Unfortunately we all produce waste. It of course depends on how aware we are of the problem and how much we act upon it, but the waste has to go somewhere, right?
In India, there is relatively small fee that we have to pay for the waste management. A person, usually called a rag picker comes to our house to collect the garbage and here the story finishes for us. It is so simple, the waste just goes AWAY. But the real story of waste starts actually when it leaves our homes.
When it is collected, it has to be segregated, transported; some of it is recycled, and some finishes at the land fields. However, for all these steps, we need energy like gas, water, electricity for transporting and recycling; machines, human labour and much more. How can all these expenses be covered within an approximate 100 rupees fee per household?
However, environment and waste managers are the one who pay for our waste. Because there is no proper system of segregation and management, most of the waste ends up in the land fields. For example, kitchen waste could simply be composted, but it requires a huge land or a composting machine. There is a need of investment, which in the end, benefits everyone. The composting soil is the best soil for gardening or it can be transformed to a bio gas.
Recycling is another story. Recycling industry has to cover the cost of energy and in the same time, it has to be enough profitable to stay in business. In the non-organized sector, we quickly get to a system of “mafia” where the Big one takes up the majority of the share and the Small ones continue to live on the bottom line of our society.
As I have been more involved in the waste management for the last couple of months, I have figured out one thing – The richer we are, more waste we produce and less we want to pay for our waste. To get more specific, I am talking about restaurants which Vatavaran has visited. The most of the waste present in these restaurants is kitchen waste and as I have mentioned above, there are very simple solutions to maintain/reuse it in the right way. Still, it seems to be too big of a project, too much investment but truly I feel it is more about a lack of interest. In the same time, these same restaurants want to be promoted as zero waste and eco friendly. Giving AWAY the waste is the common responsibility that they have and once again, it is just a green washing. A usual practice is to be promoted as a “green”, while you are actually not doing anything in that direction. Hopefully, costumers nowadays are enough aware that a clean parking place and friendly environment do not mean being zero waste or eco-friendly.
What about you? Is there also a lack of interest just because the waste goes away and it is not your problem anymore? Do you actually know where your waste ends?
We can blame the government or society but actually, we are all responsible for the waste which we produce. Don’t you think it is time to do something about it?
Truly, as it was said so many times – Wasting your waste is such a waste!
The steps below perfectly work for individuals as well for small companies and businesses and it will help you to responsibly take care of your own waste:
1.Segregate your waste (Segregate your kitchen waste from recyclables). For the beginning it is enough if you segregate dry and wet waste and in that way ensure that materials like paper will not be destroyed and they can later on be recycled.
2.Take care of your kitchen waste and start composting. Composting can be such an excellent hobby and the compost can be used for your home gardening. For example Dailydump.org is providing composting solutions for all of us who do not have enough space at home. It is even possible to do it indoor! The other solution is to contact a local farmer who can use it to feed the animals or to enrich the quality of soil.
3.Recyclable materials like paper, plastic, metal or even your old stuffs that you do not need any more – make sure that they go to the right hands and they will be actually recycled! One of a good examples is a start-up E-kabadi.com who will come to your home, collect your recyclables and actually pay you for it! Of course, you have to make sure that these items are clean and segregated. The service is done by the app system.
4.The last step is probably the most difficult one – changing your habits and not using the items which cannot be recycled. For example, sanitary waste as children diapers and women sanitary napkins – you have to replace them with more sustainable solutions like cloth diapers and pads or a menstrual cup (check the online shop www.hygieneandyou.com). Plastic bags for example are usually not recycled as well – start using a reusable one! Check your garbage bin and you will quickly recognize what can be replaced.
With only 4 steps you can actually make sure that none of your waste will finish at the land filed and be wasted. Believe me, it is worth it!
And there is one more step for you! Changing ourselves is not enough! It is a perfect start but it is important to spread the word and take action! To change everything we need everyone. Let’s do it!
Member of Vatavaran team