What You Need to Know About Waste Segregation at Home


Reading Time: 4 minutes

Can you guess the amount of waste you generate every day?

Over 5,700 tonnes of waste is generated each day in Bengaluru. About 64% of this is organic or wet waste. This can be converted to compost and used in kitchen gardens or sold to farmers. 28% is dry waste, a significant part of which can be recycled. However, the BBMP receives 3,500 tonnes of mixed waste every day. This means the waste is not segregated into dry, wet, and hazardous waste.

When organic waste is mixed with dry or hazardous waste, it can no longer be composted. When the recyclable dry waste is mixed with food or hazardous waste, they can no longer be recycled. Although dry waste and wet waste have economic value on its own, when mixed they lose this value.

 

Dry,wet and hazardous waste

What are wet, dry, and hazardous waste?

All substances with moderate to high moisture content and are organically compostable come under wet waste. Cooked or uncooked food, fruit/vegetable scraps, chicken /fish bones and eggshells, and plants/leaves fall in this category. This type of waste is generated in every household.

Dry waste consists of inorganic substances that have little or no moisture content. Some of these can be recycled, for example, non-laminated paper/cardboard, some forms of plastic, metals, and some electronic parts. Some others like single-use plastic, laminated paper, glass, and furniture cannot be recycled.

Hazardous wastes are those that can cause serious damage to the environment and living beings. Disposable diapers, used bandages, expired medicines, syringes, chemicals, grease, tires, and explosives are some examples.

The basics of waste segregation at home

Waste Segregation Chart

Waste segregation at home is pretty simple. It might seem a bit of effort at the start. But if you put in that little effort during the first month, it soon becomes a habit… A habit that would save our city.

Here’s how you can start segregation:

  1. Get three garbage bins – one for wet waste, one for dry waste, and one for hazardous waste.
  2. Get eco-friendly garbage bags. Note that all biodegradable garbage bags are not completely compostable. If possible, use organic dustbin liners made from paper, corn starch, tapioca, and other compostable materials.

 

Managing wet waste

The best way to dispose of wet waste is by composting it. Composting can be done at your home or in communities.

 

For individuals:

There are brands like Daily Dump, Eco Bin, and TrustBasket that sell easy-to-use compost bins for homes. They can be used even in small apartments.

However, if you don’t want to invest much, this video shows how to make a simple compost bin at home: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4jhpx-GuEF8

 

For communities:

You can convince your residence association to install a community composter for your complex. The segregated wet waste can be dumped in this composter by all the residents.

How to convince your residence association? First form a group of people who believe in this cause. All of you can make your neighbours aware of the importance of waste segregation. Get the association to install separate storage spaces for dry and wet waste. Most importantly, make the staff in your building (cleaners, security, etc) also understand the process of waste segregation.

 

If you are not composting, just put all the wet waste in a single garbage bin. Dispose of it separately every day when the BBMP Pourakarmikas collect waste from your house/community. If not, it may start decomposing and stinking.

 

Managing dry waste

Plastic above 40 microns and paper can be recycled. I would suggest that you keep them separate from the rest of the dry waste so it is easier to be sent to a recycling plant.

Make sure that the plastic/glass food containers and packets (curd, batter etc) are rinsed and dried before throwing away. Otherwise, it will be sorted under mixed waste.

The dry waste can be kept for longer as it wouldn’t decompose easily. So, you can dispose of it whenever the bin gets full.

Managing household hazardous waste

Items like human hair and nails, diapers, sanitary napkins, clay-based cat litter, waxing strips, bandage, condoms, and cotton swabs should be wrapped in newspaper, marked with a red cross, and given to the Pourakarmikas.

Items like expired medicine, syringe, razor, bulb, tube light, paint, varnish, cosmetics, mosquito repellants, and fertilizers/pesticides should be stored separately and given to the Pourakarmikas.

 

If you would like to know more about waste segregation, Citizen Matters has an elaborate guide on the same. You can also read my blog on composting here.

Can Bengaluru be the cleanest city

Cleanest cities in India

 

Indore and Mysuru are cities with a large population. Yet, they managed to bag this honour. This disproves the common idea that overpopulation makes a city dirty.

So, what did these cities do right?

Through continuous awareness, the citizens became more conscious of the waste they generated. They started to segregate waste at home. Now, these cities have achieved close to 100% waste segregation at source.

Then they reduced the use of single-use plastic. Discarding plastic carry bags was an important move. Bengaluru already has a proven model for this. The HSR No Plastic movement is a mission that became successful with the active participation of the residents and businesses in HSR Layout.

Next, these cities introduced composting at individual and community levels. Many of the localities became self-sufficient in wet waste disposal. Indore alone has over 700 community-level compost making units.

 

As you can see, waste segregation at home is a huge step in our journey to bring down the amount of mixed waste. If each of us religiously follows waste segregation, Namma Bengaluru will soon become a clean city.

Start your journey today.

 

 

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