How to Properly Sort Your Waste and Reduce Contamination
As the global population increases, the volume of waste generated also grows proportionately. According to the United Nations, global waste production is expected to rise by 70% by 2050, which will cause significant environmental, economic, and social problems. To tackle this issue, individuals, businesses, and governments must take responsibility for reducing waste production, reusing materials, and properly sorting waste.
Proper waste sorting is essential to reduce contamination, increase the efficiency of the recycling process, and reduce the amount of waste sent to landfills. Here are some practical steps that you can take to properly sort your waste and reduce contamination:
1- Know the Items that Can and Cannot Be Recycled
The first step in proper waste sorting is to understand what can and cannot be recycled. Items that can usually be recycled include paper, cardboard, plastic containers, glass bottles, and aluminum cans. However, not all types of paper, plastic, or glass can be recycled, and some items cannot be recycled at all, such as styrofoam, plastic bags, and food-contaminated items.
To ensure that you are properly sorting your waste, check with your local recycling center or waste management facility to determine what can be recycled in your area. Also, This will vary depending on where you live, as different recycling facilities have different capabilities and guidelines.
2- Separate Your Waste
To properly sort your waste, you will need to separate it into different categories. Common categories include paper, cardboard, plastic, glass, metal, and organic waste. Some areas may also require separate bins for hazardous waste, such as batteries and electronics.
Separating your waste into different categories will make it easier to recycle and reduce contamination. It’s also important to ensure that each category is properly labeled to avoid confusion.
3- Clean and Dry Recyclables
To prevent contamination, it’s important to clean and dry recyclable materials before placing them in the appropriate bin. This means rinsing out containers and removing any food waste, as well as ensuring that paper and cardboard are free from any food or liquid stains.
Moisture and food waste can cause contamination and reduce the quality of recyclable materials, making them unusable for recycling.
4- Avoid Plastic Bags and Packaging
Plastic bags and packaging are one of the most common sources of contamination in recycling facilities. They can clog machinery and cause significant damage, resulting in higher costs and reduced efficiency.
To avoid this, it’s important to avoid using plastic bags and packaging whenever possible. Instead, opt for reusable bags, containers, and packaging materials made from alternative materials such as paper, glass, or metal.
5- Compost Organic Waste
Organic waste, such as food scraps and yard waste, can composted instead of sent to a landfill. Composting is the process of breaking down organic materials into nutrient-rich soil that can used to fertilize plants and gardens.
Composting reduces waste production, improves soil quality, and reduces the amount of methane gas produced in landfills; which is a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change.
6- Dispose of Hazardous Waste Properly
Hazardous waste, such as batteries, electronics, and chemicals, should be disposed of properly to avoid contamination and environmental damage. Many areas have specific drop-off locations or recycling centers for hazardous waste; so be sure to check with your local waste management facility for guidance. You can also hire a specialist skip through JustHire Essex to dispose of the waste.
It’s also important to never pour hazardous materials down the drain or dispose of them in regular trash bins; as this can contaminate water sources and harm the environment.
Proper waste sorting is essential to reduce contamination, increase recycling efficiency, and reduce waste production. By following these simple steps, you can ensure that you are properly sorting your waste and reducing contamination in your community.