Learn why and how to separate the garbage correctly, the color codes, the good practices and do your part in contributing to the environment.
The last 29th of July marked the day of the “overload of the earth”, date on which all the natural resources available on the planet for the year are exhausted. From that date on, society begins to consume more resources than the planet can regenerate, generating a kind of debt with the environment. One of the ways civil society can reduce this problem is through recycling. Therefore, knowing how to separate the garbage produced should be routine for everyone.
The concept of recycling is old, but it became popular with the launch of the so-called 3 Rs (recycling, reuse and reduction). To give the correct destination to the recyclable residues is considered a public health issue.
Brazil is the 4th largest producer of plastic waste in the world, there are 11 million tons produced per year, however we are one of the countries that less recycles waste on the planet. Of this total, only 1.2% is recycled. The average plastic waste production per Brazilian is 1kg per week.
Most of the badly discarded waste ends up in the environment, contaminating nature in several ways. In the summer of 2018 to 2019, for example, the number of dead animals on the Brazilian coast broke a record.
Knowing how to dispose of garbage correctly and forward the recyclable waste to recycling companies is a way to protect the environment and care for the future of us all. Thinking about it, we prepared this text that talks a little bit about recycling, environment and how to separate the garbage in a correct way.
Why should i know how to seperate garbage for recycling?
Separating garbage correctly and sending it to selective collection companies significantly alleviates dumping in landfills and open dumps, which can contaminate the soil and aggravate the greenhouse effect.
Loft is very concerned about this issue, so our offices seek to meet the highest standards of recycling. Companies play a very important role in this struggle and as citizens, it is important that we pay attention to these attitudes not only in our homes but also in our work environments.
Recycling removes from the environment materials that can take centuries to be eliminated. Plastic, for example, takes 450 years to decompose completely, while glass can take up to 1 million years.
Besides taking care of the planet and our future, the circular economy can be a great investment. Companies such as “Boomera”, a Sao Paulo state company specialized in waste difficult to recycle, increased its turnover from 6 million in 2016 to 40 million.
How to reduce consumption?
There are some changes of habit that you can adopt to reduce consumption and decrease the amount of garbage produced, such as:
- Prefer dishes made of glass or other non disposable materials.
- When possible, avoid buying products in packaging and give preference to bulk options.
- Look for products that offer refills and returnable packaging.
- Do not waste food, buy and cook as much as you consume.
- If you have space at home, make compost.
How badly discarded garbage damages the environment?
The waste exposed to open air causes a type of combustion that releases gases that contribute to the aggravation of the greenhouse effect, such as natural gas methane (CH4). Brazil still has a large amount of dumps, there are almost 3 thousand in the country in about 1,600 cities.
Unlike landfills, the land of the dumps does not have any type of insulation or impermeability. In them, the accumulated garbage releases the slurry, which infiltrates the soil and contaminates the water tables. Dumps are also prone to the proliferation of vectors that cause diseases.
Recyclable waste x non-recyclable waste
Disposing of waste correctly does not depend only on our intuition or the appearance of the material being disposed of. There are a number of things that are not recyclable or cannot be disposed of in the ordinary garbage. We separate here the most common ones in our daily life:
WHAT IS RECYCLABLE?
All discarded waste that can be partially or as a whole reused. These are materials that can return to the productive chain, with the exception of the items we will put in the next topic.
WHAT IS NOT RECYCLABLE?
The site of the Ministry of Environment has raised the main items that are not recyclable. They are: carbon paper, adhesive label, crepe tape, napkins, photographs, cigarette filter, dirty papers, sanitary papers, paper cups. Cables and sockets. Clips, staples, steel sponges, pipes. Mirrors, crystals, ceramics, porcelain.
How to seperate materials for recycling?
- First, separate organic waste from recyclable materials.
- Electronic waste such as computers, mice etc. can contaminate the soil with heavy components and therefore should never be thrown away along with traditional waste. There are collection companies that work with the recycling of these materials.
- Batteries, such as cell phones, should be returned to manufacturers or deposited in specific collectors.
Practically every plastic we throw away can be recycled. Plastic waste is one of the main concerns of environmentalists, as it represents almost 90% of the materials dumped. A good part of the plastics not disposed of correctly end up in the oceans.
That’s why, besides sending the discarded plastics for recycling, the environmentalists affirm that the ideal is that the plastic consumption itself be reduced. There is research that says that if we continue at the current rate of production of plastic waste, by 2030 we will have each year the equivalent of 26,000 new plastic bottles in the sea every km ².
Any paper can be recycled, as long as it does not contain residues of organic materials, such as napkins, paper tissues, toilet paper, greasy pizza boxes, carbon paper, adhesive tapes, cigarettes and adhesive tapes.
Like plastic, most of the glass we throw away is recyclable. The exceptions are lamps, crystals, mirrors, car or tempered glass, ceramic and porcelain.
The advantage of glass is that the material is 100% recyclable, that is, if you throw 5 kg of glass away, the 5 kg will be reused.
A considerable percentage of the metals we throw away are recyclable, such as cans, lids, nails, etc. The exceptions are clips, staples, steel pipes and sponges, electrical equipment.
Although it is recyclable, the process of retransformation of Styrofoam is not feasible and therefore this material is not usually recycled. Besides trying to reduce the consumption of Styrofoam materials, throw them away along with plastics. There are recycling companies that get to reuse part of this material on the civil construction.
Cooking oils can be recycled, but the dumping of this material cannot be done together with the selective collection carried out by the city halls in the neighborhoods. The ideal is to keep the oil used in glasses or pots and take them to the companies that collect and recycle this kind of material.
Organic waste cannot be recycled. All animal or vegetal garbage, such as barks, seeds, food leftovers and wood must be thrown away without going through selective collection. These are also the wastes that less harm the environment and decompose more quickly.