During my time at Yo-Waste as the operations and sustainability lead, I’ve had the chance to interact with our clients and other people in-depth to among other things try to understand what can drive a person to consider separating their waste at home or workplace, and also what are some of the major hindrances they face in undertaking this initiative.
Among others, people cited things like lack of enough separation apparatus like bags or bins, lack of interest to invest that time and most of all lack of knowledge on which waste goes in which bin if they were to separate their waste. Most of the other hindrances can be toppled easily by providing bins or bags, incentifying people to make it worth their while and others which will be covered in detail in a later article.
But in this article, I’d like to cover the problem of lack of detailed information on which waste goes in which bin once a person decides to separate their waste and has the right apparatus like bins or bags to start.
So assuming you now have 3 empty garbage bags which is the standard quantity per week provided by waste haulers in Kampala and most other areas, or you’re a business or organization that has 3 bins for waste disposal.
First things first, waste is usually classified into three broad categories including organic waste, recyclables, and landfill waste.
Now if you are using garbage bags, just assign each kind of waste a bag and you can label each bag with household stationery like a marker. For a business go a little further and label your bins with the labels mentioned above.
Now that everything is set, we can get to the purpose of this article, that is, which waste goes in which bin?
This category contains waste usually known as biodegradable waste, composting material, among others, but in simple terms, it’s waste that can easily and naturally decay by itself back into the earth.
Waste that goes into this category includes;
Food scraps i.e. leftovers and spoiled food, fruit pits and peels, vegetables, bread, and grains, e.t.c
Plants i.e. leaves, flowers and floral trimmings, grasses and weeds, branches and brush, e.t.c
This category contains waste that cannot decay naturally back into the earth or takes a very long time to decay and hence is dangerous to the earth. It is also a waste type that can be recycled or turned into something else that is useful. Waste that goes into this category includes;
Plastics i.e. clean, dry and empty plastic bags, bottles (any size of water and fizzy drinks), buckets, coffee cup lids, containers and clamshells, cups, and plates(plastic only, no styrofoam), laundry detergent bottles, e.t.c.
Paper that is clean, dry and unsoiled i.e. computer and office paper, egg cartons, envelops, junk mail and magazines, newspapers, sticky notes, wrapping paper (non-metallic), shredded paper placed and sealed in a paper bag, paper bags, empty and clean coffee cups, e.t.c.
Metal, with no liquids or food i.e. aluminum cans, aluminum foils and trays, steel cans, spray cans that are empty and clean, paint cans that are empty and clean, metallic caps and lids, e.t.c
Glass, with no liquids or food and, should not be shuttered or if shuttered should be sealed in a plastic container and labeled i.e. jars, bottles.
This category contains waste that can neither decay on its own nor is recycled into something else.
Waste that goes in this category includes;
Diapers, ceramic dishware or glassware, plastic items mixed with metal or rubber, sponges, rubber bands, pens and pencils, mylar bags or shiny metal bags ( potato chips, candy bars, balloons, etc), styrofoam, Wood — small pieces of plywood, pressboard, and painted or stained wood, Incandescent light bulbs (no fluorescents or HIDs), etc.
Now that you know which waste goes in which bin it is obvious that waste that belongs to one category cannot also belong to another and therefore should not be mixed with the risk of contamination if mixed.
As you’ve come this far in the article, you might be wondering about some kinds of waste that you generate but where not placed in any of the three major categories above. Don’t worry, the final part of this article covers a kind of waste that requires special treatment and is usually handled and collected differently and often by qualified professionals. It includes;
Hazardous waste i.e. cooking oil and grease, asbestos, medical remains, expired drugs, etc.
Electronic appliances, batteries, electronics, etc.
Construction debris, rocks, or stones.
Fluorescent or HID light bulbs, etc.
With all that information, you’re ready to start separating your waste both at the household level and business level.
For more help on getting this initiative started and getting your waste delivered to recyclers after your part, visit www.yowasteapp.com or reach out to the yo-waste team directly at email@example.com and let us walk with you every step of this journey.