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Segregate your garbage. Save the planet!

Posted by Royal Sundaram on 30 Mar 2011

What’s the relation between your home’s garbage and global warming? Let’s connect the dots in this article.





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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