How to Practice Effective Waste Management

Effective waste management is essential for the health and hygiene of your family and neighbors. We all have some waste, either dry or wet garbage, and this needs proper handling. Now, waste management requires the participation of everyone in the family. Thankfully, there are many responsible ways that you can smartly and responsibly manage waste at home. With some creativity and discipline, you’ll reduce your waste in a very organized manner so that it won’t create any problems in the future. Dependant on the scale of your waste, you might want to know what does a 15 yard dumpster look like?

Here are five ways to effectively manage waste at home.

Know What You Can’t Throw Away

Not everything can be thrown in a dumpster. Some items are acceptable, and others are prohibited. However, this list varies depending on the location. Individuals can throw most household and construction debris in roll-off containers. You can put any material in a dumpster as long as it’s not hazardous. Individuals can dump most household waste like junk and appliances, furniture, yard waste, and construction materials like concrete, roofing shingles, etc.

Landfills nowadays are better equipped and hence can keep contaminants contained. But, some materials are prohibited or banned by the local and federal government to protect people and the environment. Therefore, if you’re found throwing them away, you can be penalized or pay unwanted additional fees.

Some things you can’t throw away include asbestos, electronics, batteries, fuels, propane tanks, paints, stains, etc. Please check with your state for the complete list of things that you can and can’t put in the dumpsters. We should also mention that some states have regulations on throwing plastic, paper, and glass, and in others, individuals can throw these items in the same bin. It’s, therefore, necessary that you understand your city’s policies and guidelines on throwing these items.

Have a Compost Heap

Composting is an excellent way of managing your waste at home. Create your compost site in a sunny area or one that is slightly shaded in your yard. Individuals should ideally compost over grass or dirt directly. But those with a small yard area can do it on a concrete patio. When you’re making a compost heap, you usually have two choices; a cold or a hot compost heap. Although easy to make, a cold compost heap takes much more time for the compost to be ready.  While a hot one requires some effort, the compost will be prepared within 6-8 weeks.

So how do you make a cold compost heap? Fill your bin with some organic materials, such as leaves, grass clippings and other plant matter, soil, and manures (but avoid dog, cat, and human waste). Then whenever you need to dispose of kitchen scraps, bury them in the center of the heap and add more leaves, etc. Leave your bin to compost until it is full, which can take as long as a year.

On the other hand, a hot compost heap is made by mixing organic materials, then filling the entire bin. Once it warms up and is hot to the touch, stir to cool it down. It’ll then heat up after a few days/weeks, so remember to keep going until it no longer heats up when you stir. Then allow it to rest and finish composting.

If your compost site seems to be rotting, add some more organic materials such as dead leaves and soil. If it’s too dry, add water or more organic materials such as grass clippings and other plant matter. Turn your composite pile whenever it starts producing an ammonia smell. Properly maintaining your compost site will hasten the composting process, and soon you’ll have plenty of nutrient-rich compost available for use. Once your compost is ready, you can use it to fertilize your garden or lawn and other plants in your yard.

Reduce Waste Volume As Much As Possible

Consuming less is the best way to reduce our waste. Many of us buy things that we don’t need so by cutting back on what we shop for, we can reduce our trash problem. Here are some ways to ensure that you end up with fewer items to throw in the garbage:

Reusable bottles – Millions of empty water and soda bottles are tossed in the trash every day. Reusable bottles can save you money while reducing waste. Instead of buying bottled water, think of carrying your water with you. Also, consider investing in a reusable travel mug.

Reusable grocery bags – Carrying your own reusable grocery bags will help minimize the use of plastic single-use grocery bags, which in turn minimizes the number of plastic bags that end up in landfills and waterways. Some stores will even give you a discount for carrying your own bag.

Purchase products that come in less packaging or in packaging that you can recycle.

Avoid food and drink containers and utensils that can only be used once, such as single-use coffee cups, napkins, straws, etc.

Minimize Your Paper Volume

Instead of buying a magazine, read it online. There are digital magazine subscriptions for which you can opt out anytime you want. Also, instead of receiving your bills in the mail, let the company email you. Plus, some companies today are using e-receipts rather than paper receipts. They are easy to keep and produce should you have a complaint later on. Additionally, consider reading e-books other than buying paper-printed ones.

Donate Items

Donating old and unused items can significantly reduce your home garbage. If you have tools, clothes, and electronics that you are not using, but they’re in pretty good condition, you can give them to charity rather than throwing them away as waste. Not only will this help in waste management, but you’ll also assist individuals who need those items.

Churches and other organizations usually have a donation program. Simply look for one within your community, gather these items, and donate to those in need.

Reuse Boxes

Reusing is also another great way of reducing garbage. Boxes can be reused many times until they’re worn out. So instead of throwing them away, you should store them for future use.

For instance, you can use them to pack your things when moving and for presents and gifts. You can also make safety kits, toy boxes, and a box shelf out of them. Or you can turn them into a waste bin, a bed for your pet, or grow plants in them. And instead of throwing away jewelry boxes, you can use them to store your jewelry to protect it from damage.

Effective waste management is essential not only to our well-being but also to the environment. It is, therefore, a responsibility for all of us. When everyone handles their waste correctly, we can ensure a clean and safe environment and better health. The most important thing to remember is to practice waste avoidance and minimization. That means donating unused items, not using disposable items, and recycling old items to reduce how much waste goes into our landfills.