Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Using 3Rs (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle): A Personal Experience by Isaac T. Abello*

Waste segregation is a habit forming action.

Based on my experience, change in mindset and tons of discipline are the key factors in a successful waste management.

I conducted a one-month waste segregation activity in our house last 2006. Before proceeding with the activity, I gathered a baseline of our average waste generated per day for a week. We average roughly 5 kilograms of garbage per day. These include kitchen refuse, bottles, cans, plastic containers, broken glass and plastics, dry leaves in our lawn, used papers and cartoons, sanitary napkins, and used toilet papers.
We followed the segregation scheme below:

The process of segregation is done early in the morning around 6 to 7 am. Each segregated garbage materials are weighed differently. This is to determine how much recyclable, reusable, compostable and residuals are generated daily.  Recyclables are being sold to scrap buyers roaming around the village.

Plastic containers
New papers
Kitchen refuse
Sanitary napkins
Glass jars
Used papers
(not wet)
Dried leaves and twigs on lawns
Used tissue
Old clothing
Broken plastic chairs and toys
Barbecue sticks
Used cottons

Tin cans

Used cotton buds

Broken glass

Used plastic bags

For the first week of implementation, it was exciting and tolerable. However, as the days go by, boredom and exhaustion sipped in. There goes the discipline that garbage segregation requires and so is patience.

I employed all the patience and discipline I have in order to reach that self-mandated rule for a month segregation.  Finally, I did it. The results were self-gratifying. Out of the average 5 kilograms garbage we generated per day, the garbage collectors are collecting around 10 percent, or 500 grams waste daily. These are the residuals, the garbage that can never be composted and reuse. This means that only 500 grams of our garbage go to the landfill of Iloilo City.

After that month of segregation, it is clear to me that a sense of accountability in our actions is what we need to implement the 3Rs (reduce, reuse and recycle). The system I adopted was all about forming a daily routine to have cleaner household surroundings in an ecologically sound manner.

By doing waste segregation diligently, I think it is possible that we can reduce our garbage generated every day.

We might not also see mountain-like landfills any more, or probably we can have a zero waste planet.

If all of us will be doing garbage segregation as part of our daily habit, I think we might have a greener environment. Possibly, we might not encounter “Ondoy-like floods again”.

* Isaac Abello is a MENRM student 

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