3 Tips to Optimize Residential Waste Disposal

Waste Pyramid
Waste Pyramid

Households in London generate huge volumes of rubbish which can overburden landfill and create serious problems for the health and safety of residents. Safe and efficient disposal of household waste is the key to ensuring London’s environment is clean and green.

There are many ways you can optimise residential waste management. Here are the three smart tips to ensure efficient waste disposal:

3 smart ways to manage residential waste

1. Reduce the rubbish

According to Statista, while household waste in the U.K. amounted to 394 kilograms per person in 2018, some regions such as the North East generated an average waste of 593 kilograms per person in 2018-19.

The total volume of household waste generated each year is 3.6 million tonnes in the U.K., while in London, 1.6 million tonnes of waste from households was collected in 2018-19.

The amount of waste generated in London is estimated to fill 1,500 Olympic sized swimming pools. With the growing population in the city, the amount of rubbish generated will also increase in the coming years.

The government estimates that even if the same amount of rubbish is generated per person in London in the future, the total garbage collection will grow by as much as one million tonnes every year. This can mean 500,000 extra rubbish clearance trucks will be needed each year to keep the city clean.

One of the first tips to optimize residential waste management is to reduce the amount of garbage you generate. Some steps you can take to achieve this is -

Carry cotton bags that are reusable instead of plastic for shopping. Unlike plastic bags, cotton bags are washable and can be used for a long time. These bags are also eco-friendly.

Opt for foods that have less packaging. Buy food in bulk to save on cost as well as space. You can store bulk food in fewer airtight containers as opposed to stacking up large volumes of smaller boxes and papers.

Collect all your organic waste, including kitchen waste, garden waste and bedding material for vermicomposting. This will help reduce the amount of garbage you generate.

Buy dairy items in reusable containers

Prepare dinner from fresh ingredients instead of heating up cans or ready to eat foods.

Carry water from home in your water bottle instead of buying bottled water. One of the most frequently recycled things is empty water bottles from household rubbish.

Reusable cutlery can help you avoid the use of disposable, plastic spoons and forks.

Avoid using straws made of plastic and drink straight from the cup or glass.

Take notes on your smartphone or PC instead of using paper to help reduce this household waste.

2. Avoid flushing down things that can block the sewers

There are many things that should not be flushed down the toilet. In London, the biggest sewage block - named ‘ fatberg’- unearthed weighed 130 tonnes and was composed of fats and sanitary pads. This fatberg weighed approximately as much as eleven double-decker buses. Many kitchen wastes such as animal fats, vegetable oil and other things such as human or pet hair, nappies and metals can block the sewers leading to a blockage.

A volunteer clean-up program unearthed 23,000 wet wipes in southwest London on River Thames’ shores in July 2019.

During the recent lockdown prompted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, many people substituted wet wipes and kitchen roll for toilet paper as a result of the shortages.

Wet wipes that are flushed down toilets account for 90 per cent of U.K.’s sewer blockages. These wipes are made of non-woven materials that are glued together with chemicals or resins. This is the reason why they do not break down easily when flushed down the toilet, leading to a serious threat to wildlife. If you cannot avoid using wet wipes, try to buy reusable wet wipes that can be cleaned in the washing machine.

Avoid draining hazardous or toxic chemicals which can lead to serious pollution issues as they reach the wastewater. Use eco-friendly alternatives to bleach or chlorine that can pollute the water streams.

The best way to dispose of such household items is to entrust a leading household rubbish clearance company in London. The company offers expert recycling solutions while ensuring safe disposal of household waste, including any hazardous or toxic chemicals.

3. Recycle waste

The average rate of recycling in England is 43 per cent, while in London, the rate, at 33 per cent, is lower as compared to the national average. Some of the boroughs that have poor rubbish recycling rates are Wandsworth at 22 per cent, Lewisham at 18 per cent, Hammersmith and Fulham at 23 per cent, Newham at 14 per cent and Westminster City at 17 per cent.

The Mayor of London has set a goal to achieve 65 per cent recycling of waste by 2030 and to make the city a zero-waste zone. With only one-third of household waste being recycled, a lot of it is still going to landfill sites, which are bad for the environment. About 751,000 tonnes of rubbish is sent to landfills in London every year that is equivalent to what 75 Eiffel Towers would weigh.

A poll in London showed that 85 per cent of residents want to increase recycling. A lot of waste is generated, particularly when people move to a new home or apartment.

One of the ways to reduce waste generation is to drop off reusable household items such as electrical items, furniture and books at a nearby charity shop. You can also sell unwanted goods online. Some recycle centres only accept reusable items when transported in vans. Different sites also place weight and height restrictions and can charge based on the size of your vehicle or your car weight.

Certain items, including electronic and electrical products, cannot be disposed of without a permit. A Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment or WEEE permit may be required if you are disposing large amounts of such products.

A reputable rubbish clearance company in London can help transport recyclable materials to relevant centres in a cost effective, efficient way.