In recent years, with the increase in the amount of waste that is being produced, the importance of recycling this waste has gone up as well. Much of our planet, land and oceans alike are getting converted into junkyards of the human population. Recycling is when we convert some of this waste into new and useful products, so we don’t dump all of it into our environment. By doing so, not only is the waste generated reduced considerably, but it also leads to less consumption of energy and resources in general.
Since a huge amount of this waste is being generated in our homes, the recycling starts from our own home as well. This ensures that each household will contribute towards saving the environment, rather than externalizing the responsibility to the government or the municipalities or the residential associations or someone else.
- Benefits of Recycling the Waste
- Think Twice About Your Trash
- Waste Segregation
- How Do You Segregate Waste?
- Classification of Waste
- Sources of Wastes
- Recycling Waste at Home
- Conclusion – Helping the Environment
Benefits of Recycling the Waste
There are numerous benefits of recycling waste. Broadly, some of them include
- Preventing millions of tons of waste from finding their way into landfills that not only occupy large amounts of land but also pollute the environment.
- Prevents air and water pollution.
- Reduces the amount of energy that is consumed in the production of new materials.
- Reduces the emission of greenhouse gases.
- Conserves the natural resources of the Earth in the form of raw materials.
- Studies have shown that recycling of waste creates far more jobs than conventional waste management does. Thus, employment opportunities increase as well.
Think Twice About Your Trash
One of the major reasons why recycling waste is still not strictly implemented in some parts of the country and the world as a whole is because a lot of people are unaware of the disasters of not recycling the waste and the huge irreversible damage that it has on the environment. Coming from all the landfills that our waste goes in, there are very harmful toxins, leachate and greenhouse gases which have the capacity of destroying the planet in the long run. If the planet has to self-sustain over the next centuries, it is imperative to put into place a proactive recycling plan. While some countries have done well in terms of banning plastics, a lot more needs to be done by each and every country and body and household on the planet. Here are a few facts and figures to emphasize the state of affairs with respect to recycling waste, in the world today:
- One of the major reasons why soil gets polluted is due to the presence of landfills. Almost 80% of the waste that is dumped in landfills could have actually been recycled.
- 9/10th of all the solid waste generated in the United States does not end up getting recycled.
- By recycling a single plastic bottle, you are saving up enough energy to light a 100-watt bulb for roughly 4 hours.
- On a yearly basis, at least 11 million tons of recyclable materials in terms of shoes, textile and clothing make their way into landfills.
- In the USA alone, every year, recyclable containers worth $11.4 million is just discarded into the landfills rather than recycling them.
- The energy that is consumed in order to make 1.5 million tons of plastic can be reused to power roughly 250,000 homes.
- The oceans today contain 25 trillion pieces of plastic debris that could have been recycled had it been disposed of in the right way.
- Our everyday choice of products makes a big difference. For example, the microbeads present in our cosmetic products have been a disaster for the planet already.
The first step towards recycling waste starts at your home with the process of waste segregation. Waste segregation is nothing but the separating of waste into two main bifurcations, mainly wet waste and dry waste. This is done so that the wet waste can be used as compost while the dry waste can be easily recycled.
The main reason why segregation of waste is so important is that this reduces the amount of waste that finds its way into landfills. It also makes the processes of composting, recycling as well as incineration a lot easier.
How Do You Segregate Waste?
A common dilemma that a lot of people face is that even though they want to segregate their waste, they are quite confused about how to go about doing so. Here are some quick tips that you can follow while segregating your waste:
- Separate your household waste into two parts – wet and dry waste.
- In the dry waste category, keep two bags: one for paper and the other for plastic.
- You should make sure that any plastic packaging of foodstuffs is washed cleanly and then put into the bag marked plastic. Also, any plastic and glass containers that were used to store food must be rinsed before chucking it into the bag.
- Ensure that the wet waste is collected from your home on a daily basis. On the other hand, the dry waste can be collected once or twice a week depending on the quantity of waste collected.
