1 Utama Gets “W.I.S.E With Food” With Its In-House Food Waste Management System

Did you know that Malaysians generate 15,000 tonnes of food waste daily? That’s enough to feed 12 million people 3 meals a day! When food waste goes into landfills, it disintegrates and emits greenhouse gases, leading to global warming. At 1 Utama, they have their own in-house food waste management system, which gives their daily 4,000 kg food waste a new lease of life instead of just being dumped.

W.I.S.E With Food

As Malaysia’s first Green Mall, 1 Utama has always been the pioneering force behind many environmental and sustainable initiatives since 2005. Consistently setting new standards, 1 Utama is now revolutionising urban waste with of its W.I.S.E WITH FOOD (Waste Innovation for Sustainability and the Environment) programme to demonstrate its commitment to conservation efforts. W.I.S.E is the largest on-site retail food waste management system to be introduced in a Malaysian mall where food waste form 180 F&B tenants is transformed into high grade organic fertiliser for a meaningful and holistic “table to farm” approach.

Image Credit: 1 Utama

The Bigger Picture Of Sustainability

Each day at 1 Utama, F&B tenants separate food waste at their premises. 1 Utama is happy to announce that this food waste management system is well-received by its tenants, and willingness, co-operation and participation rate is high. Besides solving operational issues like waste disposal and pest control, W.I.S.E also educates tenants on why there is a need for food waste segregation and management. As food waste segregation is the biggest issue (only dry food waste is accepted), 1 Utama has a comprehensive system to work with tenants directly, including training programmes and outlet visits. As such, all involved in this green initiative are exposed to the importance of sustainability through food waste segregation and management.

How W.I.S.E Works

1 Utama provides tenants with a handbook, which covers 6 parts: tenant responsibility, general guidance for segregation, compliance, transporting (from outlet to recycling room), recycling room SOP and clean up. Tenants are also given a Food Waste Monitoring Smart Card, so that they can keep track of how much food waste they produce. What happens is that the food waste bin is placed on the weighing scale, and the card is scanned. Then, the bin is wheeled to a lift where it is latched in, lifted up and its contents emptied into the recycling machine. Afterwards, tenants must leave the recycling room immediately, and clean their bins.

From Food Waste To Organic Fertiliser

The good thing about having an in-house waste management is that it reduces carbon emissions, as compared to having the waste transported off-site. Microbs, the food waste management system partner in 1 Utama’s W.I.S.E, customised the whole set-up for 1 Utama, and is looking at replicating this programme for other malls as well. Let’s take a look at how food waste converts into organic fertiliser:

  1. Food waste is emptied into the W.I.S.E machine chamber.
  2. A large grinder breaks down the food waste.
  3. Fermentation takes place with the inoculation of microbes to speed up the decomposition and heated to 70°C.
  4. Temperature is increased to 80°C to kill all bad pathogens, living micro-organisms and all forms of bacteria.
  5. The fertiliser is dried, and the duration of this process depends on how moist it is.
  6. The organic powdered fertiliser is then ready for packing!

All in all, the whole process takes about 17 hours.

Image Credit: 1 Utama

Education & Awareness

The fertiliser is currently being tested out on 1 Utama’s own landscapes, but 1 Utama hopes to make the fertiliser available to public soon. Meanwhile, to check out the recycling room for yourself and to learn more about food waste management, drop by LG Promenade! In the future, 1 Utama plans to add another recycling machine, and to organise guided tours for public to get a better understanding of the whole food waste management system, and how it could help our environment.

For more information, visit 1 Utama’s website!