4.1 Handling rubbish

Unless it is too large, all rubbish should be put into the house bin as soon as possible. The items which are too big for the bin should be taken to the community rubbish tip as soon as possible.

Some items of household rubbish need special treatment before they are put in the house bin. Some examples of these are given below.

Food scraps

If possible, these should be wrapped tightly in paper before being put in the bin. This will stop the smells which attract insects and animals to the bin.
Fig.  4.11:  Food and moist rubbish should always be wrapped before it is put in a rubbish bin.
Fig. 4.11: Food and moist rubbish should always be wrapped before it is put in a rubbish bin.

Disposable nappies

The faeces should be scraped off and put down the toilet. The nappies should then be wrapped tightly in paper and put in the bin.

Bottles, cartons, paper, tin cans and similar items

Usually these can go straight into the bin. However, if they contain food they should be wrapped first. If they contain poisons (pesticides, household cleaners, medicines), the poison should be disposed of safely and the container washed out before it is put in the bin. In the case of pesticides and their containers there are special rules for their safe disposal (see Chapter 5).

Large household items

Some items of rubbish that occur around the home are too large for the regular household bin. These include:
  • large cartons
  • car parts and bodies
  • sheets of iron
  • worn out washing machines and refrigerators
  • branches of trees
These things should not be allowed to lie around the house/yard where they can become health hazards. For example, they may collect water which provides a place for disease-carrying mosquitoes to breed. These unwanted things should be taken to the community rubbish tip as soon as possible.

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4.2 Recycling rubbish

Today, many people are worried that the earth's supplies of raw materials, such as iron ore and bauxite from which metals such as steel and aluminium are made, will soon be all used up. The same applies to trees from which paper products are made. As a result, governments are encouraging people to collect metal and paper products which people no longer need and use them to make new products. This is called recycling.

Much of the material which people throw away as rubbish can actually be recycled. For example, many aluminium products coming out of today's factories are made from recycled aluminium drink cans, window frames and other discarded aluminium products.

Recycling is becoming a big business in our modern world.

In some places, particularly near towns, some types of rubbish are collected for recycling. Manufacturers will pay money for aluminium cans and other kinds of scrap metal so these can be well worth saving.

The main items which can be recycled are:
  • aluminium products such as drink cans, old window frames, flyscreens, and aluminium foil
  • paper products such as newspaper, cardboard and old cartons
  • plain and coloured glass products, such as bottles and broken drinking glasses
  • iron, copper, brass, and some other metal products, such as car bodies, electrical appliances, bicycles, copper wire, brass taps and machinery
  • motor oil
Recycling is difficult in remote places because of the problem of transporting the items to the buyer. Recycling is easier for those communities which are close to towns where a recycling project is operating.

Plant material and some food items can be composted to make a natural fertiliser for gardens or any community vegetable or fruit growing activities. Composting is a process in which bacteria are used to break down plant materials to a type of substance which can be used as a fertiliser. Items which could be used are vegetable food scraps, grass clippings and leaves.

Making compost for community gardens and food growing activities is probably the easiest recycling activity in which communities can become involved. However, composting must be controlled because if it is not done properly it can smell and allow disease-carrying insects to breed.
If the community wants to consider recycling items of rubbish it is best to contact its local authority to see if this is possible.

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Before becoming involved in a recycling project the community will need to:
  • agree about the idea
  • make arrangements to sell the recycled items direct to an outside agency which will buy the material. Sometimes the items can be sold to a central agency in a nearby town. This is often a charitable organisation like Apex. These groups then make all the arrangements to sell to the central buyer
  • set up a way of collecting the items for recycling from the people in the community. This might be to locate bins for collecting the items to be recycled at convenient places in the community
  • make arrangements to transport the items to be recycled to the outside agency.
Type of rubbish treatment
Recyclable
    Food scraps
Wrapped then to bin
Yes*
    Bottles
Bin
Yes
    Cans
Bin
Yes
    Plastic articles
Bin
Yes**
    Paper products
Bin
Yes
    Rags
Bin
Yes
    Nappies (disposable)
Wrapped then to bin
No
    Bones
Bin
Yes*
* Can be composted.
** Some plastic items cannot be recycled.
Table 4.1 Proper disposal of rubbish