Tips to reduce plastic waste in your home


The topic of climate change and environmental conservation is one of the most heated and important ones being had on every continent all over the world today. And no matter what side of the argument one stands on, the effects of our bad practices are becoming too obvious for anyone to ignore anymore; from massive fires in the Amazon and Australia, floods in Brazil, record high temperatures in Siberia, to melting icebergs in Antarctica. And if not seen on a massive scale they are seen in terms of polluted water bodies, dead sea life, to mention but a few.


Although nations and some big conglomerates have woken up and are trying to move to green energy solutions and reduce their carbon footprint respectively, this is not enough if the work is not started at the household level. After all, all good practices are taught and learned from home before they can be applied to the outside world.


One of the biggest dangers to the environment today is single-use plastics. This article is for those environmentalists that want to start doing their part to keep our planet alive by making some changes starting at their home. In this article, I’ll answer a few common questions that a person that wants to reduce plastic waste in their home might have. These include;


– What are the harmful plastics that I’m using at my home?

– What are some more friendly alternatives I can use in place of those plastics and where can I get them?

– For those plastics that I can’t replace, how do I dispose of them the proper way?


What are the harmful plastics that I’m using at my home?


Among others, some of the harmful single-use plastics you might be using at your home include;


– Plastic tube showergel

-Polythene shopping bags i.e. buvera

-Plastic straws

-Plastic cutlery

-Single-use plastic water bottles

-Single-use plastic coffee cups and lids

-Plastic bag wrapped toilet paper

-Cling film wrapping for food

-Single-use plastic cups

-Single-use plastic containers

-Single-use plastic plates.


What are some more friendly alternatives I can use in place of those plastics and where can I get them?


Now that you have an idea about the everyday single-use plastics that you might be using in your home, here are some eco-friendly alternatives and practices that work just as well as the single-use plastics or even better and where you can get them.


– use bar soap instead of shower gel in a plastic tube, buy soap wrapped in a paper box instead of plastic


– refuse cavera! a really simple one, carry your own (eg a canvas bag or reuse a cavera) or at least try to reduce the amount you use eg tomatoes, onions, carrots, etc can all go in 1 bag instead of 3!


– buy toilet paper wrapped in paper instead of plastic, or that comes in one large plastic bag instead of each individually wrapped in plastic


– buy things in bigger quantities if possible eg a 5kg bag of rice instead of 500g, therefore you are only using 1 big plastic bag instead of lots of small ones. Same for trying to avoid single-use sachets eg of sauce or detergent, always better to buy in bulk!


– instead of wrapping food in cling film use reusable beeswax wraps – some are sold at Ark Organics and a few other places around Kampala


– when eating in cafes, refuse the plastic straw and go straw-free if you can. If not, ask if they have eco-friendly alternatives like paper straws, or come with your own metallic straw or bamboo straw. Personal metallic or bamboo straws are better because you can use them even at your home. – our roots Africa has some reusable alternatives for plastic straws.


– if sitting in at a cafe, make sure your drink isn’t served in a plastic cup. If getting a takeaway, bring your own reusable cup. You can shop for one at Jumia


– own a refillable bottle and carry it with you when going on a trip where you might need to rehydrate instead of buying plastic bottled water every time you’re thirsty. – refillable bottles can be bought in most shops in Uganda.


– own a reusable cup that you can use to carry your coffee, and also buy a refill from a coffee shop when you need one in place of plastic coffee cups.


– own reusable cutlery like metallic spoons and forks, or wooden cutlery in place of single-use plastic cutlery. You can also carry your wooden cutlery with you wherever you go. – you can buy reusable cutlery from online stores like jumia, kikuu, etc.


– for plastic cups, plates, and containers that you use at home, buy reusable ones in place of single-use ones. They can even be used at parties you host at home and can be bought anywhere in Kampala.


-as a bonus, in this period of COVID-19, opt for a reusable face mask in place of a single-use one and remember to wash it in between uses.


For those plastics that I can’t replace, how do I dispose of them the proper way?


Get started with a waste diversion program and you can start this at the household level too. For more details on this subject refer to my article, What waste goes in which bin? Or visit www.yowasteapp.com to get started today.


Compiled & Written by Gideon Mpungu. Gideon Mpungu is the Sustainability lead at Yo-Waste. To keep updated with any developments from yo-waste follow us on LinkedinFacebook, and Twitter, or contact us today.



Many of you maybe wondering how the yo-waste mobile app is transforming the waste management industry and improving the efficiency of waste collection services in Kampala, all this while promoting environmental sustainability and trying to eliminate waste.


Context


Waste Management can be defined as the collection, transportation, recovering, and disposal of waste along with the supervision of such operations and after-care of the disposal sites.


Waste collection is the premier phase of waste management involving the collection and transferring or transporting of waste from a collection site to a disposal facility.


Usually during waste collection, the waste is usually put in the allocated bag or bin on the collection day, the waste collectors move from house to house collecting the waste bins and emptying them into their waste collection truck.


