How to handle holiday trash

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2020 00:00 |
Wangechi Kiongo, an environmentalist and Co-founder of the Save Lake Turkana Movement. Photo/PD/MILIAM MURIGI

When the end of the festive season hits, what do you do with a huge amount of waste created? Wangeci Kiongo, co-founder of Save Lake Turkana Movement advises

We’re hours away from one of the most popular Christmas traditions: opening presents and feasting. When it all ends, we are left with heaps of trash and left over food.  

Holiday waste disposal can be tricky and most people prefer putting it in the bin, but Wangechi Kiongo, an environmentalist and Co-founder of the Save Lake Turkana Movement, says by doing so, you could be doing serious environmental injustice by tossing that waste into trash bin.

The biggest per cent of trash can either be recycled or reused in many ways we do not think about.

However, she is quick to warn that it’s important to do the recycling in the right way, or else it can do more harm than good.

“If you can rip it, you can recycle it, but if it can’t be ripped consider reusing it.

There are many businesses, which are running recycling works and you can consider working with them to ensure your waste is well disposed,” she says. 

She reveals that recycling plants can process most gift wraps with other paper products, creating hefty recycled bales that are  shipped to paper mills to be repurposed into other goods such as cardboard liners.

“You can opt to recycle on your own or use such companies. If you have a huge pile of trash, I would recommend you partner with recycling plants to ease that work.

To make the process fun and engaging always bring on board other family members,” she urges. 

For food waste, she says since holiday feasts provide the very best leftovers, you should not let any of them hit the bin.

To accomplish this, you need first to know who will be visit and join you for a meal, what they want, and how much they’ll eat.

A firm guest count allows you to plan portions, which is where most celebrations really go off the rails.

And once you know the numbers, you can prepare enough food for your guests. 

But if you want to err on the side of having too much, rather than too little, be prepared with enough containers to freeze your leftovers or to send guests home with them, or ask them in advance to bring their own containers.

Alternatively, you can makeover your leftovers and give them a second wind as a delicious snack the next day. For the leftovers, which cannot be packaged, you can consider composting.

“Composting is an aerobic method of decomposing organic solid wastes to make manure.

This, significantly, cuts down on the amount of trash in the landfill. It also enriches soil with nutrients, which reduces the need for fertilisers and pesticides,” Wangeci explains.

For larger gatherings, Wangechi advises that you should choose recyclables and compostable rather than the disposables.

For the plates and cutlery, you can wash them instead of throwing them out and for napkins you can find some napkins that you can wash and save for the next party, instead of throwing away paper ones.

For Christmas tree and decorative lighting she says that though both artificial and real trees can be good options, it is always good to go for the live one which can be replanted in your yard.

If you decide to go with artificial trees you need to make sure that you get one that is made to last.

This is because it doesn’t do any good if you are tossing them out every year and getting a new one each holiday. Always consider reusability while purchasing your Christmas décor.

“The message that I would like to pass through is that you can handle that holiday trash by recycling, reusing and reducing.

If we all go this way, we will be able to be less wasteful this Christmas holiday something which is a plus to our environment.” she says in conclusion.

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