Waste management is the key to living sustainably. There are so many different types of waste that we need to consider. Our goal is to minimize the amount of waste we throw away to landfills as much as possible. Landfills can't take it any longer, and we can't stand by while methane from our waste pollutes the atmosphere. So, let’s talk about managing our waste.
We want to talk about managing our waste at home first. We believe that everything we do and develops as a habit at home will permeate into other areas of our lives.
If you’re still unsure or feel lazy about waste management, let us tell you a little about waste.
We produce a lot of waste. The World Bank estimates that we create 2.1 billion tonnes of municipal waste annually. We don’t doubt that this amount will increase in the following years. No doubt that waste has grown throughout this pandemic too. One person produces about 1.6 lbs of waste on average, though the exact amount ranges from 0.1 to 10 lbs. So, as the population grows, our waste accumulation will also increase. Scientists predict that we will produce 3.4 billion tonnes of waste by 2050. The World Bank observes that 44% of our waste is plastic. We don’t need to break down how dangerous plastics are as pollutants because, indeed, you are already aware.
So, we need to act, and we need to work soon. We must seriously consider alternative options that will significantly reduce our landfill waste, and the answer is waste management. This change starts with you.
Waste management entails sorting different types of waste and depositing it in the appropriate bins, such as yellow for recycling and blue for general waste.No. Waste management is about understanding the waste you produce daily and how you can manage that waste without sending it to landfills.
We now know that we can’t rely on government alternatives. Those recycling programs with the yellow bins don’t guarantee that the management system will recycle your plastics. Only 9% of our total waste is recycled, and that’s not the worst part. The worst part is that there are no other options for dealing with plastic waste other than incineration or letting it decompose for thousands of years, emitting methane and toxic pollutants into our air and water. Our landfills also can’t take any more waste. What we are doing now is solving our issues by creating another one. What we need now is to find a solution.
So, waste management is good.
As we said, waste management is about understanding the waste you produce daily and how you can manage that waste without sending it to landfills. So, it’s almost like personalizing how you work your waste production and changing your habits to minimize the things you throw away.
Let’s go to the basics first. You would probably need an organic waste compartment, electronic waste compartment, paper waste compartment, and plastic waste compartment in a household.
Intermezzo: yes, you can still consume and use plastic, but just make sure that there are recyclables, so whatever you throw away will get recycled. Or, you can send them to local businesses that upcycle and recycle waste into their raw materials.
(P.S. we’re going to release a blog about composting soon, so stay updated!)
Next is electronic waste. Honestly, you’d be surprised at the amount of electronic waste you produce if you started managing it properly. Chargers and batteries, for example, are no longer helpful once they break or age with use. Electronic waste also includes phones, refrigerators, and laptops. We need to pay special attention to electronic waste since it can also heavily impact our health. Electronic waste contains dangerous substances such as lead, tin, silicon, and many more. These substances, if left to decompose in landfills, will gravely poison our soil. The alternative to throwing them away is to give them to businesses that will cycle your electronic waste into waste that is safe and will decompose and bio-degrade, or to companies that will recycle the electronic waste into other materials. If you live in California, you can check out this website that shows you places to recycle your e-waste!
Finally, paper waste is a problem. Paper waste is easily biodegradable and compostable. Paper is also easily recyclable. You can do almost anything with them, so you should differentiate them from other waste, so you minimize the things you throw out or don’t throw anything out at all.
But these are only the basics. You should go through your week and make a list of the waste you generate more. Is it manageable? If it isn't, can you cut back on how much you use it instead? For example, you can alternate from using menstrual pads or tampons to menstrual cups to reduce your hygiene waste.
Let’s start paying attention to your surroundings, and nature will thank you.