Waste collection problems


The traditional waste collection system has been sufficient in the past, but with the continuous urbanization and many people needing the waste collection services, this method has lost its efficiency and become rather tedious to manage.


Waste collectors picking trash
Credit: Google


Some of the areas where problems have been encountered here in Uganda include billing issues, route scheduling, and uncollected waste (possibly because the waste was not ready at the collection time or probably because it was unpicked by the waste workers).


Yo-Waste


We know when it comes to waste collection and management, two things really matter to customers (homes in this case). Having a reliable and affordable waste collector who picks their trash in time and without delays or missed collections is very important and that’s what the yo-waste app exactly does.


Yo-Waste customer mobile app


We have a pool of over 20+ waste haulers/trucks from 7+ waste management companies in Uganda who are assigned to specific locations, such that wherever you’re they can service you and without fail/delay.


The idea is to pool tens & hundreds of homes who need waste collection services, organize them together, assign them all to a particular day, let’s say on Tuesday according to their location, such that when the truck comes it can effectively offload you the garbage burden but as well save the waste collectors on fuel expenses and time.


Yo-Waste dashboard visualization


If we could do this for all the 400k + homes in Kampala in the next 3–5 years, we could address the biggest challenge involved in waste collection for our cities even across Africa.


Recycling


Yo-Waste is partnering with a number of recyclers in Uganda to ensure waste pickers not only just pick and dump trash but rather add value to waste which is recyclable.


The idea is if we could have sufficient data on what waste is generated where and when can’t we have specific trucks deployed to collect specific types of waste which could be recycled by our partner recycling businesses.


Partners


Yo-Waste doesn’t own trucks, sorting facilities or any physical asset. We ride on partnerships with waste collection companies in our network, recycling businesses, municipal councils, researchers, development partners to do what we do.


COVID-19 Era


During this period of COVID-19, sanitation workers especially waste collectors are at a great risk of being infected by COVID-19. The waste collection industry employees majority of informal workers especially those who move on trucks loading waste.


Yo-Waste measures to address some of the issues which could affect waste workers have been as follows


  1. Enforce cashless payments for customers paying waste pickers to avoid contact through money.
  2. Add Waste collection companies on mobile app to allow them operate digitally.


Waste Data as tool to transform waste management


Yo-Waste collects specific data on waste with an end goal of helping its customers divert waste, helping them understand their contribution to the environment in terms of carbon emissions generated and the percentage drop of this through waste diverting.


This data can also be helpful to urban planners & recycling firms to increase the recycling rate of the communities we operate.


Conclusion


We believe yo-waste is a collective effort of the waste management companies we work with and other partners, and together we can transform and improve waste management even across Africa.


Do you want to get involved with us, reach out to our head of sustainability & operations via [email protected]


This article has be compiled and written by Martin Tumusiime. He is the Team Lead at yo-waste and head of partnerships & fundraising, reach-out to him via [email protected]



During my time at Yo-Waste as the operations and sustainability lead, I’ve had the chance to interact with our clients and other people in-depth to among other things try to understand what can drive a person to consider separating their waste at home or workplace, and also what are some of the major hindrances they face in undertaking this initiative.


Among others, people cited things like lack of enough separation apparatus like bags or bins, lack of interest to invest that time and most of all lack of knowledge on which waste goes in which bin if they were to separate their waste. Most of the other hindrances can be toppled easily by providing bins or bags, incentifying people to make it worth their while and others which will be covered in detail in a later article.


But in this article, I’d like to cover the problem of lack of detailed information on which waste goes in which bin once a person decides to separate their waste and has the right apparatus like bins or bags to start.


So assuming you now have 3 empty garbage bags which is the standard quantity per week provided by waste haulers in Kampala and most other areas, or you’re a business or organization that has 3 bins for waste disposal.


First things first, waste is usually classified into three broad categories including organic waste, recyclables, and landfill waste.


Now if you are using garbage bags, just assign each kind of waste a bag and you can label each bag with household stationery like a marker. For a business go a little further and label your bins with the labels mentioned above.


Now that everything is set, we can get to the purpose of this article, that is, which waste goes in which bin?


Organic waste;


banana pilings


This category contains waste usually known as biodegradable waste, composting material, among others, but in simple terms, it’s waste that can easily and naturally decay by itself back into the earth.


Waste that goes into this category includes;


Food scraps i.e. leftovers and spoiled food, fruit pits and peels, vegetables, bread, and grains, e.t.c


Plants i.e. leaves, flowers and floral trimmings, grasses and weeds, branches and brush, e.t.c


Recyclables;


Recycable plastic waste


This category contains waste that cannot decay naturally back into the earth or takes a very long time to decay and hence is dangerous to the earth. It is also a waste type that can be recycled or turned into something else that is useful. Waste that goes into this category includes;


Plastics i.e. clean, dry and empty plastic bags, bottles (any size of water and fizzy drinks), buckets, coffee cup lids, containers and clamshells, cups, and plates(plastic only, no styrofoam), laundry detergent bottles, e.t.c.


