The Cleanup Day is here, and here are some tips for Cleanup Heroes.
First of all, you need to know what is recyclable in your area. In general, this is often paper, metal, glass and plastic bottles. Check out whether it makes sense to collect wood, textiles, tires, electronics or construction and demolition waste for recycling.
- Use bags of different colors for each type of recyclable;
- Clean up in small groups, with each person holding one bag for litter and one for a different type of recyclable;
Depending on the site of your cleanup, you will face biowaste to some extent (garden waste, food leftovers, yard trimmings). The general rule for dealing with such waste is to not mix it with other types. The reasons are pretty clear:
- It worsens the quality of recyclables, and recyclers can even refuse to process the contaminated batch.
- Buried in landfill, organic waste releases gases that contribute to climate change.
- Green waste is no good for incineration plants either: as biowaste contains a lot of water, excessive energy is needed to burn it.
- Make a compost pile in a shady spot onsite;
- Transport organic waste to a compost facility in your area;
- Leave biowaste where you found it, so it can biodegrade naturally in the environment.
- Medical or pharmaceutical waste (syringes and needles, gloves, masks, bandages, pills);
- Dead animals and body parts;
- Paint, glues, adhesive residues;
- Any other liquid chemicals of unknown origin.
- These types of hazardous waste put human health and/or the environment in direct danger. If something looks suspicious, regard it as hazardous waste. The safety of volunteers during cleanups is the number one priority.
So, what to do if you find hazardous waste? Do not touch it. Flag it and inform the relevant services. (Find out how to contact them beforehand, just in case).
Electronic and electrical waste is also considered hazardous. They poison the ground if mismanaged in nature. But electronic and electrical waste is the only type of waste that is safe to take with you. Separate it from mixed waste, and send it to an electronics recycling facility.
Every cleanup minimizes risks for human health and the environment. The best way to avoid these risks is: use natural eco-friendly recyclable compostable products!
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