As a kid, I saw my Parents do wonderful things in the society and one of them was a campaign that my Father started. It was called the recycling scheme. It was same as what we call “Waste Segregation at the Source” today, but at that time it was a quite a new concept.

Some of you might not be aware of the concept of “Waste Segregation at the Source”. Let me explain that to you.

Where does the waste arise from? Who creates the waste that we see dumped on the roadsides and litter areas? It comes from us. We are the source of that waste. Each one of us contributes to it daily. We eat food and some of the food is left over in our plate which is a waste. We cook food and the peels of the vegetables and fruits are a waste. We eat a packet of chips and other packaged items and the wrapper is the waste. We use various things bandaids, diapers, sanitary napkins, condoms etc. which leads to waste. So, we basically create tons of waste every single day.

All of this waste cannot be disposed in the same way. Food waste gets decomposed at a much faster rate than the non-biodegradable material like polythene and plastics which can be recycled. So, there are different types of wastes and if we segregate them properly – we can enable the disposal of them separately.

So, what are the categories of waste

  • Biodegradable – This food waste which includes food items, mud and plants. This waste can be easily decomposed.
  • Non-biodegradable – This is all the material that is synthetically produced like polythenes, plastic, glass etc. These items can be recycled.
  • Sanitary – This waste is contaminated with anything produced by a human or animal body like diapers, sanitary napkins, used condoms, used bandaids etc. These items currently end up in a landfill which is burnt. It is not the best way to dispose them and a lot of research is going on to find an environment friendly way to dispose these.
  • Medical – This waste is basically expired medicines. Most of the pharmacy companies have a way to dispose this waste.
  • Electrical – Fused bulbs, tubelights, plugs, wires, batteries etc. Anything that has wires and plugs in it. Parts of the electrical waste can be reused and rest ends up in landfills.

If we mix all this waste and give to our garbage man. He puts all of this in the landfill, whereas we can reduce the amount that goes into the landfill by 80-90% if we segregate this and send it to the right places.

My father saw this opportunity and he went house to house in our colony educating people about it. The campaign was quite a success and a number of ragpickers were asked to collect non-biodegradable waste which they could sell to the recycling units. These ragpickers would otherwise need to sort out the non-biodegradable waste from the mix of waste – which I say was really bad way to do it. These ragpickers respected my father so much because he gave them a clean business which was highly lucrative. They need not spend their days working in the garbage anymore.

I got inspired from dad and led the Waste management program in my society. It had to do with educating the residents and garbage collectors. It is quite a challenge because some people are just lazy to do this segregation.

My appeal to all of you is that – Take Responsibility of your Waste. You should make sure that your waste lands at the right place and you reduce your waste footprint on this planet.

If any of you need more information of the “Waste Segregation Program” – please contact me. You could also use Google alternatively.