It's hard not to be overwhelmed by all the bad news we are bombarded with daily. And, when it comes to topics you can't do anything about, we recommend going on the news fasting. However, since enhanced global warming and pollution are the two major issues of this century, we ought to focus on these topics. Though, the trick is to take the concerning facts as a motivation to implement the necessary changes in our lifestyles. So, the management of household waste deserves your attention more than ever before. And, please keep in mind that your actions count. We all make a difference and can all spark positive change in how others manage their waste. As such, proper management of household waste is a place where individuals can and must start to make an impact.
What is household waste?
If you want to start implementing proper management of household waste, you first need to know what household waste is. So, let's look at it word by word. A household is a house or an apartment whose occupants are regarded as a unit. On the other hand, waste (as a noun) represents all unwanted or unusable material, substances, or by-products. Essentially, waste represents all materials and substances that we discharge.
Now, we can put the two words together, and we get a definition of household waste - all material and substances discharged by the occupants of a house or an apartment. Of course, like any other waste, household waste also comes in various forms. The most common types of household waste are:
- plastics and packaging (cartons, cans, etc.),
- paper, and
- kitchen waste (also known as organic waste).
The above-listed household waste types should be separately collected and properly disposed of (recycling). For this to function, every household must do its part due diligently. Moreover, municipal waste collecting companies or organizations must also ensure that this waste is then properly processed. Furthermore, there are other types of household waste, such as batteries, electronics, apparel, and others; however, these types are not everyday waste. However, it's still important to collect and dispose of them properly. In this case, you might need to take some extra steps, as municipal containers for non-everyday waste are usually not that common.
So, now that you know what household waste is, we are able to dive into the management of household waste. Let's start with some shocking facts.
Poor management of household waste has severe consequences
Here are some shocking facts regarding household waste:
- Households across the globe discharge more than two billion tons of waste every year. That's more than 60 tons of household waste every second.
- As the global population increases, so does the amount of household waste. However, the rate of increase is about two times higher for waste. Accounting for the current prediction models, we can expect the amount of household waste to increase by 70 % by 2050, which will result in 3.4 billion tons of household waste per year. Hence, it's extremely important to implement proper management of household waste now to prevent horrific consequences in the years to come.
- In addition to the household waste produced as part of everyday human food consumption, there's a lot more food waste further up the food supply chain. As a matter of fact, for every bag of household waste, there is approximately an equivalent of 70 bags of waste produced during the inefficient food extraction and production processes.
- The most household waste still ends up in landfills or waste incendiaries. And both of these alternatives are very bad for the environment. This is especially true for plastics and organic waste. The first one takes hundreds of years to decompose while releasing toxic chemicals. The latter emits methane as it rots, which is 25 times more potent in enhancing the greenhouse effect than CO2. On the other hand, burning waste releases dioxins, which are extremely toxic and greatly contribute to air pollution. On that note, let's point out that there were 6,3770,449 deaths due to air pollution in 2022 alone.
- CO2 emissions alone are also huge issues - collectively, we've released more than 30,883,863,085 tons into our atmosphere just in 2022, and there are still about 80 days left in this year.
Management of household waste basics
By this point, you probably agree that household waste is a huge problem when not properly managed. And, unfortunately, we've only started to take recycling seriously in the last decade or so. Though, there are still many cities and even countries where the majority of household waste ends up in landfills. However, to make the necessary shift on the municipal level, we must first implement proper management of household waste on a household level. So, what should you do in your home?
- Make sure you properly (separately) collect each of the above-mentioned waste types, including your organic waste.
- Never collect your organic waste in plastic bags.
- Start using quality indoor composting bins, such as Bokashi Organko Essential, to convert your organic waste into new resources in the comfort of your kitchen.
- Buy food and other home supplies that use minimalistic or no packaging.
- Never go grocery shopping without a list.
- Make sure to have your food properly organized so that you don't waste any of it.
- Focus on electronic payments and subscribe to digital billing to save on paper.
- Mark your mailbox with the "no fliers" sticker to reduce paper waste.
- Subscribe to digital news instead of physical newspapers.
- Consider creating your own organic soaps and detergents to reduce your plastic waste.
- Repurpose your hard containers and recycle the rest.
- Always collect hazardous waste (batteries, electronics, etc.) properly and dispose of it in designated containers.
- Recycle your apparel waste. Many apparel stores offer programs where they are willing to take in your old clothes. Though, you should first consider donating your old clothes.
- Follow the above guidelines and do the best you can to get other members of your community to follow these guidelines as well.
Thank you for being a responsible earthling and implementing proper management of household waste!