Segregation and Conservation- the things I do

Reading the comments from the previous post, I figured that it makes sense to put together a post with whatever I do, and I could add to them based on everything you guys do. It would be wonderful, wouldn’t it, if even one person started segregating by our efforts?

So here goes.

I segregate my waste into four categories

– Paper – All paper, newspapers, fliers, old notebooks. My domestic help takes the newspapers – I figure that if she makes some money of it- why not? To save space, I either crush empty cartons or stuff them with paper, so that less of my space is used up by the waste.
– Plastics – Plastic containers, bags, shampoo bottles, washed milk packets
– Wet Waste – Vegetable peelings, fruit cores, peels, left over food, egg shells, tissues soiled with food. Both veg and non-veg waste is supposed to go in here.
– Reject – Diapers, hair, sanitary napkins, soiled clothes

Medical Waste – ScribbleHappy was asking about Medical waste. According to BBMP guidelines, they will collect it on a quarterly basis. Do check out this link for more information. There is a lot of detailed information in there. In our apartment complex, we do have separate bins for e-waste, and the others that I have already mentioned, but none for medical waste so far.

I have found that the easiest way to segregate is to have the right number of bins to put things in. If we can’t find the right bin, the waste is most likely to go into the wrong one. I keep one bin for the wet waste handy, in the kitchen/utility area, so that all of it goes right into it, without having to hunt around for it.

Since most of the reject waste is from the bathrooms, it makes sense for the reject bins to be there. I have two bags – one for paper, and another for plastic. So it’s easy once you have it all handy and know where what goes.

I don’t use plastic liners at all, these days. Both my bins are lined with newspaper. The wet waste, unless you put waste with lots of water in it, stays dry and clean, if lined with newspapers. Apparently newspaper works for composting. And even in the landfills, paper would be better than plastic, wouldn’t it? I just clean the bins after they have been emptied.

I would love to have my own compost bin, although how feasible it is in an apartment, I have not idea. Have any of you given it a shot yet? While on composting, do check out this link. Reading this makes me want to try it out. But one step at a time, I guess 🙂 I should worry about furnishing my house first 🙂 My parents have a compost bin too -but they have more space and it’s not an apartment.

Conservation of Water

As I mentioned in my previous post, I try to reuse the RO waste water always. I also try to reuse the water I use to wash vegetables , rice, dals etc. All this goes only into water plants. It helps that I have plenty of plants to water. Of course, I do end up not saving this water sometimes, especially when I am in a hurry, but I do try to do it whenever I can. Sometimes, I end up with too much waste water, when the rains lash down at my balconies, but it still gets used. My neighbour has lots more RO water wasted as she has a larger family. She uses the water to clean bathrooms and the toilets. It’s not easy for her to lug the water everyday, but she does it because she feels strongly enough about it.

In the UK, the motto was ‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle’. Makes so much sense, doesn’t it? Reduce what we use, so that we don’t waste as much, Reuse what we can, and Recycle what we can’t reuse.

So that’s it from me. Tell me, what else do you do? It would be wonderful to pick up more effective techniques to segregate waste and reduce waste as far as possible. And I would love some tips on re-using stuff.

Edited to add : I used to love having long relaxing tub baths, and long showers -but have now completely stopped them – makes me feel too guilty- just the thought of using up so much water. That one, goes in my list of personal sacrifices 🙂

Edited to Add:

Resources – I’ve decided to list all the related links/sites here
http://www.dailydump.org/ – Thanks Nameeta and Seema. This seems like a great resource!
http://smallnotebook.org/2008/04/06/how-to-make-a-worm-compost-bin/
http://bangalore.citizenmatters.in/articles/view/4561-swmrt-solid-waste-management-guidelines

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29 thoughts on “Segregation and Conservation- the things I do

  1. Hey!! Very good info.. I am following most of the things you have mentioned, except for the lining of the newspapers for the wet waste – thanks for this. Saves me the cleaning effort.
    Even I am planning to start composting at home and I came across this site when I googled – http://www.dailydump.org/. They have this compost bin (really cute 🙂 ), I am planning to give it a try as even I live in an apartment.
    Please do check it out.

  2. Smita, I was about to write about Daily Dump when I saw Nameeta’s comment. They sell compost pits called Kambha which are visually appealing as well. They have different sized Kambhas depending on the size of the family and also offer big ones for apartments too. I visited their store in Indira Nagar. I am planning to buy one myself. All we have to do is keep dumping all the wet waste into it on a daily basis. If it’s too wet, we might have to add newspaper bits or dry leaves and mix once in a while. At the end of 90 days, the waste will get converted to compost which can be used in our garden.

    I will definitely be looking into this – not immediately, but definitely in the future. Makes so much sense, doesn’t it?

    And thanks for sharing the tips. I am already segregating waste at home, but few of your tips will help me do a better job.

    I am guilty of letting go of extra water from my RO filter. After reading your post, I will try my best to collect the water and put it to use. Thank you so much Smitha. You are a true inspiration.

    Inspiration? You are embarrassing me! I just do the regular everyday stuff- which most of us must be doing.

  3. Hmmmmm this makes so much sense re…..I guess we all know what to do but don’t make an effort, hai na? Kudos to you for following what you preach 🙂
    I wasn’t preaching 🙂 I was just saying 🙂 But seriously, yes, it is simple, doable and why not, when it can make such a huge difference to the future.

