September 3, 2021
September 3, 2021
Never Say Goodbye to Byproduct
"Mottainai" is a Japanese word introduced to the world by Wangari Muta Maathai, who was the first African female to win the Nobel Peace Prize for the environmental field in 2004. This word can be translated in English as "wasteful", and implies a sense of regret that something useful is left unused or wasted. She somehow felt a sense of care for nature and things implied in the word and was very impressed by it.
I originally enjoyed wearing old clothes and making collages out of discarded magazines and flyers. When I joined Satake, I learned that rice was harvested from the paddy field and went through many processes until it was ready to be eaten on the table. But the negative side were the byproducts produced in the process. This made me realize that rice could be truly "mottainai". When I visited a rice mill in India some time later, I saw that the rice husk was burned to ashes to be used as bricks, and the rice bran was used as fertilizer for agriculture. I learned from this customer that there was not a single part of rice that was being wasted .
After returning from this business trip, I purchased a home-use rice milling machine called Satake Magic Mill. I heard from my senior employee that rice bran could be used as a bathing powder, so that day I milled brown rice and put the rice bran into a tea pack and tried it. It made my skin smooth! I also roasted the rice bran and mixed it with salt to make Furikake seasoning ( a special Japanese seasoning applied to rice) to pour over cooked rice, and made pickles with rice bran paste called Nukazuke. Nukazuke needs to be stirred every day in order to maintain the balance of microorganisms active in it. It's like taking care of a pet, and it makes you feel very attached to pickles and even makes them taste better .
Also, since I started my small vegetable garden, I have been applying rice bran to the soil as a fertilizer. I learned how to make compost using rice bran, and from winter to spring, I made humus leaf mold by fermenting fallen leaves shared from a nearby temple (I did not have enough rice bran, so I got it from a coin-operated rice mill). I was impressed when the sediment heated up and steam came out. Now I use the rice bran to make kitchen waste compost (see the end of this article for an easy way to do that). In addition to rice bran as a byproduct, my family is also practicing on a small scale the cycle of composting leftover food from dinner and inedible parts of vegetables grown in the vegetable garden and returning them to soil instead of throwing them away. If we throw them away, they generate a lot of cost as well CO2. It can be a first step towards sustainability agenda any one can adapt in their home environments.
Let me introduce my actions step by step:
Step 1: Put rice bran, soil, and water in a tub in the ratio of 2:2:1, and mix well. It is best if the mixture hardens when lightly squeezed and collapses when squeezed hard.
Step 2: Put the mixture into a sandbag and close it. Store in a well ventilated place away from rain. Fermentation takes about three days in summer and one week in winter (requires heat retention).
Step 3: Loosen the contents of the sandbags.
Step 4: Put the loosened mixture into the bottom of another sandbag, and cut the dried kitchen waste* and put into the bag. Then, put the loosened mixture again on top of it until you can't see the kitchen waste anymore.
* Before this step, put the kitchen waste in a net to prevent insects from coming in, and dry it in the sun. If you use the kitchen waste that have a lot of moisture, the compost will rot. Meat and fish are also susceptible to decay.
Step 5: Twist the mouth of the sandbag and store it face down in a well ventilated place away from rain.
Step 6: Repeat step 4 and step 5. When the bag is full, remove the contents and bury them in the soil (you can use a planter). After about a month, you can use it as compost .
Hope my post helps everyone realize that anyone is capable of contributing to realization of SDGs by taking small steps towards creating a more resilient and sustainable world for the future.