Will our children be living amidst mountains of trash?
Have you noticed those heaps of trash that you sometimes pass by?
Wondering how to reduce trash at home?
Being a responsible mother and citizen I have started working towards zero household waste.
For the past five months, all that gets thrown from my house is a few tablespoons of trash each day, and I am working to eliminate that too.
Sounds impossible? Not with my 10 golden rules to reduce domestic waste.
Read on to know more.
Why should you handle your household garbage differently?
For many years, we have learnt that the right way to keep our house clean is to throw a bag full of trash every day.
With the intrusion of disposable plastics in our life, we have put our planet’s future at risk. Now all our dump yards are filled with an unending sea of garbage. We are polluting air, water, soil and putting everybody’s health at risk.
Chennai’s two major dump yards were at Kodungaiyur and Perungudi. After years of protest from the residents, who were battling health issues, smell and fire hazards due to the garbage being burnt, the corporation has finally agreed to close the dump yards.
In Bengaluru, the Mandur village had been used as a dump yard for almost a decade now. Most of the residents there have respiratory issues. The children have been falling sick and suffering from allergies. The price they pay for the trash that we throw is really huge.
The other metros and major cities are in the same boat.
With our rapidly growing population and our love for disposables, the future of our own children is a big question mark. Why? Because the number of dump yards are going to increase.
What is segregation of waste?
Firstly, we need an understanding of how to segregate the waste, then dispose or recycle each accordingly.
Plastic, metal, glass, paper, kitchen wastes are all recyclable as long as we don’t mix the wet and dry waste.
Segregation in simple terms is separation of wet waste and dry waste.
10 Sure shot ways to reduce trash at home:
Today, we roll up our car windows to shield our children from the stench. But tomorrow, they will be living amidst this manmade mountain of trash, unless we learn to how to reduce trash.
Aim to reduce the trash you throw from your house by following the below steps.
#1. Composting your kitchen waste
Around 70% of our daily garbage consists of kitchen wastes such as vegetable and fruit peels, tea and coffee grounds, leftover food etc.
Keep a bin at home exclusively for these wet/ organic wastes.
Actually, it’s an insult to call them so. They contain everything that our soil needs, to grow vegetables and fruits. Composting our kitchen waste is the right way to recycle the nutrients back to the soil and grow 100% organic vegetables, right in our balcony or windowsill.
Wondering how to compost? Watch this space for my easy guides on composting.
Read about how easy it is to grow a vegetable garden
#2. Take your own bags to the shop
We know about the ill effects of using plastic bags. They sit there adamantly, refusing to decompose and put the lives of our land and marine animals at risk.
Many of us already take our own reusable bags with us for shopping. If not, start right now and say a big “NO” to every plastic cover being offered to you- be it from vegetable shops, departmental stores, flower vendor or textile shop.
By not getting plastic covers, you won’t have any to throw into your trashcan.
#3. Reuse existing plastic bags
I am sure all of us have a plastic bag full of plastic bags lying somewhere in the corner of the house. Wash them and reuse them whenever you find that plastic bags are inevitable. For example, I reuse my old plastic covers to segregate vegetables inside my fridge.
#4. Upcycling – the newest trend
Upcycling is the creative use of an old or discarded material to make something useful.
Upcycle your old containers and bottles into pots for your vegetable garden. Flour bags can be used as grow bags.
Old and torn clothes make good cleaning rags. A broken plastic container can be used to store your cloth clips. Use your creativity, and be a cool upcycler.
#5. Switch from disposables to reusables
Multinationals have made us lazy by introducing us to disposable items. Disposable diapers, wet wipes, sanitary pads, plastic plates and cups have become a way of life.
Fortunately, technology and washing machine has made life easy for the go greeners- the ones who will go that extra mile to buy cloth diapers, cloth tissues and so on.
Switch from sanitary pads to menstruating cups or the modern reusable cloth pads. All these switches will save you money in the long run along with your noble way of living green.
#6. Give them away
What better way to teach humanity to our children than donating to the needy?
We can donate used dresses, bags etc to the underprivileged. It’s also a great way of reducing the trash, as we prolong the life of those items after we are done using them.
#7. Old scrap dealers
Did you realize the old scrap dealers or the kabadiwalas are doing a great social service? Find out all the items they will buy from you and keep them separately.
Give your milk covers a quick wash in water and stick them inverted on your kitchen tiles. Once they are dry, collect them in a separate bag.
Cardboard boxes, newspapers, plastic bottles, glass and metal containers can be sold to them.
If you are uncomfortable letting unknown people to your home to buy trash, find scrap dealer shops in your neighborhood and hand it over to them at your own convenience.
#8. Hand them over to the rag pickers
Although almost all-dry waste we throw is recyclable, our old scrap dealers only buy the ones that are most profitable for them. If the scrap dealer is not willing to buy your items, collect them in a bag and hand them over to the rag pickers you see on the street.
#9. Find a recycling company in your city
Recycling our used goods not only reduces our trash, but also saves plenty of resources that will be needed to make a new product from scratch.
Take that extra effort to find out if any voluntary organization or company is accepting your dry waste.
An organization called CTC (Chennai trekking club) offered to collect our waste plastic covers for use in road construction. They also collect all types of dry waste if we make an effort to accumulate them.
Earthrecycler is a Chennai based company that offers waste collection services.
A quick online search showed up thekabadiwala.com, which is a Bhopal based company that buys trash at your doorstep.
Dailydump is a Bangalore based waste management company.
#10. Your trash is so small your don’t need to buy that trash bag anymore
When you truly believe in something, achieving it is really a simple task. After following these simple steps, my daily trash is usually just a couple of tablespoons of cooked food (As of now, I am only composting raw food waste).
I am looking at tips to reduce food waste too. Unfortunately, I still use a plastic cover to throw it away. But I reuse oil, detergent or half kg pulse covers to throw away the trash.
Reducing your trash may seem daunting at first, but when you understand the importance of it, you will start working on it right away.
Even a small step in that direction can make a difference to our children’s future and for them, we parents will leave no stone unturned!
Let me know the steps you follow to reduce trash at home and conserve our mother Earth.
Thanks for the tips Vandana. I have been trying to work upon most of them, but it doesn’t seem to be easy to give up a habitual thing. Shall keep trying though 🙂 Keep posting and sharing your wonderful ideas .
Hi Vidhya, I am truly happy to hear u r trying the achieve this. When u hav realized the importance of reducing trash, implementing it is just one step away!
Chitra Santosh says
Excellent tips Vandana!! Just goes on to prove how small gestures by us today can lead to big changes tomorrow. What you are doing is really inspirational.
Thank you for.the encouragement chitra. I believe that setting the right example is the best way to bring about change. Now I feel more confident that my approach will help in that direction