- Dispose of your sanitary or medical waste in a separate paper bag.
- Form a community in your colony or apartment building which is responsible for waste management and segregation. Explain the importance of segregating waste to them. Make sure that the staff of the apartment also realize the importance of doing so.
- You can even contact the local scrap dealer to pick your dry waste once a week in case of the Municipal Corporation failing to do so.
Classification of Waste
Broadly, there are 3 types of waste on the basis of the physical state. These include:
1. Solid Wastes
As the name suggests, this includes all the solid wastes that are discarded by the society. These include industrial wastes, biomedical wastes, urban waste, agricultural wastes and radioactive wastes.
2. Liquid Wastes
Wastes that are generated as a byproduct of washing, manufacturing processes of industries and sewage is classified as liquid wastes.
3. Gaseous Wastes
These wastes are generally released into the atmosphere and are a result of gases from automobiles, burning of fossil fuels and harmful gases released from factories such as Sulphur and other greenhouse gases.
Sources of Wastes
Thus, there are different sources that produce these wastes. Common sources include:
1. Municipal Wastes
Wastes that are collected from residences, markets and the streets are classified as municipal or urban wastes. The materials that form a bulk of municipal waste are clothes, plastic, paper, glass, metals and other organic matter that is more specifically generated by households.
2. Industrial Wastes
These wastes are generated from chemical plants, industries, factors and other power plants. They can either produce hazardous wastes such as toxic metals, chemicals, drugs and dye or non-hazardous wastes such as cotton, paper and other by-products.
3. Commercial Wastes
Commercial wastes are the waste that is generated from hotels, commercial complexes, hospitals and marketplaces. They form the bulk of the waste that is generated.
Waste is also classified as biodegradable and non-biodegradable. Biodegradable wastes are those that can be recycled and decompose eventually while non-biodegradable wastes are those that day centuries to deteriorate and decompose.
Recycling Waste at Home
It is true what they say about how change starts at home. Waste management and recycling are no different. Start small, and start at home. Here are some ways in which you can practice recycling at home:
1. Donate items you no longer use
If you have old clothing, electronic gadgets, utensils etc. that you no longer use but are in decent shape, rather than throwing them in the trash, donate it to someone who cannot afford it. You can donate it to orphanages, schools or even recycling facilities.
2. Reuse durable containers
Containers that you use to store food, bottles, boxes and bags can be used multiple times before you have to actually discard it into the trash. Use containers that are food-grade in order to store leftovers and other dry foodstuffs. Also collective we all need to avoid using single-use products and plastics.
3. Disposing of hazardous wastes
Hazardous wastes such as batteries, paint, light bulbs and other electronic gadgets cannot be recycled nor can they be reused. In such a scenario, it is important to dispose of them in the right way. Make sure that you are disposing of them in a manner that they get handled at a hazardous waste facility. Chemicals wastes pose a great hazard for our environment and need to be handled sensitively.
4. Practice composting
Composting is the process of recycling wet waste that is discarded at home. Making a compost pit is in fact quite easy. Every apartment complex can build one compost pit which will go a long way in segregation as well as the recycling of wastes.
Conclusion – Helping the Environment
Recycling your wastes thus have a large impact on the environment and the world on the whole. Here are some of the outcomes of practicing recycling and segregation of wastes:
- Recycling wastes will lead to about 80% of the landfills that are found today, disappear. This will clear out land for infrastructure, which in turn will lead to the development of the city as everyday products contain avoidable plastic.
- Recycling and waste management will ensure that the differential energy consumed in making that product will be reduced from anywhere between 40% to 90% which is a pretty significant number.
- Natural resources such as paper, wood, metals and glass are depleted at a slower rate.
- Recycling goes a long way in reducing the pollution of air, soil and even water.
- Recycling saves money, for both manufacturers as well as consumers.
All in all, recycling and waste segregation are important to waste management processes that contribute towards a greener and healthier Earth.