As human civilization moves on, life has improved compared to the olden days.
Horses turned into automobiles and handcrafts became industrialized.
Although progress is all good and serves the best interests of everyone, humans must not forget the most important thing of all: the planet.
Taking care of the planet is akin to securing a guaranteed future.
After all, what good will progress do if our planet is just years away from being inhabitable?
Fortunately, both local and national units have placed protocols and mandates that help protect the environment.
Several public, private, and business sectors have even adopted green practices to support this campaign.
If you’re interested in helping out the planet, an excellent place to start is in your house.
Despite the comfort it provides, households are one of the primary contributors to urban waste.
To help you out, here are four household waste disposal mistakes that are ruining the environment:
1. Using Plastic Bags For Waste Bins
When it comes to waste segregation, it’s a common mistake to use plastic bags for the waste bins.
Yet plastic bags are not good, especially for dry waste. For better understanding, read on for a refresher on waste segregation.
In most cases, garbage is of two general categories: wet and dry.
Wet includes kitchen waste, such as fruit peelings, food matter, and anything used for compost.
Dry, meanwhile, includes non-food materials that are further divided into recyclable and non-recyclable.
Plastic bags or non-compost liners are not safe for composting, so using either of them will only produce extra waste.
Likewise, plastic bags sent for composting are rejected by recycling centers, which means they go straight to landfills.
This defeats the purpose of composting in the first place and also overfills landfills with plastic waste.
Using plastic bags for dry waste also gets rejected by most recycling centers. As per usual, rejects automatically head over to the landfill.
To fix this, use compost liners for your wet and don’t line your recycling bins with anything else.
You can also check out skip bins as an alternative as they are easier to maintain compared to having separate bins.
A simple online search with keywords like waste disposal near me should give you a head start.
2. Not Removing Food Matter From Recyclables
It’s normal for anyone to think that dumping food packaging straight into the waste bin is the right thing to do.
They often assume it’s better to throw it there than have it lay around the house.
However, hurling it into the bin without cleaning it first can lead to several problems.
For one, unclean food packaging is often rejected by recycling centers because grease and other substances found in food waste render the recycling process undoable.
Oil and other materials in liquid form can seep through paper packaging, thereby destroying its structural integrity.
Food matter is also considered a contaminant, meaning once you chuck a packaging without cleaning it, you risk contamination in the entire recycle bin.
The bin is then left at the landfill or incinerated alongside all the waste there.
In addition, bins full of food residues can easily cause infestation.
Infestations aren’t only health hazards, but they may also be the culprit for that unexplainable odor inside your home.
Pest outbreaks also increase the chance of using pesticides and other pest-killing agents, thus causing even more environmental harm.
3. Throwing All Plastics in the Recyclable Bin
In the world of recycling, it’s common knowledge that not all plastics are made equal.
Some plastics can be recycled, while some will never biodegrade, let alone be recycled.
If you have no idea yet, there are two types of manufactured plastics: thermosets and thermoplastics.
When introduced to heat, thermoplastics can be melted and remolded, hence they are reusable so there’s no need to remanufacture plastics.
Thermosets, meanwhile, have unalterable chemical composition, therefore remolding them is impossible.
That said, polyethylene (PET) bottles are recyclable, and so are food-grade containers like trays, milk cartons, and others.
Plastic cutlery and other similar items belong to the types of plastic that cannot be recycled easily, so you’d better throw those into your non-recyclable bin.
This said, polyethylene (PET) bottles are recyclable, as well as food-grade containers like trays, milk cartons, and others.
Plastic cutlery and other similar items belong to the types of plastic that cannot be easily recycled, so you’d better throw those into your non-recyclable bin.
4. Not Disposing Of Hazardous Waste Properly
It’s not unusual for people to empty chemicals and other types of hazards down the drain.
It’s not exactly wrong to drain them down the pipe after all. However, not all hazardous waste can be thrown this way.
Let’s start with cooking oil, the most common liquid that goes down the drain aside from water.
Most households have cooking oil in their pantry, and there are times when used oil needs to be disposed of.
This act can sometimes be a tad tricky, especially when there’s the urge to pour it directly into the sink.
When hot, cooking oil can clog your drain, which is not the best situation to be in. It’s not exactly good for your pipes at room temperature, too.
Hence, the only choice left for you is to freeze your cooking oil and dispose of it the same way as you would with other solid food wastes.
Note, however, that if you use vegetable oil at home, you can use this in your compost (because earthworms love it) without having to freeze it.
Just be mindful not to overdo it. Moisture is still necessary for plants to thrive, and because oil is hydrophobic, the utmost caution should be observed.
Aside from cooking oil, common household chemical hazards like alcohol, paint, paint thinner, hydrogen peroxide, and others must not go down the pipe as much as possible.
While a wiggle room is given for these chemicals to be poured down the drain, they still go back to the major bodies of water, thus causing pollution.
Proper waste storage and management is half the battle to a sustainable and healthy environment.
Being responsible and aware of the steps on how to manage household waste properly, as shown in this article, can go a long way in securing a future that benefits everyone on the planet.