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Nathan’s tour of garbage and recycling

Dr. Nathan B. English gives a tour of the garbage and recycling at his house.
<v ->Hello, and welcome to my home.</v> Today, I’ve got my co-stars, recycling bin and rubbish bin joining me, and we’re going to spend the next five, eight minutes, walking through my house, looking at my waste streams. Remember, this is all municipal waste coming from my house, but I do have a couple of things of hazardous waste, which I’ll talk about in a minute. So, what I want to do is, I want to just show you what I go through in my house, as far as separating my waste so it’s more easily dealt with and has less of an impact on the environment once it’s off site.
And we have to remember, that everything we bring into our homes, we often have some sort of waste associated with that that leaves our homes, whether it’s packaging, our wastewater, any number of things. Rubbish in, rubbish out, and that’s pretty simple. So really, we’ll get started right here, and in my home, most of my waste is generated in the kitchen.
Now, it may be be different for you, and one of the things I’d like you guys to do is go through your home and look at your different waste streams and think about, if you have an opportunity to separate your waste streams and more efficiently take care of your waste and make it easier for that waste to be dealt with off site, so that it doesn’t have as big an impact on the environment. The first thing is our rubbish bin. I live in a pretty dry climate, and I find it really hard to compost, so actually, a lot of my wet compost food waste and other things that I can’t recycle go in my rubbish bin.
I’ve been able to reduce the volume of rubbish that leaves my house by taking up a lot of recycling, and that recycling comes in two forms. Well, I have my plastics, cardboard, and paper in here, and then I have all my soft plastics in here. I tell you what, recycling your soft plastics, if you have the opportunity to do so, is fantastic. It reduces the volume of rubbish immensely, and I noticed that when my bin was full every week, now my bin’s only about 1/2 full to 1/4 full every week, once I started recycling my soft plastics. I also have a special little bin, just up on the counter here, for all my batteries, because batteries are hazardous waste.
When we take our other rubbish to the tip, I take the batteries with me, and there’s a special place to the side at our landfill where we can put hazardous waste, like batteries. And so, I always separate out my dead batteries, and better yet, I’ve started to replace the batteries in my house with rechargeable batteries, even when they go dead, they still go in that hazardous waste battery recycling bin. And not only do we recycle materials, we also try to reuse materials as much as we can.
Now recently, Australia has begun, states in Australia have begun to ban plastic bags, but occasionally, we find ourselves without a plastic bag, so we’ll buy one for a nickel from the store, just so we can carry our groceries more easily. Oftentimes, we take bags with us, but when we don’t, we buy a bag. But we don’t throw those bags away, we keep those bags, because we find all sorts of uses for ‘em around the house, whether it’s putting my sandy shoes in, when I come home from the beach, or taking ‘em back to the store when I know I need to buy a lot of groceries, and I don’t have enough reusable bags with me.
So, reusing is really important in addition to recycling. So we’ve looked at the rubbish inside my house. I’m lucky, I have a house, I have a yard, and it turns out that I don’t just generate waste inside my house, I generate it outside my house as well. Vegetative waste or waste from vegetation, trees, grass, clippings, all sorts of things, is referred to as green waste. One of the things about green waste is you can reduce green waste as well. By picking native plants and vegetation that are adapted to the local environment, you’ll produce less green waste.
Now, palm trees do grow around here, and I’ve got a lot of ‘em in my yard, but I hate ‘em, because they generate a lot of green waste. And so, about every other week, it’s off to the tip for me to take these to the green waste, however, I feel a little better, knowing that they’re reused as mulch from the landfill. So, for my household waste, this is the beginning of their next journey, my rubbish bins. Lots of people think they take their waste out to the bin, and that’s it, it’s gone, but remember back to our first steps, that matter’s never really destroyed, it just goes onto something else, doesn’t it?
So this waste will go to the tip, where it will remain. This waste in my recycle bin will go to the recycle center, where it’ll be recycled into something new maybe even into a product that I buy and bring back into my house and put back in the recycle bin again. It’s all a cycle, and so, it’s important to remember, that even though it’s out of sight, it’s not gone. And in the next steps, we’ll learn about reusing, recycling, and refurbishing to reduce our waste streams.

Things get personal in this step! Dr. Nathan B. English takes us on a tour of his garbage and recycling at his house.

Watch as Dr. English discusses his waste streams and how he separates his waste in order to reduce his environmental impact.

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