Waste could probably be one of the most hated words, and people want to get rid of it as soon as possible. Waste in general term means stuff that is of no use — irrespective of its nature or origin. Unfortunately, most common practice here starts with packing the waste in plastic bags and throwing it onto the rickshaws or trucks that come in the morning to pick it up. Some even do not hesitate to throw waste into the rivers or on the roadside.
Waste-filled plastic bags contain everything -- from leftover foods, papers and tiny cartons to even electronics waste. Not much attention is given to what happens after the waste is thrown away. This clearly shows we lack environmental education. While waste can be managed in a more environment friendly way, it can also be a source of financial benefits.
The bio-waste and the recyclables such as paper, plastic, textiles are generally mixed together. When the recyclables get contaminated, their recyclability is reduced.
At the same time, people who sort and collect these items are also at risk. At the end of the day, the waste ends up in the landfill, and this is not considered environment friendly.
Bio-waste or food waste which primarily can be managed at home shouldn’t be mixed with other waste items. If we lack space for managing bio-waste at home, it should be collected in different cans or bags. Good practices of waste segregation needs to be adopted. It might not be practical to have different containers for different types of waste such as paper, glass, metal, hazardous waste and bio-waste, but keeping food/ kitchen waste away from those substances could be a crucial step in waste management chain.
Most importantly legislations with clear instructions about waste segregation in federal and state level needs to be adopted. Collecting waste from homes should not be the responsibility of environmental authority only; residents also need to know about the merits and demerits of improper waste segregation.
By mixing food waste in same container we are either losing valuable materials or degrading it. We have to be aware of energy and water required to manufacture new materials by harvesting virgin raw materials from nature. Proper practices of waste segregation not only increase the recyclability of materials but also reduce health risks to people working throughout the management chain.