Plastic bags that we use on a daily basis are among major environmental pollutants. Plastic bags are difficult and costly to recycle and most end up on landfill sites where they take hundreds of years to degrade naturally. They break down into tiny toxic particles that contaminate the soil and waterways and enter the food chain when animals accidentally ingest them.
Household waste also harms the environment. Sorting rubbish can help ensure that hazardous substances are disposed of safely. By separating different materials, most of them can also be recycled into new products.
Hamid Reza Panahandeh, who is an environmental activist, says sorting household waste can generate huge revenues and reduce environmental pollution.
“The value of our country’s waste in one year amounts to €4 billion. Household waste can enter the recycling process. For example metals can be recycled and converted into new metal products. Plastics can turn into granules .Wet waste can be converted into compost and fruit peels can be processed for feeding livestock,” he said.
Dry waste includes items such as bottles, cans, clothing, plastic, wood, glass, metals and paper. Wet waste pertains to all items that are organic like food items, soiled food wrappers, hygiene products, yard waste, tissues and paper towels, as well as any other soiled item that would contaminate the recyclables.
Panahandeh added that the recycling industry can generate 120,000 jobs in the country.
He said environmental issues should be pushed to the forefront calling on the government to raise public awareness about threats posed to the environment.
The environmental activist said apart from awareness, the carrot and stick approach can be useful.
“To resolve environmental problems a combination of awareness, reward and punishment are effective. If people had to pay for the plastic bags, they would use them several times. Free services could also be offered to households that sort waste.”
The segregation of wet and dry waste plays a major role in promoting a more sustainable environment and reducing the adverse impacts of waste on our planet.