Many among us are unaware that most of our solid wastes are actually resources- unused and untapped resources that only end up in sanitary landfills, instead of recovering these still useful resources.
These solid wastes merely reduced to trash, litter, and useless thing and we simply are unaware that these are still valuable resources, that can be reuse, recycle and process into other useful thing.
Let us check our own waste bags before we bring it to the nearby waste bins. Inside it were mixed of all sort of solid wastes, either empty plastic or glass bottles, cardboards, newspapers, and the like. These are recyclable wastes which can be saved from being disposed since scrap buyers buy these materials. Inside your waste bag are also kitchen wastes such as food leftover, fruit peeling, leaves and plant trimmings, etc. which can be very useful in your garden if you will reuse it as a compost.
If we do not have backyards or garden in our homes, Barangay Local Government Units (BLGUs) can establish its Composting Area for its inhabitants to bring their agri and kitchen wastes such as plant leaves, food leftover, peelings, etc. and all other biodegradable materials from their homes. I have helped one interior rural barangay to established one, when I still worked as a Municipal Environment and Natural Resources Officer (MENRO) in one of the municipalities in Leyte.
The establishment of Composting Area was successful. It hit two birds in one stone. It solved their disposal problem since municipal waste collectors visit their place only once or twice a month. Second, it taught locals to reuse their compostable and biodegradable materials as compost useful for their backyard garden.
Bear in mind that only residual solid wastes such as plastic wrappers, sachets, and other non-recyclable and non-biodegradable wastes should be sorted and disposed to the waste bins nearby for the City’s Solid Waste Management personnel and workers to collect.
Sadly, most of us, brought all our solid wastes, MIXED WASTES to our waste bins, shortening the lifespan of our sanitary landfill.
Sorting solid wastes is a simple sacrifice that everyone of us can do for our environment and our planet.
But since many of our plastic or glass bottles, newspapers, cardboards, which are supposedly recyclable materials has been mixed with all other solid wastes and rubbish, already these are stained with food wastes, sorters find it difficult to recover filthy materials.
Some barangays have their respective Materials Recovery Facilities (MRF) however, these were merely used not as a facility to recover recyclable and reusable materials, but rather a place where nearby residents put their mixed and all sort of wastes.
Any basic approach to waste – particularly solid waste from the households – should start with segregation. In fact, no waste experts in their right mind will tell anyone not to segregate because knowing fully well that waste composition and characteristics is the basis for all efficient and sound waste and resource management.
What constitutes waste depends on the eye of the beholder, because in reality, one person’s waste can be a resource for another person.
Waste is not only an environmental problem, but also an economic loss, if it is not properly managed. We should think on how to make sure that our solid wastes are recycled or composted, and only less is sent to our landfills. How can we change the way we produce and consume so that we can only produce less and less waste, while using all waste as a resource?