SWATT, the Sustainable World Action Technology Team at BYU-Hawaii, shared composting tips for students and extended an invitation for them to take care of the environment.
James Bradley Minton, a senior from California studying biology who works with SWATT, shared different ways to compost. He explained, “The way we do it mostly does not involve food waste. The purpose of food waste is to put nutrients back to the soil. The three main nutrients involved in growing produce are nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. You can get them by putting in food waste like apple cores and egg shells.”
SWATT chose a method to measure the chemicals and monitor the reaction of compost. In explanation of the model SWATT selected, Minton said, “For our nitrogen source, we, in the past used ammonia, which had positive and negative effects because it’s not all nitrogen.” Another source to compost is phosphorus and potassium. Minton shared, “We use a yeast substance that would not only provide the nutrients but also help break it down.”
The substance can be found at Ace Hardware and is placed into septic tanks to break down the matter and soil for planting. The last source is sugar, which provides nutrients and helps with breakdown of compost. Minton added, “We used the Aloha cans of juice because they are cheap and made out of actual sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup. You can use corn syrup, but we just chose to use the actual cane sugar.”
SWATT mixes these three ingredients into a spray bottle, attaches it to a hose, then soaks a mixture of mulch and grass clippings, Minton explained. He said, “The grass clippings are great because they provide tons of nitrogen, which is good for growing leafy greens, such as cabbage and lettuce.” Minton said is committed to being more environmentally conscious, “Not that I can change the world completely on my own, but I can do small things to make the world better.”
“There’s tons of different problems that are hurting the world, but you can try and do your own. We do so much research. In the topic of compost, we were just learning about biodigesters,” shared Emmalee Buss, a senior from Wyoming studying biology who has worked for SWATT for around a year.
Sei Kuwahara, a freshman from Japan studying business, is in the process of making his own biodigester. In addition, Minton said, a company successful with bio digesting can cook using energy gas harvested from food waste. Talking about the SWATT program on campus, Buss said, “We need a lot of help. We’re also still learning. If students already know about this, they can share their knowledge with us. We’re really good in providing hands-on experience to people who want to know pretty much anything.”
Ezrym Ellis, a freshman from New Zealand, studying exercise and sports science and TESOL, said taking care of the Earth is an important responsibility. Ellis shared, “From the Maori perspective, in our culture, we respect the Earth. It’s an opportunity to respect what’s been given. This land is really important to us, to Maori. We have to treasure that gift.”
Buss said, “It’s a work in progress where we are the ones who help to make our Earth a paradise. It’s not just going to happen and expect God to change it in a blink of an eye. We are going to be planting, making gardens and renewing the Earth to make it beautiful. We are responsible for the resources here. “God provided all of these resources to us so that we would have fuel and so He expects us to use it but He expects us to use it wisely,”