for those who travel often and are unable or unwilling to take care of a worm bin. An anaerobic composting system, this compost bin is most suitable for raw food waste and garden clippings, but not meat, eggs or dairy, and also produces leachate which can be diluted and applied to plants. Similar to the Bokashi Bin, the manufacturer recommends using this bin with their house brand Compost Maker, which contains microbes to speed up the decomposition process. This is not absolutely necessary, alternatively you can mix fruit and vegetable peelings and/or garden clippings with moist healthy soil to assist with composting, remember to balance the green (nitrogen) and brown (carbon) materials. A reminder – always dispose of diseased plant parts, and never add it to your compost bin! Place this in a warm or sunny spot to accelerate the breaking down process, and after two months, your compost should be ready. There is a chance that your compost might still be acidic and might require an aerobic phase for the pH to neutralise. This is one of the more affordable composting options in this list, the Baba Compost Bin is available in two sizes – 15L at $48, and 30L at $63. Get yours at World Farm!

4. Tumbleweed Tumbling Compost Bins– This is one for the urban farmers and gardeners! The Tumbleweed is an aerobic composting bin which makes mulch and compost in weeks – depending on how long you leave your garden clippings, dried leaves and fruit and veg clippings in there for. It is recommended to balance 50% garden waste (green and brown) with 50% raw food scraps in the tumbler. What makes this special is the ability to effortlessly turn its contents, and through this act of aeration, your organic waste is well mixed and breaks down quicker because oxygen is required for decomposition. This unit makes for a wonderful addition to community gardens, courtyards and backyards. Find a sunny spot to house this tumbler and turn it every couple of days. The Tumbleweed Compost Tumbler is available in 140 litres ($299) or 220 litres ($269) at Organic Origins.

5. Vermicomposting – A worm farm is a great composting system for those who have lots of raw fruit and vegetable food waste. This system gives you worm castings as well as worm leachate, both contain lots of micronutrients and beneficial microbes and help with soil conditioning. Worms don’t fancy oil, salt, meat, dairy and citrus, so this system is not suitable for those who are keen on composting food of this nature. The Tumbleweed Worm Cafe measures 57cm long x 39cm wide x 75cm tall,  and is available at Organic Origins – $250 including worms.

6. DIY – Prefer to make your own compost bin instead? You can easily put together your own compost bin for less than $20 by following these instructions.

I’d like to make a noteworthy mention of Black Soldier Fly (BSF) larvae. Featured in the media in recent months, it is  amazing at processing food waste. These larvae eat virtually anything but high cellulose items, highly recommended for dining establishments and homes that do a lot of cooking and have lots of food waste, as they can go through a lot of food in a short period of time – reportedly 1 sqm of larvae can consume 15kg of food per day. Unfortunately no one is selling BSF larvae kits commercially here yet, but it is available for purchase in Malaysia. Insectta, a BSF larvae farming enterprise located at Citizen Farm, accepts food waste on occasion, check their Facebook page for updates!

Composting in Singapore in a worthwhile activity and you’ll find it easy once you get the hang of it. I’d recommend composting to anyone because it diverts food waste from our incinerators, and turns waste into a resource. Not every household requires a bin but we can encourage our neighbours to give us their food waste or give them access to our bins. I hope you find a composter from this list that suits you!

Olivia is a gardener, nature lover and believer of a sustainable society. She writes about gardening and sustainable living on her blog – The Tender Gardener, and raises awareness of environment-related issues through a non-profit environmental society, Green Drinks (Singapore),where she is the President and Co-founder. Very much a homebody, she likes to spend time in her garden, fussing over her chickens and watching bees in her apiary.


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