Managing Dry Waste - Part I
I have been composting my wet waste for a while now (roughly 3 years). The yield of the compost has been good and it has become an integral part of the kitchen. Lots of valuable plants have come out of it and it's been a worthwhile experience for me. I cannot say the same about our dry waste though. Our layout has a BBMP trash van that collects wet and dry waste. I stopped giving wet waste since I have been composting all of the wet waste. However, I have been religiously giving them my dry waste.
Proper segregation of wet and dry waste
What I noticed with the trash picker is that even though they ask us to keep the wet and dry waste separate, a lot of the waste in the trash van always looks mixed up. It bothers me that the waste is mixing. I have been meaning to do something about the dry waste for a while and couldn't really get to it. I searched for lots of companies that would collect the dry waste. The biggest negative I found for these companies is that they will not make a trip for one customer. The best option is the local raddiwala. You can even get paid some small amount for your plastic.
So, I tried to collect some of the grocery covers, cleaned and dried them, and then took it for disposal. The dry waste collection point was a little ways from my home. The place looked like another huge landfill in itself. I was not happy with the amount of time I spent only to realize that it was all mixed up in a huge mess. After all, my time is precious to me.
Reduce and recycle
After some investigation, I found that there were few people in Bangalore, who were reusing old grocery bags and cans. If you can clean and send the bags and cans, they will reuse. It doesn't really eradicate the problem, but at least they will reuse it a couple of times and that's something. If you can find a proper recycling center, your dry waste can be sent for recycling or up cycling as well. I sent my cleaned grocery bags to one young entrepreneur who was selling her eco-friendly products in grocery bags. Here are a few Instagram handles that have helped me in the past @green_steps, @greenfeetcleanfeet, @slow_n_conscious_living, @wormrani, @dhanaknaturals.
I was able to send only a few of my grocery bags to one or two people. It did not help me get rid of all the dry waste. I started to look at the dry waste that was being generated in my home. I made a conscious effort to reduce the amount of dry waste by changing some behaviors. More on that in the next post. Once I made the switch, the amount of dry waste reduced drastically in my house. Below you can find a picture of the waste generated this month in my house. I am giving the box to a local raddiwala.
I also started making ecobricks. Ecobricks are nothing but a collection of small plastic materials that cannot be recycled. All those small plastic cuttings, electrical wires, earbuds, tags, glue tapes etc, are the ones that quickly disintegrate into smaller fragments and are finding ways back to our bodies in the name of micro-plastics. You may be aware of recent articles that claim that micro-plastics almost the size of a credit card are getting into our bodies. Now to imagine that not only are we consuming but our children are ingesting the same is alarming.
The idea of eco-bricks is to first collect all the small material that cannot be properly segregated and cannot become part of recycling. Then, we put them in empty water bottles and fill those bottles until they are full. Lot of organizations are accepting these eco bricks and are making them part of road constructions, upcycling, making children parks etc.
I am yet to find a way to get rid of the ecobricks. Until then, I will store them. We have removed all plastic bins in our individual rooms and included one bottle in each room to figure out how much waste gets added. So far, the kitchen (milk sachets and grocery bags) and my daughter's craft waste (paper cuttings, glue) seem to be the highest. I am hoping to reduce that in the coming years. More in my upcoming post.