September is International Clean-up and recycling month, dedicated to keeping our environment clean and free of litter. While community clean-up initiatives are a great way to clean up spaces and create a good sense of awareness, two key initiatives will continue to keep our environments clean: ‘separation at source’ and recycling biodegradable waste.
What does ‘separation at source’ mean?
A bit of jargon, commonly heard among waste management professionals, separation at source simply means keeping different waste types separated in their own bins. A simple exercise that has a huge importance. Separation at source makes recycling easier, more cost effective and environmentally friendly. Mixed waste volumes require mechanical separation where recyclables then need to be cleaned and allocated according to their material type. Some waste volumes that appear to be very mixed are likely to go straight to landfill.
By separating your waste, you essentially increase the value of recyclable waste, save costs, water, and keep recyclables out of landfill.
Recycling biodegradable waste.
Every year on International Coastal Clean-up Day, data is collected to see what culprit waste items persistently accumulate on our beaches. This research has found that the amount of biodegradable waste found on beaches has increased over recent years due to the popularity and perception that biodegradable packaging is more environmentally friendly. This is only the case if it is composted.
While commercial establishments opt to swap out plastic with biodegradables, it needs to be supported by a composting unit. Like plastics, biodegradable waste can be recycled with food and organic waste as long as the on-site infrastructure is available.
As we near the busy festive season, commercial activity will increase, and so will waste generation. Look out for the businesses and that actively separate their waste at source, this includes organic waste.