FAQ's about waste
segregation

What do you mean by waste segregation ?

Waste segregation means keeping biodegradables and
non - biodegradables separately, so that non-biodegradable waste 
can be recycled and biodegradable waste can be composted.

Why should I do it ?

So that it reduces waste that gets landfilled and reduces pollution to air and water. Segregation enables
the different processes - composting, recycling and incineration to be applied to different kinds of waste .

How do I practice waste management at home ? 

  • Keep separate containers for non-biodegradable and biodegradable waste in the kitchen.
  • Keep glass /plastic containers rinsed of food matter.
  • Send biodegradable waste out of the home daily.
  • Store and send non-biodegradable waste out of the home, once/twice a week as applicable in your community.
  • Store Household Hazardous waste, Sanitary waste and inerts in a separate bin.
  • Store e-waste in a separately

What is non-biodegradable Waste ?

Paper, plastics, metal, glass, rubber, thermocol, Styrofoam, fabric, leather, rexine, wood –
anything that can be kept for an extended period without it decomposing.

Will non-biodegradable waste smell if I store it for a week ?

Not if it is clean and dry. Make sure that plastic sachets of milk, curds, oil, dosa/idli batter, or any food item,
are cleaned of all their contents and dried before being put in the non-biodegradable waste bag. Then they will never stink.

What are the first few steps to initiating waste management in an apartment complex ?

  • Form a group of like-minded people
  • Explain waste segregation to your family / neighbours in your apartment building.
  • Get the staff in the apartment building to also understand the concept.
  • Get separate storage drums for storing the non-biodegradable waste and biodegradable waste.
  • Have the non-biodegradable waste picked up by the non-biodegradable waste collection centre or your local scrap dealer

Will I have cockroach, rats and flies problems ?

This will happen only if any food residue or organic matter is present in the non-biodegradable waste.
Clean and dry non-biodegradable waste will not attract any vermin.

How do I store pizza and cake boxes ?

Clean the pizza or cake boxes of all food residues – with a biodegradable kitchen cloth, or rinse them
quickly in water and let them dry out before putting them in the non-biodegradable bin.

How do I store pickle, sauce bottles ?

Sauce bottles should be rinsed thoroughly with water. Pickle bottles need to be cleaned with soap and water, as they contain oil. Basically, no food residue must be left in the bottles. Clean them as you would to reuse them.

What do I do with milk packets, dosa/idli packets and yoghurt containers ?

Clean them thoroughly. Open out the milk, yoghurt and dosa/idli batter packets completely at one end and wash out all the residue.
They can be put to wash with the dishes in the sink, then dried, and put into the non-biodegradable waste bin.

If I order take away from a local eatery, do I have to rinse the plastics bags/containers ?

Yes! Any plastic containing any food has to be rinsed, or washed with soap and water if required, before being put into the non-biodegradable waste bag.

Should I rinse my juice containers/ Tetra Paks ?

Yes, otherwise ants will be attracted to the sugar in the juice.

Will my biscuit/bread packet attract ants? How do I store them ?

Make sure all the bread / biscuit crumbs are shaken out of the packet, so they do not attract ants. If the biscuits are too oily,
the packet may need to be washed with soap and water.

What do I do with old clothes/ shoes/ handbags/belts/toys ?

If they are still in usable condition, they should be given to any organization that collects them. If they are totally unusable, or extremely damaged,
they are categorized as non-biodegradable waste.
If clothes are soiled with body fluids, they become sanitary waste.
If they are soiled with paint or any chemicals, they are HHW (household hazardous waste). Both sanitary waste and HHW should be stored in the
Hazardous waste bin.

What do I do with old bed linen/ mattress/ pillows etc ?

Same as above

What do I do with my old furniture/ broken glass table ?

Old furniture can be recycled. If not, it can disposed of as debris or rubbish (inerts) along with broken glass.

What do I do with old crockery / non-stick pans etc. ?

If they are not broken, they are recyclable non-biodegradable waste. If broken, debris or rubbish (inerts).

What do I do with my old taps/ broken sanitary ware ?

Old taps – recyclable non-biodegradable waste.
Broken sanitary ware – debris or rubbish (inerts).

What do I do with my old brooms/ floor cleaning cloths/ dry mops/ bathroom cleaning brush?

Bathroom cleaning brush is sanitary waste.

What is the best method of storing non-biodegradable waste ?

Store it in a bag or bin in the utility area after cleaning and drying till it is picked up.

What is e-waste ?

E-waste or electronic waste consists of batteries, computer parts, wires, electrical equipment
of any kind, electrical and electronic toys, remotes, watches, cell phones as well as bulbs, tube lights and CFLs.

How do I store E-Waste ?

Store these in separate container which is kept closed, away from moisture and in which nothing else is kept. It has to be collected periodically as a separate waste stream.

What do I do with my tube lights, CFLs and other bulbs ?

Tube lights, bulbs and CFLs fall under the category of e-waste.

What is biodegradable waste ?

Biodegradable waste consists of kitchen waste – including vegetable and fruit peels and pieces, tea leaves, coffee grounds,
eggshells, bones and entrails, fish scales, as well as cooked food (both veg and non-veg ).

Can I compost at home ?

Of course! Home composting can be easily done in any aerated container. Specialized kits are also commercially available.

I don’t have time to compost at home, what are my alternatives ?

If you live in a large apartment building, a community composting system like tank composting or pit composting could be set up for all
the biodegradable waste from the residents. If not, the biodegradable waste can be given out every day to the collection staff.

If I don’t use a plastic liner, how do I dispose my food waste in the bin ?

Before the advent of the bin liner, we would all put our garbage directly in the bin, and wash it everyday. That is what  we will have to do now.
The bin can be lined with a newspaper liner or a layer of sawdust if you don’t want to put the biodegradable waste directly into it.

What is hazardous wastes ?

HHW or Household Hazardous Wastes include toxic substances such as paints, cleaning agents, solvents, insecticides and their containers,
other chemicals; and biomedical wastes like used syringes, expired medicines, thermometers, used cosmetics etc.

What is biomedical waste ?

This includes used menstrual cloths, sanitary napkins, disposable diapers, bandages and any material that is contaminated
with blood or other body fluids.

How do I dispose sanitary pads and diapers ?

They should be wrapped in a newspaper, marked with a red cross and given along with the Hazardous waste.

How do I dispose expired medicines/ injections/razors/condoms/soiled cotton ?

Expired medicines and injections, used syringes, razors come under HHW or household hazardous wastes. Condoms, soiled cotton, etc. come
under sanitary waste – they should be wrapped in a newspaper, marked with a red cross, and given along  with the Hazardous waste.

What do I do with waxing strips and cosmetics?

Used waxing strips are sanitary waste – they should be disposed along with Hazardous waste. Cosmetics come under hazardous wastes.

I have just painted my room. How do I dispose half used paint cans ? What about pesticides, cleaning solutions, mosquito repellents?

They come under HHW or household hazardous wastes. They should be stored separate from Biodegradable and non-biodegradable waste.

How do I dispose dog poop ? In case of loose motions, what is the best way to dispose it ?

It is considered sanitary waste, to be disposed along with Hazardous waste. In case the dog or cat has loose motions, do the same with the cloth used to mop up the liquid poop.

How do I dispose human hair/nails ?

It is considered sanitary waste.

What do I do with garden waste ?

Small amounts can be mixed with the biodegradable waste. If it is substantial quantity, it has to be handed over separately to the collection staff for use in composting unit.