The Organic Fertilizer Company Ltd, West Point, Newspaper article 1936

Many thanks to IDJ for sending in this article. As he says, a company ahead of its time!

HF: The article was pretty legible but I thought I would retype it anyway. Any further information about, or image of the company would be very useful.

Organic Fertilizer Co. Headlines B HK Sunday Herald 23.8.36 IDJ

There has recently been started in Hong Kong an industry which should prove of enormous eventual benefit to the community in the agricultural production of the Colony. Down at West Point is the factory of the Organic Fertilizer Co. Ltd. where, under the watchful eye of Mr. G. Stanley Lovett, Managing Director, the garbage – or, at present, a portion of it – from the streets of Hong Kong is converted into a perfect organic soil fertiliser, every element necessary to the healthy growth of plants, and from which every form of harmful bacteria has been eliminated.

The process is the outcome of 30 years’ intensive study of the subject by Dr. George H. Earp-Thomas, long recognised as one of the world foremost soil bacteriologists. Until the experiments of Dr. Earp-Thomas, in his efforts to produce the perfect organic fertiliser, were crowned with success, methods of soil treatment in general practice had been merely an expedient, merely stimulating, not preserving and restoring the soil. Certain of the synthetic fertilisers used actually tend to destroy the beneficial bacteria in the soil; constant cropping, with the aid of artificial stimulants, helps to exhaust the organic matter and turn it into more or less sterile dust. There is little doubt that the constant use, over a period of years, of these fertilisers is largely responsible for the creation of soil conditions which made possible the recent appalling disaster in Dakota, U.S.A., when half the top soil of the State was carried away by the wind.

Soil Building

Nature’s process in the building of loam, that part of the soil on which all plants depend for their healthy growth, is a slow one, taking about two years to complete, all waste matter being gradually decomposed and, by the action of bacteria, broken up into its original elements, which are thus made available as food for new plant-growth. The process developed by Dr. Earp-Thomas completes, in 18 hours, what takes Nature many hundred times as long. By his process, organic rubbish, such as city garbage, market waste, sewage sludge, or other material is decomposed by bacterial action to an earth-like consistency and then inoculated with beneficial soil bacteria.

The Factory

A representative of the Sunday Herald was shown over the Company’s works by the Managing Director, Mr. Lovett, who, it should be noted, took a special 6 months’ course of instruction under Dr. Earp-Thomas before starting the industry in China. The process is already in active operation in the United States, the garbage of several large towns being thus converted into future agricultural wealth. Mr. Lovett’s Company hold the sole rights of the process for the Republic of China, Hong Kong, the Philippines and the Dutch East Indies. in all of which countries it is fully protected by patents.

The Process

The first process, after the carts have delivered the refuse to the factory, is to sort it over and remove all stones, broken glass or crockery and metal. It then goes through a grinding machine, which reduces it to a fine consistency, after which it is ready for bacterialisation. One ounce of these special bacteria, mixed with a certain quantity of sterilised soil, is added to each ton of the milled refuse, which is then fed gradually into a tank containing eight floors, on each of which is a series of plough blades, set at an angle, rotates about a central axis. These blades are set at opposite angles on each alternate floor of the tank, the material being thus gradually loved inwards or outwards on each floor until it drops through holes on to the floor below.

Bacteria

The bacteria, in their activity, generate intense heat, which increases up to 180 deg. F., at which temperature they die. The speed of the rotating blades is regulated according to the temperature shown by the thermometers on the various floors, being hastened or retarded as necessary, so that perfect decomposition has been effected by the time the material is ready to be discharged from the lowest floor of the tank. It then has the appearance of rich, black loam and has the scent of fresh, wet earth.
The next process is to add to it a small quantity of nitrogen-producing bacteria – about one ounce to the ton – and a proportion of natural minerals, and the perfect organic fertiliser, aptly named Organo, is ready to be bagged and supplied to the consumer.

What It Does

It has been proved beyond the possibility of doubt that this material is, and does, all that is claimed for it. It is an organic fertiliser that restores to the soil nutritive elements that have been taken from it over a period of time; it corrects the effects of the over-use of acid fertilisers; it increases fertility by creating a medium favourable to the increase of soil organisms; it is inoculated with bacteria which enhance fertility; it can be added to the soil at any season of the year and used in any quantity without possibility of harm. Its last, but not least, recommendation is that it can be produced at about half the cost of the chemical fertilisers to which it is so vastly superior.

Source: Hong Kong Sunday Herald 23rd August 1936.

This article was first posted on 23rd September 2020.

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