Meet our Green Star, Himkaar Singh! Himkaar Singh’s journey into the composting of organic waste was borne out of his experience working with farmers while doing water research. During his international MSc in Integrated Water Resource Management in Germany, Vietnam and Jordan, Himkaar realised that the soil is the most important component in the water cycle.
How did the iCompost composting solution come into existence – and how has it impacted your life?
In 2017 South Africa was experiencing major water scarcity issues, so I left the country to study a Masters in Water Management in Germany, Vietnam and Jordan for five months each – to get different perspectives on what the solution could be.
I found that we needed to repair our damaged soil’s ability to hold water by returning organic matter back to the soil. I thought the best way to do that was through a business model, so I then returned to SA to start a food waste recycling business with a larger vision of regenerative agriculture, which would eventually lead South Africa to water security.
I believe that our food waste should be composted at our own homes which also helps us enrich our own soils. The simplest way to compost food scraps at home is to have a compost heap in the garden, but most people are looking for a solution which has no odour, no flies, no vermin and no mess. I believe that if we can make composting so convenient that it can be done at the touch of a button, more people will take it up. I think technology is the solution.
Our product ‘iCompost’ uses technology to turn your food waste into compost at the touch of a button. All you have to do is put your kitchen scraps into the machine every day, press START, and when you wake up in the morning you will have rich compost that you can use in your plants.
If you had a theme song, what would it be?
Imagine – John Lennon
What is the biggest risk you’ve ever taken?
I quit my well-paying and promising engineering job to study a Masters in Integrated Water Resource Management overseas with the intention of finding a solution to SA’s water problems. It was not logical to quit at that time, but I felt it was what I needed to do.
If Mars were liveable, would you accept a one way ticket there?
No, I have several big things to work on first
If you were given one thousand acres of land what would you do with it?
Grow a ‘food forest’ – a forest with a bountiful supply of edible plants
Are you more of a hunter or a gatherer?
How many pairs of shoes do you own?
2 – work and play
How did you celebrate when you found out you’d made the Forbes list?
I cooked a wonderful meal for my wife
If we came to your house for dinner, what would you prepare for us?
Pizza on a gluten free base with vegan cheese and organic grown toppings
How would people communicate in a perfect world?
The way we communicate currently is already the way it should be, and therefore perfect already
When you have 30 minutes of free time – how do you pass it?
I read books or do meditation
If you woke up to 300 unread emails, how would you prioritise which ones to answer?
I glance through the subjects and judge which are easiest to answer and do those first.
Where do you go and what do you do to find peace and recharge?
Nature allows me to rest, and meditation, yoga and reading give me peace. I find researching a topic I’m interested in at the time gives me a lot of energy.
If you could know the absolute answer to one question, what question would you ask?
What is electricity?
If you could write one new law that everybody had to obey, what would it be?
We cannot throw organic waste in the bin – it must be returned to the soil
What, if anything, have you ever re-gifted?
Coffee because I don’t drink it
What is the most interesting thing you have seen or read this week?
I am currently researching the impact of corticosteroids on the hypothalamus and am amazed at how perfectly the body works, but disappointed at how we are ill-informed/deceived on the impact of medicines on the body in the name of health.
What skill or craft would you like to master?
I would like to master health – be feeling perfect body health everyday
If you could dedicate your life to solving one problem, what would it be?
My life has always been about water so I would like to solve water security issues for South Africa.