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Household Waste: Happily Separated!

The hands of someone who is sorting the bottle caps
Segregating waste is a solution to reduce household waste.

Source: Krizohn Rosales [8]

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Do you know how much waste is produced every day? According to BPS data on waste statistics in Indonesia in 2016 [1], the annual amount of Indonesian trash is 65,200,000 tons for a year! This amount is dominated by household waste by as much as 62% [2].

So much waste production is also inseparable from the increasing amount of consumption and population of Indonesia. According to the latest research from Sustainable Waste Indonesia (SWI), there are still 24% of unmanaged waste [3]. This means the waste is still not managed properly because of the amount of waste that has not been segregated since the beginning of the process. This has an impact on the huge amount of waste that ends up in the river or thrown into the ocean [4].

With so much waste, proper management becomes crucial, and chaos reigns without it!. Improper waste disposal means that all types of wastes get mixed in a landfill cauldron resulting in contamination of materials and difficulties to recycle. This has tremendous environmental repercussions including the leaking of plastic waste in the ocean.

Our role as a community is very important to help manage this issue, one of which is by segregating our own household waste. By segregating waste, we can help increase the recycling rates and also reduce the burden of landfills that have exceeded their capacity!

In addition, waste segregation at home means being able to compost our organic waste which can be useful for urban farming or even sell as organic fertilizer [5]. Non-organic recyclable waste can be collected to be exchanged for cash in a Bank Sampah.

So here are 4 tips on managing your household waste and help reduce your carbon footprint:

1. Sort waste according to type

Waste segregating using buckets
The percentage of household waste segregation in Indonesia is at 49.2%

Source: Jasmine Sessler [9]

As we know waste is divided into two types, organic and inorganic. Make it easier for you to sort your waste by providing more than one trash can. It also opens your eyes to the types of waste your household usually consumes on a daily basis and motivates you to make lifestyle adjustments! If you’re a beginner, you can start by referring to the 2016 Solid Waste Management (SWM) rules [6] which sort household waste into 3 parts: organic waste, recyclable waste, and “other” waste (hazardous & non-recyclables).

2. Turn organic waste into compost and food for animals

Monkey eating a fruit waste
Indonesia is the second-biggest contributor to food waste

Source: Radoslaw Prekurat [10]

One man’s waste is another creature’s treasure! Organic food scraps we usually discard are usually the perfect meal for animals such as the monkey you see in the picture above! Aside from that, organic waste can also benefit the environment. How? Organic waste such as food waste can be made into compost, which in addition to reducing food waste, can also be used to nourish plants and the soil organically.


3. Turn your waste to profit!

Plastic waste that is ready to be recycled
From 175,000 tons of waste per day generated in Indonesia, only 3% is recycled.

Nick Fewings [11]

Recycling waste is actually a lucrative industry that can benefit us economically! For example, we can collect recyclable waste such as cardboards, plastics, electronic wastes, or even second-hand furniture and submit them to a Bank Sampah, or sell to a scrap shop, or a private recycling company. Great isn’t it? Waste we often consider has no value usually can be valuable as long as we separate and clean it to prevent contamination!

4. Dispose of non-recyclable and hazardous waste

Waste that is not managed properly
Improper disposal hazardous waste can contaminate soil and water

Source: John Cameron [12]

Unfortunately not all things can be recycled or reused. Some plastics are too thin for example, or some are already contaminated with food products. That is why the best option for these items is to Refuse them in the first place or reduce the amount we consume.

There are also hazardous wastes, which must be discarded because it can be dangerous for our health. Hazardous waste can harm people, animals, and the earth, whether it ends up in the ground, in streams, or even in the air [7]. So don't dispose of it carelessly! Especially during the pandemic, we have to protect the waste pickers which depend on collecting waste in the landfills. Therefore, make sure you read the proper guidelines of disposi ofng hazardous materials such as items containing chemicals, paint, and medical waste (e.g. masks, bandages, gloves, etc).

Of the four steps above, which steps have you taken? Waste segregation is not the only solution offered to reduce the volume of waste that is increasingly swollen. The most important thing is that we also start getting used to reducing our consumption habits and shifting to a more environmentally friendly lifestyle such as zero waste lifestyle.

All problems, no matter how big, can be resolved if we join hands and unite our strengths as citizens and individuals. Therefore, let's start to manage our household waste and ensure a green and healthy earth for our next generation.

As Pete Seeger, an environmental activist, once said "If it can't be reduced, reused, repaired, rebuilt, refurbished, refined, resold, recycled, or composted, then it should be restricted, designed or removed from production.”


Got any other tips to share? Write it in our forum HERE




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