Sunday, April 21, 2013

Waste is Gold

Waste is Gold

Garbage Crisis in Italy and The Philippines and soon everywhere else

Garbage is a constant and present global crisis and will become much worse in the coming years if we do not do something drastic now. We are running out of landfills and resulting pollutions are killing us, literally. The miasma and leachate are a constant threat to the people near the landfills.
I have an idea that if implemented correctly will result in recycling 80 to 90 % of our waste and solve most of the environmental woes and turn it into a lucrative business.

The recycle rate is so low now because much of the waste are contaminated in the garbage bins, rendering them unfeasible or uneconomical to do so.
My idea is very simple: just mandate all homes and business to separate all garbage into:
  1. Uncontaminated dry garbage like paper, cardboard, bottle, plastic, electrical and electronics, metal etc, which can easily be reused or recycled.
  2. Wet biodegradable garbage like fruit skin, food waste, leaves, plants etc

The authority should provide two garbage bins of different colors. The green ones now in use should be for Wet Garbage only and a second one maybe in Blue or Red should be provided and be for dry garbage only. They should be clearly labeled.
To save cost, 2 to 3 households can share the bins since garbage will be less per bin if separated. The garbage should be collected in separate trucks to avoid contamination. Wet garbage should be collected daily. The dry garbage can be collected maybe twice a week since they are odorless and to save cost.
The dry garbage will go to a center for sorting and sold to respective factories and recycled. Some of the reusable can also be donated to charities or needies. We should be able to reuse or recycle over 95% of this garbage. It will be a big profit center.
The Wet Garbage will go to another center. They are 2 possible ways to deal with them.
  1. Use them to feed pigs or dogs and use the feces for fertilizers. Although the meat may not be palatable for human anymore, they can perhaps be fed to zoo animals.
  2. Another way is to compost them and sell the resulting fertilizers to gardener and farms. There are already many businesses like these operating in US and many countries using modern technology. They charge a fee for accepting the waste and sell the compost for profit!
The authorities can run the collection and the centers themselves or licence it to the private sector. Either way it can generate millions for the municipalities instead of unmitigated crisis at huge expenditure. And the authorities do not even have to charge for garbage collection if they choose to do so.

Presto! We have turned our biggest environmental disaster into a sustainable and great business! Instead of spending millions, we can be making millions annually. Let’s start now.

Simon Teh

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