  4. I am going to bookmark this post for my future reference.. As of now I have 3 kind of bins at home.. one for kitchen waste, one for papers and one for plastic. I started the process by telling Adi and M not to put paper/plastic in the waste bin. I have asked them to leave it on the floor so that I can collect it while cleaning and segregate it to the appropriate bin.. change has to start with self na.. slowly and steadily after few months I was once in a while reminding them about the paper/plastic bins.. I didn’t insist it on them on day one.. Instead just started following and showed them my interest in segregation, showed them that I was even ready to collect the papers/plastics from where they leave.. It did have an impact and now they clearly know what goes where..

    one thing I believe in is if you start practicing what you say then down the lane people around you will automatically follow you if they have good senses.. we should practically show them the impact rather than just talking about it.. put it to action is the way to create an impact..

    As next step I would love to compost my kitchen waste.. everytime I throw away those vegetable peels I feel bad.. every single time.. I have browsed these sites that sells compost bins at India, also watched several videos on how they do.. Its definitely on my list when I R2I but now is there any other way?

    sorry for the long comment.. I am so so so for these 3 R’s (Reduce, Reuse Recycle).. A way to pay back to mother earth and nature for all the unlimited benefits that they shower on us unconditionally, that we take for granted every day..

  5. Smitha – 1 question.. how do you use newspaper as lining for waste bin? how is it taken/transferred to the common bin? shouldn’t the garbage be collected in the garbage/plastic bag before placing it on common bin for all apartments?

  6. Such a lovely, inspiring and useful post, Smitha! 🙂 It gave me a lot of ideas and pointers. Thank you tonnes!

    I do segregate my wet waste and dry waste but not in so detailed a manner. I was actually thinking of segregating our rejects too, but don’t do it at present. As per BBMP guidelines, rejects go into the wet waste bin, too, but I am not too comfortable doing that. 😦

    I don’t line my wet waste bin with newspaper – I just put the waste into it as is. The BBMP guys here do not accept paper in the wet waste bin. I just wash the bin every day.

    I am thinking of beginning to compost, too. I have heard of and seen Daily Dump products being used, and they are quite effective for apartments. I am thinking of buying one of their compost pots. You could visit their website and see if there are any products suitable to you.

    About reusing and reducing waste (a few things I do):

    1. I use the containers that we get with parceled food from hotels to hold groceries, or to give food to my maid instead of giving it in plastic bottles.
    2. I re-use old gift wrapping paper. Sometimes I use newspapers to wrap gifts too – gives a nice, vintage look to the packaging.
    3. Some of the trash – like plastic bottles, newspapers, pista shells – can be used to make crafts. I am not very well qualified to tell you any further. 🙂 There are loads of ideas on the internet, though.
    4. I carry my cloth bag whenever I go out, as well as a water bottle, so I don’t end up buying and using and disposing more plastic.
    5. My mother is a veritable source of information on how to re-use vegetable peel for making chutneys and stuff. I have got a lot to learn from her.
    6. Big plastic cans that we get mineral water(is it even mineral water?!) can be cut into half and made into hanging planters for your balconies. I have seen that being done, but have no idea how to go about it.
    7. Old clothes can be cut into pieces and used for wiping in the house.
    8. Little bits of leftover soap, shampoos and detergent can be used for cleaning wash basins and toilets.

    Sorry about the looooonnnnggggg comment. Got a bit carried away. 🙂

  7. Wow, that’s a lot of effort. Really great to know you are painstakingly working on this.

    Wish we had some kind of a system like that here. I have often wondered how will the segregation happen at all if we put all of it together and just throw it away in garbage? 😐

  8. Hey Smitha, Lovely post!
    I do most of what you do too. I’ve yet to start on the re-use of the RO waste, though. About the plastic bottles, glass bottles and empty cardboxes that get discarded, there are a lot of creative people who make lovely goodies out of these. Are you a member of secondtonone group on FB? You can collect these material and courier them to these people who gladly accept them. You must be knowing Shruti too of the Artsycraftsy fame. She conducts workshops at Ananda Vidyalaya and needs such stuff regularly. Here’s a link:
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/secondnone/doc/398338363560637/
    I am collecting stuff that can be given away 🙂

  9. I do recycle newspapers and magazines. I reuse my plastic bags to store vegetables in the fridge. Lining dustbins with newspapers sounds interesting..will give it a shot. Thanks for the post Smitha ..

  10. Thanks Smithus for this post 🙂 🙂
    I’m bookmarking it for the future…

    Here, we segregate our waste and keep separate trash bags, but the guy who collects it, clubs it!! :-/
    Hopeless!! We have complained to our Office, let’s see what they do about it…

    • That’s sad, isn’t it? If they club it together, after all your efforts -that is just painful. Hopefully they will listen to you guys. I’ve heard that this happens here as well, when the garbage collectors aren’t trained enough..

  11. My uncle and masi that I mentioned in my last comment on your last post do the same thing: composting at home.and their daughters of 10 and 7, also know the process of composting and the benefits of it 🙂 this the website of the org they regularly contribute at to make their locality green,clean and environmental friendly: http://swachcoop.com/

    there is so much one can do to save the environment and “do their bit” and I would love to contribute too…guilty for wasting the cooking water 😦 but reading your post,I’ll try to not waste the water that I used to wash veggies, dal, rice etc and reuse it in my garden…

    long baths/tub baths I don’t indulge in fact we don’t have a bath tub at all!

    mostly I try to keep the dry and wet waste separate but not down to the core categories that you’ve mentioned: but I’ve made a note 🙂

    Lining the dustbin with newspaper is a great idea…noted and shall be put in action..also I liked the idea of giving the newspapers to the domestic help…like like like!

    loved this post Smiths!

  12. Brilliant Smiths…. 🙂

    I do have the plastic and paper bags at home…the wet waste is also there separately !!! But there isn’t a separted collection system for garbage here. This apartment is yet to introduce such a system.
    And it totally shocks me to see the garbage collecting man, put his hand through the house wastes to separate re-usable plastic bottles and other stuff. Why can’t people pack it separately and leave it for him ???

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