Waste Management For Families At Home

BY Vicky Porter

Families are facing many challenges as a result of the Covid19 pandemic.  Responsible waste management may not be a top priority in these times, but families who lack sufficient storage space may need to consider alternative solutions to the general waste disposal services.   
Recycling has been a feasible solution to reduce general waste, but some recycling collection services have not been servicing the general public since lockdown was implemented.  This would have increased waste sent to landfills, putting more pressure on the infrastructure overall.
Environmentalists and avid recyclers may be storing their recyclables, but in uncertain times the following are simple ways for families to reduce their waste whilst gaining new skills and spending quality time together. 
Apart from having an alternative resource for food scraps and other waste, a compost heap is a fascinating learning experience as the science behind it mimics the earth's natural recycling process.  All you need to start is space, soil, and food scraps.  The below article takes an in-depth look at the processes involved in composting at home:
Conscious Consumption 
Conscious consumers are aware of the impact that their purchasing decisions have on the environment.  In the current scenario, our homes have become 'the environment', and we are immediately impacted by our choices.  The less packaging we buy, the less waste we generate.  
Replanting Food Scraps 
Imagine having access to fresh produce without having to leave your home?  Cooking food that you have grown yourself is immensely satisfying, and it will help reduce your grocery expenses as fresh produce is often expensive.  Lettuce, celery, potatoes, lemongrass, and pineapple are all examples of fresh produce which can be replanted using food scraps.  The following blog has plenty of tips on how to grow your food.
Homeschooling with waste 
Parents are finding themselves somewhere between a rock and a hard place, trying to homeschool their bundles of joy... The lack of access to stationery and toys only but adds to the challenge.  This is the time to think outside the box (by not throwing it away).   
The opportunities are endless, all we need is a change of mindset.  Before throwing anything away, look at it and ask; 'how could I use this to teach my child?'.  Need a board game? Design your own using a cereal box and bottle tops!
Motor skills, counting, colour play - these activities can all be enhanced by using your discarded packaging.  Often we find that expensive toys don't make the cut when little Jimmy plays with joghurt cups instead! 


Click here for free printable recycling games at home!

General Waste Guidelines 
Thankfully South Africa's general waste collection services have continued to ensure that the majority of household waste is safely discarded.  To express gratitude and respect for these frontline workers, the following guidelines should be adhered to: 
Refuse collection starts at 6 am, ensure that waste bags are placed outside by this time.  Refuse collection trucks do change routes due to various circumstances and if bags are not out, collections can be missed.
Wrap sharp objects up before placing them in the bin.  Refuse collection is labour intensive and workers risk injury when sharp objects are exposed. 
Building rubble should never be placed out for refuse collection as these items can damage the mechanisms of the refuse trucks. 
We are faced with an uncertain future, and change is afoot.  Together we can improve our environmental impact by adopting new habits and changing our mindset. 

 April 26, 2020
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