Let’s get to know each other better and open the our trash bins. We tend to hide our trash, and it’s always somewhere hidden… As if we are ashamed of it. Maybe we actually should be?! Let’s together discover what kind of trash we all have there. I would like to talk about these three groups or trash that are most common:
- Food waste
- Other solid trash
I would like to talk separately about each type of trash.
I would like to start with the Plastic. It is artificial, human made material, and there are many different types of it, it is found everywhere: in clothing, in everyday tools and packaging. But in general all the plastic materials are not biodegradable and once it has been made, if not recycled , it will continue exist for around thousand years. So we have to be cautious of the amount of plastic we use. Don’t misunderstand me, plastic is a great material, but as it is so indestructible it should not be used in the disposable and single use items. For example items like plastic bags, plastic cups, cutlery, packaging, disposable shavers, toothbrushes and so on. The problem is the quantity of the plastic we use everyday. Recycling in this case is good solution, bet the best would be to replace those items into reusable items. But to make you understand the gravity of the problem I would like to imagine all the dolls that you played as a kid (or the car models, not to exclude boys) and realize that all of them are still somewhere in the landfill and will continue existing for couple more thousand years if they are made from plastic, just next to the every toothbrush that you have used in your life.
Food waste in UAE is a big issue. As you can see in the statistics I mentioned before, around 38% of our waste is food waste. Before digging deeper in this subject I would like to tell you why personally this matter makes me sad. First of all, starvation is still a big problem in our planet, and the countries that suffer are not far away from us. Secondly, in my family house where I grow up I was always taught to respect food. In Lithuania the bread is considered Saint (like rise in other countries) and should never be thrown away. There is a believed superstition that if a slice of bread falls on the floor you have to pick it up and kiss it to apologize, because if you don’t one day you might not have enough food in your home. We would always collect the pieces of bread that would get dry or rotten and instead of throwing it away we would bring it to our neighbours who had chickens, so it would be used to feed them. I am telling this, so that you can understand why I feel that the food has to be respected. But let’s put the feelings aside and talk science. Food waste environmentally might seem not an issue, because it easily degrades. And you are right, but the problem is that when the trash is not separated, food waste mixes with solid waste and interfere with the biodegradation as it mostly do not reach the soil. Recycling and cautious consumption is the clear solution to control the food waste. The advantage in buying power of people in UAE works as a disadvantage in this case, as people do not value food.
Another trash category is solid trash. It is glass bottles, containers, canes, papers, electronics. All of them can be easily recycled, but again people need to get in a habit to separate their trash and it would not be an issue occupying more and more landfills. People should be educated about it and the recycling bins should be easily accessible.