The foundation for any waste management program is the three R’s - Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Typically the first step to manage your waste is by never generating them in the first place. If you are able to reduce all feasible waste, the next step then focuses on ways to reuse materials in an effort to extend the life of the item. Finally, recycle all the remaining materials that are accepted locally.
A fourth, in some circles, R – re-buy - encourages the use of products that contained recycled material. This assists in providing an incentive to recyclers.
Proper waste management allows organisations to reduce costs and liabilities. It also allows householders to take control of the waste generated, especially as the collection of waste has become sporadic in recent times. In addition to protecting the environment, proper waste management benefits the country through reducing waste accumulation at our disposal sites or landfills.
Let’s take a look at each of these elements and how they contribute to better management of our waste.
The best way to stick to your plan of proper waste management is to not generate the waste in the first place. Consider the following list to help you on your way:
See below a few options on ways to reduce your use of disposables.
We all generate waste every day in some form. To help reduce the amount of waste you generate, look for ways to reuse the items by finding a new purpose or use for it. Some simple ideas include reusing old tablecloths or sheets for cleaning rags, reusing containers for storage for example. And for all those people who still print on single-sided office paper turn the unused paper into scratch work.
Most things are like cats - they have multiple lives. It's simply up to us to let them live out their lives!
Once a product has exhausted its lives, make it part of the great cycle - send it back to start over again as something new!
DID YOU KNOW?
Finally, if we need to "close the loop" of the waste management cycle and encourage recycling Consumers should purchase products that contain post-consumer recyclable material as this will encourage manufacturers to use more recycled material in their products than natural/virgin resources.
We, as consumers, are able to drive the demand for recycled products and contribute to the sustainability of the industry.
Your guide to recycling codes on plastics and which ones are recycled in Jamaica
Number 1 Plastics
PET or PETE (polyethylene terephthalate) a relatively cheap and strong transparent plastic found in soft drink and water bottles; mouthwash bottles; peanut butter, salad dressing and vegetable oil containers; ovenable food trays.
Number 2 Plastics
HDPE (high density polyethylene) a strong, transparent plastic with good resistance against chemicals. Pigments are used to add colour and often used for juice bottles, bleach, detergent and household cleaner, pill and shampoo bottles; motor oil bottles; some butter and yogurt tubs.
Number 3 Plastics
V (Vinyl) or PVC is tough and weathers well, so it is commonly used for piping, siding and similar applications. Never burn PVC, because it releases toxins.
Number 4 Plastics
LDPE (low density polyethylene) a tough highly flexible plastic used for squeezable bottles, dry cleaning and shopping bags, and carpet.
Number 5 Plastics
PP (polypropylene) a strong light plastic with a high melting point, and so is often chosen for containers that must accept hot liquid like some yogurt and ice cream containers, syrup bottles and ketchup bottles.
Number 6 Plastics
PS (polystyrene) is stiff and rigid used in disposable cutlery, plates and cups and CD cases. Alternatively they can also be used to make food containers, which are now banned in Jamaica.
Number 7 Plastics
Other – A wide variety of plastic resins that don’t fit into the previous categories are lumped into number 7.
In Jamaica # 1 PET/PETE and #2 HDPE are currently being collected for recycling.
Composting is the recycling of plant and other organic matter. This process results in an earthy material that is great for enriching the soil.
Composting is crucial to our efforts to preserve the environment. By recycling these materials we are not only reducing the amount of waste that goes to landfills we are also creating a more fertile environment to produce our own organic fruits and vegetables. Composting can reduce yard waste picked up by the garbage truck by anywhere from 50 to 75%.
Let us try to compost simple items we would normally throw away:
Time, as with anything else, is another critical element to successful composting. It takes approximately six to eight months for organic materials to fully break down. Occasional turning of your compost pile can assist in the breakdown of organic material and facilitate aeration. However, another school of thought states that this process is a natural one and would occur without any human intervention so it can be left on its own. Occasional turn won't hurt, especially since you'll be adding new material regularly.
It is important to note that while all organisms could possibly be composted, some are not recommended for composting. The organisms on the DO NOT USE list are not recommended because they attract rodents, other pests and sometimes create offensive odours. In addition some may create an adverse result. These include:
Composting is a natural process that we merely facilitate. It requires just a little thought and effort in order to reap the benefits of an environment preserved for future generations. This is one of the little habits that we can get into that will have a positive effect. Take some time look at your back yard, pick a spot. Rally your family, neighbours and friends and get going. It’s too easy and important not to.