Across the world, people are generally becoming more and more conscious of the inescapable need to protect the environment. The most commonly used strategies to achieve this goal include reducing consumption (and thus, waste), recycling waste more efficiently and conservation of resources. In spite of this growing awareness, many people still seem to think that the responsibility for protecting the environment lies only with businesses and the government. Such people also carry the misconception that waste generated in homes is too insignificant to matter, and that recycling efforts must be directed at the waste generated in factories, offices and restaurants.
The sheer magnitude of the waste recycling challenge can be gauged by the statistics published by Defra, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
According to Defra, each person in England produced an average of 457 Kilograms of waste in 2009-10. Of this, an average of about 181 Kilograms per person was recycled. That left 60% of un-recycled waste, at an average of 276 kilograms per person. Therefore, household waste is also a huge source of risk to our environment. Ergo, recycling this category of waste is not only important, but also urgent.
Like charity, waste recycling must begin at home. So what constitutes domestic waste and how does one go about recycling it?
Glass, paper, aluminium and plastic are all common examples of material that’s found in every home. Think about our own daily habits. Once we consume what’s inside the bottle or can, we simply throw it into a dustbin. But if we all take the extra bit of effort to put different materials into different bins, then the resulting segregation of waste makes it that much easier for the waste to be collected and recycled by the local authorities.
The other major component of domestic waste is food related waste that includes unused and unusable food, as also fruit and vegetable peel. Fruit and vegetable peel and similar bio-degradable material can be converted to compost quite easily. This organic compost may just be what your kitchen garden needs to make it the envy of your neighbours. In the process, you also save money by not having to buy chemical fertilisers or commercially available manure.
A large portion of waste food from homes, restaurants and supermarkets ends up in landfills. Instead of just burying spoilt food, it can be used to produce clean energy quite efficiently. The technology for doing this already exists. All that we need to do is our part, which is to segregate waste so that these clean energy generators have a steady supply of fuel.
But it’s not all gloom and doom. The good news is that as a nation, we’re steadily taking steps to address the challenge. The generation of household waste has been declining over the last few years. 40% of household waste is now recycled, up from around 37.5% during 2008-09. But there’s more work to be done. We can all contribute by not wasting food and reducing the consumption of processed, pre-packaged food. Remember that even if the food itself is bio-degradable, the packaging may not be.
Did You Know?
According to Defra, each person in England produced an average of 457 Kilograms of waste in 2009-10. Of this, an average of about 181 Kilograms per person was recycled. That left 60% of un-recycled waste, at an average of 276 kilograms per person.