Paper that is clean, dry and unsoiled i.e. computer and office paper, egg cartons, envelops, junk mail and magazines, newspapers, sticky notes, wrapping paper (non-metallic), shredded paper placed and sealed in a paper bag, paper bags, empty and clean coffee cups, e.t.c.


Metal, with no liquids or food i.e. aluminum cans, aluminum foils and trays, steel cans, spray cans that are empty and clean, paint cans that are empty and clean, metallic caps and lids, e.t.c


Glass, with no liquids or food and, should not be shuttered or if shuttered should be sealed in a plastic container and labeled i.e. jars, bottles.


Landfill waste;


This category contains waste that can neither decay on its own nor is recycled into something else.


Waste that goes in this category includes;


Diapers, ceramic dishware or glassware, plastic items mixed with metal or rubber, sponges, rubber bands, pens and pencils, mylar bags or shiny metal bags ( potato chips, candy bars, balloons, etc), styrofoam, Wood — small pieces of plywood, pressboard, and painted or stained wood, Incandescent light bulbs (no fluorescents or HIDs), etc.


Now that you know which waste goes in which bin it is obvious that waste that belongs to one category cannot also belong to another and therefore should not be mixed with the risk of contamination if mixed.


As you’ve come this far in the article, you might be wondering about some kinds of waste that you generate but where not placed in any of the three major categories above. Don’t worry, the final part of this article covers a kind of waste that requires special treatment and is usually handled and collected differently and often by qualified professionals. It includes;


Hazardous waste i.e. cooking oil and grease, asbestos, medical remains, expired drugs, etc.


Electronic appliances, batteries, electronics, etc.


Construction debris, rocks, or stones.


Fluorescent or HID light bulbs, etc.


With all that information, you’re ready to start separating your waste both at the household level and business level.


For more help on getting this initiative started and getting your waste delivered to recyclers after your part, visit www.yowasteapp.com or reach out to the yo-waste team directly at [email protected] and let us walk with you every step of this journey.



Gideon Mpungu is the Sustainability lead at Yo-Waste. To keep updated with any developments from yo-waste follow us on LinkedinFacebook, and Twitter, or contact us today.


If you’re looking for a reliable waste management company in kampala to help you handle your trash, here’s our list of some of the best available waste management companies in Kampala/Uganda.


We recommend you try out the yo-waste mobile app. Yo-Waste mobile app is a location based mobile application that connects households & businesses to the nearest local waste collectors in their communities and is reliable, affordable & convenient. Look at it like an uber for garbage collection services in kampala.


The Yo-Waste customer mobile app allows individual households & small businesses to manage waste collection services from a handy smartphone. Request for on-demand services, regular collections, extra pickups,rate collections, view invoices of all previous collections all in one place. 


Here’s our list of waste management companies in kampala


1. Asante Waste Management Kampala


Operating in areas of Bugolobi, Luzira, Munyonyo, Entebbe and many others, you can use Asante to help you manage your domestic waste, medical or hazardous waste in Kampala.


2. Globe clean Waste Management


Globe clean waste management collects domestic waste in areas of Ntinda, Naguru & Kisaasi. The company will help you keep clean at all times with their superb quality services.


3. De-Waste Waste Management


De-Waste Waste management specializes in hazardous waste around Kampala, Entebbe & Mukono. The company also provides domestic waste collection services in areas of Luzira, Bugolobi and others.


4. KAD Agency


KAD Agency Waste Management will help you dispose of your waste while providing the best quality service to your home or business. The waste management company operates in kawempe division.


5. Homeklin


Homeklin Waste Management company collects household waste home to home from people living in the Makindye division. The company will help collect your trash around Makindye in time.


6. Deers Mart (Abakaasasiro)


The Waste Management company operates in areas of Kikaya, Ntinda and kisaasi & collects households refuse home to home. The company has a 5 star rating from customers using it on the yo-waste app.


7. Bin it Services Uganda


BinIT Waste Management company operates in Kampala and collects both domestic refuse and hazardous waste. The company provides an excellent waste management service in kampala and will help you get rid of rubbish from wherever you’re.


8. Nabugabo updeal ventures


The waste management company is very popular in areas of Kampala city metropolitan (city center) and as well areas of Rubaga division. Nabugabo updeal ventures collects household refuse from homes and businesses within the central business area of Kampala city.


9. Kampala solid waste consortium


The consortium has other tens of waste management companies operating under its name and these companies operate in Nakawa and Kawempe. Such companies include Bins Abakasasiro, union of private waste collectors and many others.


10. Hilltop Waste Management


Hilltop waste management company operates in areas of Kawempe division. The company collects household & business refuse from the areas it operates in kampala.


Check your Yo-Waste mobile app for the availability of any of those companies in your location. Or You can check locations we operate to see if yo-waste is in your community.