A couple of days ago, our barangay tanods went around our neighborhood reminding people to segregate their trash.  They gave pamphlets and informed us that segregation is strictly implemented and if we don’t follow it properly, our garbage will not be collected.

I am totally for the idea of segregation but I’m concerned with implementation.   I’ve never seen them refuse to pick up any garbage bag.   During garbage collection day in our street,  there are piles of trash bags and plastic bags every two or three houses.   There is no way to know which household did not sort their garbage correctly.  The different types of garbage are all collected in one day and I’m pretty sure they get mixed in the trucks somehow.

I have a few thoughts on how garbage segregation can be successful.

1.  Education –  The barangay gave us a brochure detailing how we should segregate our trash.  I feel that the information they have given is still very general.  The major categories are compostable, recyclable, residual, and special waste (bulky waste).  Biodegradable or compostable waste is pretty straightforward.   For recyclable waste, there are no guidelines, like what kinds of plastics are recyclable?  Residual is also a bit problematic for me and I could just throw anything and label it as residual at they listed sachets, wrappers, containers and the like as residual.  For bulky waste, we have to make arrangements for these – appliances, furniture, tree branches, etc.  There are also items that are not listed, like batteries and light bulbs.  I think it would be better if they conduct some sort of meeting to ensure that each household really understands how this should be done.

2.  Collection – Two trucks go around each garbage collection day, one for biodegradable waste and the other for residual waste.  The recyclable waste should have been picked up “bote-dyaryo” people before the garbage trucks come.   I’m thinking it may be more effective if they collect one type of garbage per day.  It’s not really wasteful since there are two vehicles anyway.  This would also ensure that residents are sorting their garbage and are bringing out the correct type.

3.  Community involvement – It would be nice if there is a community garden where the compost would be used.  Maybe volunteers could tend the garden, make compost and ensure that residents have access to fresh produce.  It could also be a source of income for the community or for members who maybe hard-up.  Maybe there could also be a “free shop” where residents can bring their still useful stuff like clothes, toys, lamps, chairs etc and other residents could pick up any item they wish.  This diverts some items meant for the landfill and helps out people who need stuff.

These are just some thoughts going through my mind.  With all the things happening with our environment, I think individuals, governments and industries would all have to work together.  We all have the responsibility to protect the Earth.   This is our only home and what’s good for the Earth will ultimately be good for us.