Investigation on sanitary napkins vermicomposting
Chua, Alicia Ming Fang.
Date of Issue2011
School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
With the rising population count, the amount of waste would too, rise. This amounting waste is already an imminent issue in Singapore. Breaking into the statistics of the amounting waste, disposable feminine sanitary napkins contributes to 275,850kg of waste that will be landfilled. Journals and reports have delved into vermicomposting human faeces and extracted compost devoid of the pathogens that plague the faeces. However, none has explored the vermicomposting of feminine sanitary napkins. If there was a solution, to not only reduce this problem, but also extract a valuable resource out of this, that would definitely be the perfect solution. This is where vermicomposting comes in. Vermicomposting provides a method to reduce the waste and at the same time, convert the waste into high quality top soil, essential in landscaping and gardening. This report aims to investigate the success rate of vermicomposting sanitary napkins, obtain the relationship between composting rate and particle size of feedstock and assess the performance of the vermicomposting bin that can be bought off the market, called the “Can-O-Worms”. In the process, vermicomposting was noted to be a fuss-free, cheap and easy to handle system, but the “Can-O-Worms” seemed to have many shortcomings that resulted in the compost being dissimilar in different portions of the bin. Another problem faced was the extraction of the worms from the compost. It was a tough and tedious process, because the migration of the worms from the first level of the bin to the second level was not successful. This posed several issues to be dealt with, like the rotting food that was left untouched on the second level and the foul smell that was starting to emit from the bin as the feedstock was decomposing. Looking at the possibility of vermicomposting sanitary napkins, the worms managed to breakdown the cotton within the napkins when it was cut up but they left the uncut sanitary napkin alone, therefore to make this a viable option, there is a need to separated the plastic and cotton before composting. The composting rate in comparison with the particle size is also observed to follow a linear relationship and the equation is plotted as shown in Chapter 4.5.
Final Year Project (FYP)
Nanyang Technological University