I decided to separate the garbage. Where to begin?

What happens to him next?

There are three options: bury, burn or recycle. In short, the problem is that the earth cannot handle some types of waste on its own, such as plastic, which takes several hundred years to decay. When waste is burned, a large number of substances hazardous to human health are released. Besides, if it is possible to take all these 4,5 million tons and process them into new products, why burn them? It turns out that even garbage, with a competent approach, is not waste that needs to be put somewhere, but valuable raw materials. And the main task of separate collection is to use it as efficiently as possible. The reasons seem to have been sorted out. For those who are afraid of this terrible number – 400 kg, and who do not want to leave behind mountains of garbage, dirty water and unsuitable air, a simple and logical system has been developed: reduce, reuse, recycle. That is: 1. Reduce consumption: consciously approach the purchase of new things; 2. Reuse: think about how a thing can serve me after the main use (for example, everyone in the house has a plastic bucket left after buying sauerkraut or pickles, right?); 3. Recycle: waste that remains, and which has nowhere to use – take it for recycling. The last point causes the greatest number of doubts and questions: “How, where, and is it convenient?” Let’s figure it out.

From theory to practice 

All waste is conditionally divided into several categories: paper, plastic, metal, glass and organic. The first thing to start with is separate collection – no, not from buying beautiful garbage containers at Ikea – but from finding out what can be recycled in your city (or region) and what is not. It’s easy to do: use the map on the site. It shows not only the locations of public containers, but also chain stores where they accept batteries, old clothes or household appliances, and volunteer campaigns to collect certain types of waste, which take place on an ongoing basis. 

If big changes scare you, you can start with small changes. For example, do not throw batteries into a landfill, but take them to large stores. This is already a big step.

Now that it is clear what to share and where to carry, it is necessary to organize the space of the house. At first, it seems that 33 separate containers would be needed for separate garbage collection. In fact, this is not so, two may be enough: for food and non-recyclable waste, and for what is to be sorted. The second section, if desired, can be divided into several more: for glass, for iron, for plastic and for paper. It doesn’t take up much space, especially if you have a balcony or a pair of crazy hands. Organics should be separated from the rest of the garbage for one simple reason: so as not to stain it. For example, a cardboard that has been covered with a layer of fat is no longer recyclable. The next item on our list is to arrange logistics. If containers for separate collection are right in your yard, this issue is removed from the agenda. But if you have to drive to them through the whole city, you need to understand how you are going to get there: on foot, by bike, by public transport or by car. And how often can you do it. 

What and how to submit? 

There is one general rule: waste must be clean. This, by the way, removes the issue of the safety and hygiene of their storage: only food waste smells and deteriorates, which, we repeat, must be stored separately from the rest. Clean jars and flasks can stand in the house for more than one month. What we will hand over for sure: clean and dry boxes, books, magazines, notebooks, packaging, paper, cardboard, office drafts, paper wrappers. By the way, disposable paper cups are not recyclable paper. What we definitely won’t hand over: very greasy paper (for example, a box heavily soiled after pizza) and a tetra pack. Remember, Tetra Pak is not paper. It is possible to rent it, but it is very difficult, so it is better to find an eco-friendly alternative. What exactly will we hand over: bottles and cans. What we definitely won’t hand over: crystal, medical waste. In principle, medical waste of any type cannot be handed over – they are considered hazardous. What we can possibly rent: some special types of glass, if we look hard for someone who will accept them. Glass is considered the most harmless type of waste. It does not harm the environment. Therefore, if your favorite mug is broken, you can throw it into ordinary garbage – nature will not suffer from this. 

: What we will hand over for sure: clean cans, metal caps from bottles and cans, aluminum containers, metal objects. What we definitely won’t hand over: foil and spray cans (only if they are recognized as safe in large quantities). What we can hand over: frying pans and other electrical household trash. : There are 7 types of plastic: 01, 02, 03 and so on until 07. You can find out what type of plastic you have on the packaging. What we will hand over for sure: plastic 01 and 02. This is the most popular type of plastic: water bottles, shampoos, soaps, household products, and more. What we will definitely not hand over: plastic 03 and 07. It is better to completely refuse this type of plastic. What we can hand over: plastic 04, 05, 06, polystyrene and foamed plastic 06, bags, disks, plastic from household appliances – if there are special collection points in your city. 

: At the moment there are no special places for the collection of organic matter. You can throw it away with unsorted garbage or freeze it in the freezer and send it to the compost heap in the country (or arrange with friends who have one). Batteries, electrical appliances, mercury thermometers and household appliances must also be handed over separately. Where it can be done – look at the map. I hope our guide has been helpful to you. Now the saying has become popular: the journey of a thousand years begins with the first step. Don’t be afraid to do it and move at your own pace.

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