I mentioned in my previous entry of how I was encouraged by the film Planet Earth to be more responsible in preserving our planet in my little ways. It reminded me of how amaze I was (and still I am) with the waste segregation here in Germany. At first, I felt it's too much work to have 4-5 kinds of rubbish bins. Aside from being too much, I don't have an idea "where" to put "what". Well, call me ignorant but it's true. We don't really have a defined waste segregation in the Philippines. I saw a lot of different colored bins in Makati, (Philippines) before but I wasn't sure if these are really segregated until the end of its disposal phase for recycling. For almost five years stay here in Germany of course by now I could humbly say, sorting the garbage is no longer that difficult for me. Our teacher in German class also mentioned to us that the best way to help is aside from proper sorting of waste is to minimize it. We can actually do it in many ways. Let me give you a few examples.
- Using reusable bags in shopping.
- Buying products with deposits ( or they call it pfand here) so disposal/recycling of the product would be easy.
- If there are school celebration here, the schoolers are asked to bring their own dishes and utensils instead of using disposable so as to minimize waste.
For sure there are still many ways to do it. Now well move on to segregation. First let's talk about "Paper" which is designated with the color "blue". Almost always if you're living in an apartment you can easily find it outside just infront of the maindoor. Packaging made of paper, magazines,paper bags,envelopes,books, brochure, carton packages without plastic, and paper boxes. Tissues however do not belong here.
Now,we will talk about Glass. Aside from the returnable glass (the ones with deposits/pfand), Glasses should be thrown in designated glass bins and these are sorted according to color. Of course in these category it includes glass bottles, glass jams, and wines. The sorting would be green/blue,clear glass and brown. One can find these bins in the neighborhood.
We'll now move on to the "yellow" bins. Cans, yogurt cups, lotion bottles, spray plastic bottles,sachet, plastic bags, detergent bottles, vacuum packaging,aluminum foil, plastic wrapper and composite materials (e.g. beverage cartons) belong to this category. Some cities have more specific sorting of this category but generally all of this items fall under the yellow bins.
We are now with "brown" bins or biological waste such as kitchen waste, fruits and vegetables peels, feather, hair, kitchen paper towels,tissues and food leftovers. It can be so smelly sometimes specially during summer time. In our case we are told by our "hausmeister" or landlord to just put the food leftover in the gray bins.
"Gray" bins here we come. In this bin includes almost all the rest that is not classified in the other categories. This includes soiled nappies, ashes, cigarette butts, vacuum cleaner bags, nails, very dirty papers, and other household waste.
I mentioned "almost the rest" because we still have a category that is not mentioned. These are "the rest" category which are the hazardous waste which inlcudes batteries, acids, paints, thinners, adhesives, corrosives, dinsinfectant, insecticides and medicines. You will be inform by the local town on where and when the trucks will be collecting this kind of waste. You can however find the bins for batteries in the local shops. The very reason why this toxic waste should not be included in the gray bins because gray bins or "restmuell" are incinerated. You would not want to inhale those toxic waste right?
Well, I know, the list is already long but what about something that you would like to throw away that is not mentioned. They call it "Sperrmuell" where your broken hifi, sofa, computers and other stuff are properly disposed of. Each town has it, so one must have to present its valid indentification that you're a resident to the area before you'll be allowed to throw your stuff.
Amazing, right? This is really what you call extra effort and diligence. I hope someday, we can have a good waste management in the Philippines such as this.