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.



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.


Most homes and businesses in urban areas of Kampala rely solely on waste collection service providers to get rid of their trash in time.


However, getting a reliable and affordable waste collection service provider is a terrible experience for many households and businesses in Kampala.


And because of this, delays or missed collections result in improper managing of this uncollected waste, which leads to sometimes the waste ending up to water channels, streets, and other illegal dumping sites.


This article will provide you with a better sustainable alternative of getting rid of rubbish while living in areas around Kampala.


Using the yo-waste mobile app, you can request for a waste collection service and we shall connect you to a licensed waste collection service provider closest to your community and in real-time.


This waste collector is a vetted professional service provider who will call you within 24 hours to confirm service and plan out the service for your home.


At yo-waste, we have built a network of waste collection service providers that are well vetted, trained and professional enough to handle your waste collection needs.


With this mobile app, you can as well schedule for extra pickups, OnDemand collections and special collections for those who need a bulky collection like after-party trash or yard/compound garden waste which can’t fit in bags.


Yo-waste mobile app enables you to toggle between your waste collection services and payment information and has features that will help you


1. Gain access to well-vetted professional and licensed waste collectors closest to your home.


2. Save money on waste collection and get access to reliable and affordable waste collectors


Once you get started, you can top up your yo-waste wallet at any time, view your transaction history and your current service requests, you can even request extra collection pickup periods.


The Yo-waste app will also be your direct line to the Yo-waste dedicated support team for any inquiries in case of missed pickups or any app errors.


The waste collection company will be allowed to do an assessment within 24 hours to help you with your request from when it was placed and ensure you have the best waste collection service experience of your lifetime.


At yo-waste, we’re committed to providing quality reliable and affordable waste collection services to our customers.


To get started, download the yo-waste mobile app on play store or call sales at 0394 894 278