The amount of solid waste garbage India generates every day is more than 1,00,000 metric tonnes, which is actually higher than many countries’ total daily waste generation taken together. So, what are we doing? Purely in numbers, over 75% of the waste generated which can easily be recycled, is not being done and it makes its way to the already overflowing landfills and mere 30% is being treated.
If we ignore waste management any more then by 2030 we will need a landfill as big as Bengaluru to dump all the waste generated. In order to overcome this crisis, the government has launched a mega waste management campaign across cities in which waste segregation at source has been made mandatory but its implementation has not yet been effective since it is still early days of the campaign.
The need of the hour is to spread awareness among people so that as waste generators the onus of effectively managing the waste lies on them. As a first step, here are the 5 terms that everyone should know about waste management:
1. Waste Segregation: This is the first and the most basic step one needs to undertake in order to effectively manage their waste. It simply means keeping wet and dry wastes separately. As per the government’s 2-bin policy, wet waste needs to be kept in the green bin and dry waste in the blue bin. By segregating waste one can reduce the burden of indiscriminate garbage pile up in the landfills and it enables each category of waste being disposed off differently like composting, recycling, incineration, rather than simply dumping everything in the landfill.
How do I practice waste segregation at home?
2. Composting: This is the next step to effectively manage waste. Composting is nature’s way of recycling the waste. It is mostly applicable to kitchen waste or wet waste. Composting can be done irrespective of whether there is a big garden area or not. All that is needed is pots in which different types of plants or flowers can be grown.
Compost is the most basic and important ingredient to add to plants. Composting adds life to the soil and it can be done in few easy steps. Here’s the quick guide to get you started:
3. Reusing: It is a simple yet most ignored step! Many items which are throw away can be used again for different purposes. Reusing basically means using the item again for the different purpose, like Coke pet bottle, can be re-used as a water bottle instead of being discarded after one use.
4. Upcycling: It is a creative way to reduce waste. Going by the definition, the meaning of upcycling is reusing discarded objects or material to make creative products that are of higher quality or value than the original.
Upcycling is the most acceptable term around the world, but in India, it is a new concept. There are many startups that are making the upcycling concept a more acceptable term by taking trash and giving a new life by creating different products from the waste.
Upcycling is different from recycling, as it doesn’t require any technical support. Basically, it is reusing old products creatively. In the process of upcycling, waste materials, useless, or unwanted products are transformed into new materials or products of better quality or for better environmental value.
5. Recycling: It is a more technical process of managing waste. The items which cannot be decomposed naturally are used for the purpose of recycling. The most common recyclable materials are any kinds of glass, paper, and cardboard, metal, plastic, tires, textiles, and electronics. At any recycling plant, the trash is converted into products or materials that can be used again in some form, instead of being dumped without any use.