Waste Segregation: Saving The Planet Begins Right From Home

We were on our trip to Kerela, better called God’s Own Country. Lost in the tranquility of the mountains and gush of fresh air stroking my hair gently, as if someone jolts you out of a dream, our faces were quenched as tightly as they can be with a unanimous gesture of clipping our noses with fingers.

The stink was unbearable. More unbearable was the encounter of it amidst the mountains and lush greenery. No sooner we saw miles of waste strewn across the descending mountains.

This is not something new. Such incidents not only unfold the unseriousness of local municipalities but also of the locals and tourists who unravel the ugly truth of waste. Such experiences, justle your core, making you think hard when you look over single-use plastic bottles or an animal trying to struggle through a plastic “polythene” for food on streets.

On my return, carrying an enriched experience and a broader perspective which staying close to nature can bless us. I also could not eradicate the dent created by this incident. I am a strong believer in Charity Beings at Home. I am not going to talk about the x-tonnes or y-millions of waste, which we hardly retain while snacking on our favorite chips packet hardly knowing it’s un-recyclable. Today, I am going to talk about a law, a long-forgotten, least emphasized, and vaguely implemented a law in India.

Solid Waste Management Act 2016

This law states that it is the responsibility of the waste generators, that is, the citizens of India, to separate and dispose of waste in three categories- wet waste, dry waste, and hazardous waste at home.

Wet Waste
This waste is bio-degradable.Stuff like vegetable peels, soiled tissue papers, match sticks, dry leaves, etc. This tends to break down and become one with the earth again.

Dry Waste
Dry waste is not wet or contaminated. This can include anything recyclable or unrecyclable. Things like glass bottles, old clothes, furniture, aluminum cans fall under this category.

Hazardous Waste
This category is scooped out for waste that can pose a threat to people who handle the waste. Contaminated period pads, medical waste coming out of hospitals, razor blades, e-waste, etc. Sadly, in India households never categorize waste in this category and it is thrown away as usual garbage, out of the house.

Get Started And Make a Difference
There is a town called Kamitsaku in Japan. The residents here segregate their waste into 45 categories. I am pretty sure, the start would have been annoying for some and exciting for others. At this point in 2020, this town has become a zero-waste carbon-neutral town. This is called leading by example.

It can seem overwhelming in the beginning, but eventually, it becomes a part of your life and something you enjoy doing. All you need is two bins, one for wet waste and the other for dry waste. Indian households usually have house helps who come in. Educate them about the process and trust me, they follow it religiously. Who does not want nature to thrive and when we realize it can be done right through our homes then why not.

When you handle out your waste, educate the waste collector by giving them two waste bags. Enquire about the waste-collecting authorities in your community if they accept wet and dry waste. I am pretty sure the answer is yes since all waste-collecting authorities have been given specially designed trucks with separate wet and dry bins. The wet waste can be composted in local bodies. The dry waste can be sent to recycling centers for boosting the circular economy.

Can It Solve The Waste Problem
Yes. Have we thought about the fact that a plastic milk packet that is mixed with wet waste has nearly zero chances of recycling instead of a packet that has been discarded in dry waste separately? This is because contaminated plastics hardly reach the recycling centers and will RIP for thousands of years on this planet. We need to understand that garbage is not just something that you can throw away and get rid of. It will start appearing, in fact, it already has on the food platters that we gourmet on a TGIF evening in the form of microplastics.

Nature has immense capacity to full fill the needs of generations, and it has always done. But reckless and unmonitored tapping in all sectors has come to a point where resources are depleting at an exponential rate as never before. And before it’s too late that we reach a point of no recovery, steps as waste segregation can go a long way. As I say, the problem is not us humans, the problem is we have forgotten that we can develop and prosper harmoniously with nature thriving along with us. There’s a way and to begin with, start separating your waste. It does not take much effort but the results can help in bringing a dent to the problem at hand.

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Zero waste living hustler and sustainability educator. Trying to change the way we look at trash before it’s too late.

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Fight Waste Hustle

Zero waste living hustler and sustainability educator. Trying to change the way we look at trash before it’s too late.