Kitchen Garbage Disposal & Waste Management
When it comes to kitchen garbage disposal and waste management, many households neglect to do their part in maintaining a system to ensure the proper disposal of their garbage. While you can’t expect the garbage disposer to take care of the job for you, there are steps you need to keep in mind to maintain the system and ensure it’s functioning properly.
There are many benefits to implementing a proper garbage disposal and waste management system such as preventing pollution, saving energy, helping sustain the environment for future generations, saving money, and allowing products to be used to their fullest extent just to name a few. If not all, one of those benefits should move you to create a system that works for you.
Unlike other places around the globe, Trinidad isn’t a country whose culture is built on recycling or even any sort of proper waste management. So we‘ve gathered some information that you can use as a guide to begin creating a culture, firstly within your homes; that promotes the quality of life we live.
A properly functioning Garbage disposal & Waste management system at home you should consider:
Plastics natural decomposition can last from 400-100 years and there are also a few plastics that aren’t degradable. Beside not being able to degrade plastic, it is the most found material in clogged drains and polluted oceans. 1 in 3 ocean species have been found entangled in marine litter; mostly plastics. Just about a year ago we saw our own waterways here in Trinidad overflowing with plastic bottles & garbage, and a truck had to be hired to clean the area after the waters receded.
Food items (usually raw foods such as vegetables and fruits) that can be placed into reuse-able bags or packaging is a great way to help manage the amount of waste your household produces. Many times we find ourselves unconscious about the way our foods are packaged and the amount of waste including the dreaded plastic that is thrown out before we even consume the product. Many consumers remove the packaging before storing away their produce and/or groceries, one way to reduce this, is not using the disposable produce bags provided for your raw foods in the produce sections. If we stopped to think of the amount of plastic bags /wraps used for produce thrown out daily by consumers it becomes mind-blowing.
We have been seeing this reusable bag concept implemented particularly at Massy Stores as they now encourage the use of their reusable shopping bags and steering away from freely handing out disposable plastic bags.
Composting is a microbial process that converts plant materials such as grass clippings and leaves to a more usable organic soil amendment or mulch. Instead of throwing your perishable food waste into the garbage; it may be a great idea to start a compost pile or compost bin. By placing your raw food waste into a bin or into a hole in your yard, and layering it with soil every so often, you not only help reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases, specifically methane, which is produced by landfills but you also increase the quality of the soil by raising the amount of nutrients and micronutrients. If you are not into the whole digging dirt business, we have a few companies here in Trinidad that will build and maintain your compost pile for you. Check them out here.
Minimize Use of Paper
This is possibly the easiest way for any family to manage their waste as many of the worlds’ runnings are now geared towards online activities. Beside the obvious reasons for saving the trees (40% of all global wood was used in paper manufacturing), paper is about 71.6 million tons of waste per year in the US alone. Imagine a world where every citizen did their part to eliminate paper waste; we’d be 50% closer to having a healthy self sustainable earth for our future generations. Beside helping the environment and the trees, the benefits of paperless activities are endless as we’ve seen many Trinidad businesses, have offered online services with delivery included. From banking, to retail, the options are now in place for almost everything to be done online.
DIY Soaps and Detergents
When we spoke of plastics being a major contributor to the litter of the world, we mention that there are a few plastics that don’t degrade, well many of them happen to be the packaging for detergents and soaps.
We’ve seen this trend grow within recent years as people begin to be more conscious about the things that go into and on their bodies. Specifically focusing on the environmental benefits of DIY body care items, many are made with raw natural recipes, excluding the synthetic ingredients usually found in soaps and detergents. So if saving the planet isn’t your cup of tea, adding DIY body care to your lifestyle can help save yourself by reducing the amount of un-natural substances that your skin absorbs. You can find many online sites and how-to blogs on these processes and we recommend you check them out. In addition to reducing waste this concept reduces your household grocery bill as well.
Repurpose and Recycle
Recycling is the action or process of converting waste into reusable material. For eg. returning your glass bottles to your local manufacturer (in some cases a monetary incentive is offered in return) for the glasses to be re-processed and used again. Here in Trinidad we aren’t very big on recycling as it is not mandated by law. We do have instead concerned, proactive citizens that have begun doing their parts in establishing private systems and companies to both recycle and reuse as much waste from the island and environs as they can. Repurposing has also become a new trend for the environment conscious niche which is gracefully making its way into many households. For eg. After opening and finishing a bottle of pesto sauce, this bottle can now either be used as a drinking cup, a plant pot, a pen holder; and the list goes on. Upcycling should also be mentioned in this section as it has defined the repurposing trend. Upcycling is basically reusing what would have been discarded objects and/or materials in such a way as to create a new product of higher quality or value than the original. Usually the new items are of a completely different purpose than the original piece. This also has become one of the new ideas for startups in the pandemic.
As much as we make fun of those words, we must acknowledge the role these people play in conserving our island. They purchase your old scrap metal for the purpose of reuse. They play a major role in keeping our roadside, and houses free from abandoned iron materials, resulting in fewer items reaching our waterways causing floods and pollution.
Donate Items Whenever Possible
One man’s garbage is another man’s treasure. We live in a country that has been struggling to stay afloat in the ‘new norm’ and many have lost their jobs or their means of income. Instead of discarding items such as used appliances, clothes, toys and many small household items can be donated to those in need. Trinidad has many donation drives that will collect your items free of charge.
As citizens of a society we have a responsibility to dispose & manage our waste sustainably. Here’s a list of a few companies that can assist in your garbage disposal and/or recycling or reusing your unwanted waste.
SWMCOL – Their mission is to protect and enhance the environment in Trinidad and Tobago through the provision of high quality, efficient, customer oriented, cost effective and sustainable waste collection, treatment, disposal, resource recovery and educational services.
iCare – The ICARE Project is a Phase two of the Beverage Containers Cleanup Project and is aimed at encouraging recycling across Trinidad and Tobago to reduce the amount of solid waste being sent to our already overburdened landfills. This project will encourage citizens to be more proactive and involved in recycling at homes, communities and schools across the island