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Posted by Royal Sundaram on 30 Mar 2011
Understand what your garbage consists of
Any day, your garbage will have the following things :
- Leftover food
- Vegetable/Fruit peels
- Waste Paper
- Polythene bags
- Broken plastic
- Aluminium foil
- Used cosmetic bottles
Environmentalists divide household garbage into –
- Perishable items which ultimately will rot – Such as vegetable/fruit peels, leftover food, used tea leaves, coffee grounds, egg shells, dried leaves, etc. Also referred as organic waste.
- Imperishable items which can be reused by recycling – Such as plastics, paper, polythene bags, broken glass jars, aluminium foil, etc.
- Imperishable items which cannot by reused in anyway – Such as rubber, cloth pieces, wood pieces (covered with paint), etc.
90 – 95% of your garbage falls into the first 2 categories.
What happens to your garbage after it leaves your home and how it affects the environment
99% of garbage is dumped in landfills. Your home’s garbage might seem a very small quantity. But imagine 6 billion times of it! That’s the quantity being dumped everyday!
Once dumped in landfills –
- Organic wastes undergo slow decomposition, releasing Methane. It is a greenhouse gas which cause global warming (average increase in temperature of planet).
- Most imperishable items lie in landfills for years together. Polythene bag you dump today would remain there even 100 years from now.
- Plastics and polythene bags often get buried in the soil, and prevent rain water from mixing with the groundwater.
- Garbage pollutes groundwater, wastes the soil, and makes the air around it smell filthy. It’s a hazard to people living around it.
Believe it or not, your garbage actually contributes to global warming and pollution.
What you could do to help the environment –
Step 1 – Segregate your garbage…or simply use 3 different dustbins – one for all the organic wastes, one for items which can be recycled and a third one for items which has to be discarded.
Step 2 – Compost the organic wastes. All you have to do is –
- Dig a 1 m3 hole in your backyard, or garden. Any empty space would do!
- Put all your organic wastes into it and cover with a thin layer of soil. Don’t put meat, bones, fish, oil, or paper into it.
- Keep adding your daily garbage and cover with soil. It has to be kept moist, so water once in a while.
If you compost, the end product of organic garbage is humus, which looks and feels like soil. It is a natural fertilizer for your plants.
There are NO greenhouse gases released in atmosphere because of composting!
Step 3 – Collect paper, old bottles, broken plastic dabbas, polythene bags to your kabadiwallah. He’d pass it on for recycling. 1 tonne of paper recycled saves 17 trees, 1,436 Litres of oil, 26,460 Litres of water and 4,000 kW of electricity.
Step 4 – Find a recycler in your city, especially for recycling glass and aluminium. You’d be surprised to find the number of companies, online, who’d be willing to offer you a solution.
If you can find like minded people in your neighbourhood, you can collectively hire a person to take care of these jobs!
As you’ve seen, you can reduce 90% of your garbage. If the entire city segregates their garbage, 90% of the land occupied by it, can be utilised.
So to help curb global warming and thus save the planet, start with your garbage! Be Mother Earth’s Superman!
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