The average person generates two kilos of trash every day. Your average trash bag itself takes 1000 years to degrade in a landfill.
Let that sink in for a second there.
We all produce rubbish. In majority of cases it ends up in a landfill, gets buried or burned. Neither of those three methods is good for you or the environment. They seem incredibly quick and seem easy enough, but their cost is not justified. Correct handling of waste can have multiple benefits on all of us – in a local, national and international aspect. Not to mention it is purely efficient from an economic point of view.
So, how to get rid of waste properly?
Rubbish 101 – Types of Waste
Before we handle the methods, let’s examine the types of waste we people deal with. According to Wikipedia, there are over 60 different kinds which divide into different systems of categorisation, based on physical principles or other traits.
There are two main types of junk – liquid and solid waste. Depending on if the waste could be a potential threat to public health or the environment, both main types are classified as either hazardous or non-hazardous.
There are quite a few sub-types, segmented on all the different traits of junk itself and the classification system used to define them, as follows – household waste, organic waste, commercial waste, recyclable waste, green waste, after builders waste and medical waste.
You don’t need to be a rubbish pro to deal with a pile of junk but a few small tips and tricks might save you time, money and a precious fraction of ozone layer.
Why knowing the basic types of rubbish so important?
Dealing with certain types of waste, especially hazardous or liquid, can have adverse effects on your well-being and the environment. There are types of rubbish that need to be taken care of by qualified rubbish disposal companies. Occasionally, even specialised equipment and vehicles might be involved in the adequate handling of waste. If that’s your case, no matter the area you live in, make sure to properly research for information or call a professional. Just don’t DIY.
Liquid junk should not be mixed or disposed along with common household rubbish, like food leftovers, packaging and recyclables. The same applies for hazardous waste. The smaller problem here is that glass, paper, plastic and greens are not eligible for recycling and composting if corrupted with liquid or hazardous waste. The bigger issue – if such a mixture reach the landfill it could cause a contamination or other environmental situations that are difficult to handle and even harder to reverse.
Sometimes (like in the case with asbestos) it is highly recommended to avoid contact with certain materials or substances. Chemicals and other agents in the composition of such waste, also the physical structure of the material, can cause immediate or delayed (chronic) health problems. Worst case scenario – permanent damage or even death.
Who is Responsible and Who Can Help You?
Different countries have introduced and approved a tight list of regulations referring to how you should handle waste and pollution.That’s because rubbish is a main source of pollution and the effects can be devastating.
In addition, every city, suburb or municipality should have its own logistics to carry out or at best, a dedicated waste management system. We cannot reduce the waste we produce to zero but it can be treated in a proper way so that the effects of pollution caused are brought to the minimum possible. If you don’t know how waste management is handled in your area, you can always turn to your local officials and ask for instructions.
Household waste (general waste) and recyclables are the general city council’s responsibility. Visit your council’s website where you will find thorough info and details about what days collection happens, what is the route of collection, what is the public holiday schedule
Here we need to mention that businesses are among the biggest contributors to environmental waste. That makes corporate responsibility toward waste very important. Every company needs to take actions. Adopting sustainable waste management practices is the least one can do.
When the junk is not “common rubbish”
After you carry spring cleaning or a hefty renovation you will find yourself with a lot of waste on your hand. Waste that you cannot just dump in the rubbish bin in front of the house. You’ll need to consider the fact that your junk might contain materials that require specialised care (especially if you have to deal with construction waste).
You have two options:
Of course, you can try to deal with the rubbish yourself. If you choose this option, take some time to find a landfill to throw out such type of waste.
Get informed about the costs and fees you’ll need to pay for disposal. Check if your vehicle is suitable for the purpose. And comply with the waste regulation for your area. All because there are some dangers of trying to handle your own waste management.
Both ways mentioned above have both benefits and limitations. It’s not very easy to say that the one method is better than the other. Placing a skip/bin sometimes requires special permits and comes with a fee. With “hands on rubbish removal” you will not have such a problem. However when renovating, it is more convenient to have a skip/bin for collecting the junk instead of placing it in the back/front yard or leaving it on the construction site.
For some specific types of rubbish you may need a specialists with a proper license (asbestos removal ). For others the cost of the service will be increased because of the size of the junk or its properties (mattress removal). Medical and hazardous waste and also some recyclables must be transported to a special facility.
Research the options you have. Go through some websites of companies specialising in rubbish removal like Fantastic Waste Removal (AU) (you’ll find a lot of information – size estimators, price calculators, area coverage, permits needed, service information, ets.). Compare and pick up the solution that works best for you.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
You’ll be surprised but nowadays recycling is not that difficult. With all the recycle bins and facilities around we just need to put a little effort to find the right information. It is the same with waste reduction and reuse practices. A tree or even a lake could be saved from pollution by the smallest actions.
Most household junk is recyclable. And some part of it is actually recycled (if thrown in the recycle bin). Although some materials and objects are considered recyclable, there are cases when it is not good for them to be put into the bins. For recyclers’ convenience there are lists of recyclables a recycle bin could take.
Certain items are not eligible for recycle bins but in fact are 100% recyclable.
As mentioned above, such items should be handled by specialists or dropped off at special locations.
There are many, many ways we can reduce the harm we do with producing junk. Not knowing is not an excuse for anybody to pollute or do harm to nature, animals, or humans.
Keep in mind that every piece of junk matters. Several drops of liquid waste could contaminate a whole lake. A small pile of construction waste, if thrown in a forest, could destroy the balanced ecosystem in the area. So let’s go green and get rid of the junk in a proper way!
Our staff writers come from all over the world, but one thing unites them - their passion for sustainability.