2 Things Not to Do When Disposing of Your Trash
As we go about our daily activities, we inevitably produce garbage in varying amounts. An average Australian, in particular, can produce up to 10 kilograms of trash each day. The next logical thing that we do whenever we produce trash is to toss our waste to the bin, and that in itself is not a bad thing. It is always better to put your trash straight to the wastebasket than simply commit the minor crime of littering, right?
We surely wish things could be so simple, and that the problem of waste disposal can be easily solved by throwing unwanted things into the trash. It turns out that this is not always the best practice, however, and there are some things that you should keep in mind when disposing of your garbage. Below are two things that you should not do when getting rid of your trash:
- Not Segregating Your Waste
Where to begin? Segregation is a very crucial part of waste management. It is not something that should be taken for granted, especially since it makes recycling a lot easier. Simply segregating dry waste from wet waste is an easy way to determine which part of your trash is eligible for material recovery and which ones go to the pit for composting. Besides this, waste segregation also has some other benefits, namely:
- Segregation leads to efficient waste management, and efficient waste management means more garbage ends up getting reused and less of our trash ends up in the landfill. In turn, the slower the landfills fill up, the less we need to open a new one and that is good news for the environment.
- With proper segregation, waste materials will not need to be manually or mechanically separated — or at least, the work needed to do so is significantly minimized. Both manual and mechanical sorting can incur additional costs in terms of labor and machine operation, respectively, so segregation is a great way to make recycling a lot cheaper.
- It lets us isolate hazardous waste, thereby protecting public health and keeping toxic waste from contaminating the environment. Old rechargeable batteries, for example, can leak acid that can contaminate the ground; used lithium ion batteries can leak volatile, flammable gas if stored improperly; toxic chemicals that are not disposed properly can emit fumes that can affect our well-being; and so on and so forth.
- Putting Everything into The Trash
Just because something is all garbage does not mean that they all go into the bin together with the rest. There are several things that you should not put in the trash along with the others, some of which are better stored separately. Consider the following:
- Fluorescent lamps and thermometers. Both contain mercury that can be very harmful to the environment if released. Fluorescent bulbs and thermometers are best kept isolated and brought to a hazardous waste facility that is capable of dealing with toxic waste.
- Oil and other flammable fuels. The effect of used oil can range from simply an icky mess in your bin to becoming a downright fire hazard. Oil can be quite difficult to remove and motor oil, in particular, can potentially cause a literal dumpster fire if not taken care of. The same goes for the likes of kerosene and lighter fuel. Instead of pouring them into the drain or your trash, be sure to take them to a hazardous waste facility where they can be safely disposed.
- Broken glass. Never throw broken glass as is to the trash. Cushion it with something else and make sure that all the bits and pieces don’t come loose before you dispose of it to avoid injuring animals and people who will eventually come to collect your trash and sort them out if you have not done so as yet.
- Old electronic gadgets. Old or broken laptops, smartphones, and tablets are not only completely recyclable, but throwing them into the trash risks leaking the contents of their batteries to the environment. We have talked a bit about batteries in this piece earlier, so you can tell that this is bad news.
- Unused drugs. Seal your old meds up and don’t just throw bare-naked pills into the trash. Improperly disposed medication can potentially contaminate the environment, poison wildlife, or end up in some scrounging junkie’s hands.
- Detergent powder. If, for some reason, you are unable to use all of that laundry detergent, simply pour them down the drain where running water can dissolve them and take them to the sewage system. Putting them down the garbage risks spilling raw detergent to the soil and contaminating the ground.
- Pesticides. Not only can good old pest-killers potentially kill animals who happen to wander into your collection of unwanted goodies, but they can also leak into the soil and cause serious environmental damage.
- Anything that common sense tells you is recyclable. Some things just don’t belong in the trash and can still be taken apart for recycling or be given a new life altogether. Documents and letters can always be archived, books can be donated, old tools can still be restored, and broken appliances can still be taken apart for useful components. The list goes on and on, and if in doubt, you can always employ the help of a proven waste management company to help you take care of your refuse.