The balcony of Lyn Naismith’s three-bedroom apartment on the 20th floor of the Rimal 2 tower at Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR) is starting to teem with Chinese jade.
Nothing unusual in that – except that the plants grow on compost collected from her kitchen waste.
“Most people can’t believe it’s possible (to do home composting in a high-rise). They are concerned about the stench or vermin,” said the mother of two. But there is no stench and no vermin, stressed Naismith, who uses the Japanese Bokashi composting system.
Saving up on waste
The Naismiths moved from Melbourne to Dubai two years ago. Last year they started collecting egg shells, citrus, banana peelings – anything organic – and covered them with a special bran that accelerates decomposition in a 20-litre bin under their kitchen sink. After three weeks, she re-tops her pot plants including daisies, palm, vines, scindapsus and spathiphyllum with home-made compost.
“For the people who are doing recycling at home, this is the logical next step,” she said.
Naismith’s Chinese jades were given to her by a friend who originally took them from old villas torn down to give way to the JBR towers where they now live. The numbers are growing.
More than 250 homes in Dubai now use the Bokashi composting system, mostly in villas, said Janine Sheard, who introduced it to the UAE. Cost is the main downside: A small Bokashi system bin costs Dh360, including the Dh80 bag of composting bran. But people who use it save on the cost of buying compost and garbage bags, she pointed out.
But more people like Naismith are doing it in high-rises. Rukhsana Kausar, a British businesswoman, is another composting convert. She collects vegetable peelings, teabags, coffee grounds, cooking leftovers and even meat bones in her big composting boxes which she keeps in the terrace of their fourth floor apartment in Dubai’s Motor City. Kausar swears by the quality of the compost and can’t wait to grow her own organic vegetables. “I will certainly continue composting in the UAE as it has become part of my lifestyle. If I move out of the UAE, I will take my Bokashi bins with me,” said Kausar.
Jay B. Hilotin
Gulf News Xpress
20 January 2011