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The alarming rise of microplastics in the tissues of fish and human organs has led to serious consideration of reducing single-use plastic bags worldwide. Tons of plastic waste plagued our landfills that in turn seeped through the oceans and entered the food chain. But amidst this alarming concern, most urban areas would still use plastic bags as trash bags primarily due to convenience and availability. There is an obvious need to change the way we dispose of our garbage if we want to pursue better health and sustainable living for our families and community at large. We’ll be offering four simple tips for how to dispose of household garbage without plastic!
Three, Simple Tips for How to Dispose of Household Garbage Without Plastic
There is wisdom in the old adage of separating wastes from each kind. With segregation comes thousands of creative ways to pack our garbage without using plastic bags (plus, they do not smell bad when properly segregated).
In a study of household waste composition in Dehradun City, India, they found out that food waste or kitchen waste consists of most waste at home (around 80%). Food waste is any discarded or uneaten part of the food that is typically considered trash – they are also known as food scraps.
Other waste compositions include polyethylene plastic (around 7%), paper (6%), glass/ceramic scrap (1%), and miscellaneous items such as clothes, silt, dirt, rubber (4%).
If you have the same garbage composition at home, this is where composting bins would genuinely be in handy. Composting bins are materials where biodegradable materials such as food scraps are being placed to decompose and used as garden fertilizer. It comes in different sizes and types, indoors or outdoors, depending on your purpose and space availability in your area.
If you live in a condo or small apartment without the luxury of space, you may use a portable indoor compost bin. Instead of buying, you may reuse old storage containers or glass jars with lids as composting bins. You may have to put several holes at the bottom for storage containers and elevate it from the ground at least 1 inch. You may use them to store vegetable or fruit peels with water to make a compost tea for glass jars.
If space is not a concern and you have a backyard, you may fabricate composting tumblers. They can be made from iron or plastic drums ranging that can load 20 liters or even up to 50 liters in capacity. Compost tumblers can be rotated to facilitate the decomposition of trash. You can practically put all biodegradable materials in your house in this vast container.
It would be wise to invest in suitable materials for this purpose since composting bins can reduce food waste by up to 100%.
Depending on the country you live in, grocery bags can be made from different materials such as plastic bags, kraft papers, or eco-bags. Most of them will end up in the landfills underutilized. To fully utilized them, reuse them as trash bins or as trash bin liners. However, make sure that the wet garbage or compostable materials are already separated and are thrown into the composting bins.
Some grocery bags and shopping bags are made from fabric. They are called eco-bags. Ecobags are reusable bags and are sturdier in materials than grocery paper bags or plastic bags. You may use them as recycling bins for your recyclable waste materials such as paper, tin cans, and bottles (either plastic or glass). An eco-bag for each kind will do. Be sure they are washed and dried before putting them in the bag to avoid cockroaches or mice luring in. If there is a junkshop near you, you may sell your recyclable materials to them.
Eco-Friendly Trash Cans
Eco-friendly trash cans are made from a biodegradable and renewable source of raw materials with a minimal carbon footprint. Others, such as plastic bins, are also sturdy but are made from petroleum products and non-biodegradable materials, which could be later harmful to the environment when thrown into landfills.
Some of the available eco-friendly rubbish bins are,
Sometimes when you buy stuff in bulk from the grocery or hardware, they often come in boxes. Instead of discarding these boxes, use them as trash bins. Boxes can be used directly without plastic bags as linings. They can also easily be carried or transported to the leading disposal site.
Boxes are also great for electronic wastes such as batteries, old CDs, laptops, personal computers, etc. When you have compiled enough electronic wastes, you can send them to pick-up points like participating malls or bring them to a certified e-waste recycling center.
Jute sacks are made from natural fibers that are highly compostable. They are also waterproof and sturdy types of material. In the real sense of the word, jute sacks are the original compost trash bags. While they are very sturdy, they can decompose through time. Jute sacks as eco-friendly bins can be very stylish and organic.
Bamboo or Wooden Trash Bins
This type of sturdy and indigenous materials are suitable substitutes for large plastic containers such as wheelie bins. Using bamboo or wood, you may fabricate a wheelie bin in the size and shape you want and coat it with epoxy clear or resin to make it waterproof. If you are really up to the challenge, match it up with compostable trash bags as bin liners.
Paper Wastes as Bin Liners
Sometimes it is very tempting to use plastic bags as it is hard to use a trash bin without a lining. Instead of throwing your junk mails or old monthly subscription magazines, why not use them as an alternative trash bin liner? Simply paste them together as one big piece of paper or a paper bag, and voila, a biodegradable trash bin lining. This will reduce paper waste at home and help reduce the use of plastic bags as trash bin linings.
Four Basic Principles for How to Dispose of Household Garbage Without Plastic
Repair, Reuse and Recycle – The Circular Economy of Zero Waste Society
The circular economy of waste management aims to eliminate waste in the production and consumption of products. It is a paradigm shift from the linear economy, a process of production, consumption, and then disposal. In a circular economy, products are made to be easily repaired or used to suit another purpose instead of ending up in landfills.
The circular economy promotes the repair, reuse, and recycling of materials. Repair is when we fix our stuff to extend its use. Reuse means utilizing the same object for an extended period. And recycling is making something new out of the old stuff. An example of a circular economy at home is when you repair your jeans, you may use them for other purposes (i.e., recycle), for instance, a compost bin. After it has become so worn out, you may use it as potting material or seedbeds for your plants instead of throwing it. In this way, no plastic container will be thrown into the landfills.
Reduce if you do not want to refuse.
Unless we are not ready to refuse humongous sales of clothes or grocery items, be prepared to reduce your waste by carefully thinking of things you need or choosing environment-friendly packaging. It probably would not hurt having only one multi-purpose rubber shoe or bag.
BYO container when you buy stuff
Bringing your own (BYO) container is widely being promoted nowadays but still has a meager public compliance rate. I have attended quite a few seminars and conferences that have asked participants to bring their drinking bottles to reduce disposable cups. And even at the professional level, there is still a handful that needs to be reminded.
In our ways, we can integrate B.Y.O.container in our purchasing practice. That fish or meat sold in the market would probably fit in one of your ice cream containers at home. You may also want to buy in bulk from the supermarket to lessen the packaging. Also, keep those plastic packaging with thick microns. They will come in handy the next time you shop or go to the supermarket.
Single-use plastics can only be used once. These lightweight plastics have flooded our landfills and oceans simply because they cannot be reused since they are either too thin (less than 50 microns) or, in the case of plastic straws, they are unsanitary to be reused.
Some single-use plastic bags have green label tags stating it is ‘biodegradable.’ However, being a biodegradable trash bag in the context of plastic use is not safe at all. Biodegradable or ‘oxo-degradable means they can easily be broken down into small pieces as small as micro-units. However, they are never decomposed, unlike the compostable trash bag made from cornstarch or any food raw material. Biodegradable trash bags can do more harm than good to our health and the environment because of the microns of plastics they produce that can enter our bodies and the bodies of marine living organisms.
As much as possible, bring your eco-bags where you can directly put your items or replace plastic straws with your metal or paper straws. For unavoidable plastic food packaging with thick microns, you may wash them, cut them into pieces, and use them as fillers for your new bean bags.
The points above are just ideas or suggestions on how you could replace and reduce your plastic trash bags at home. You can be more creative than this. The challenge is to shift to a plastic-free lifestyle. This cannot be achieved at once, but with little steps and a laser-focused goal, it is possible. Who knows, you could bring the whole community to share the vision of a plastic-free neighborhood.