Have you ever wondered what happens to your trash once you’ve thrown it in the bin and it has been collected by the garbage truck? The process of creating a landfill is a serious one. It requires careful planning and a lot of energy. We take a look at the workings of a landfill and, what we can do to prevent the issues associated with rubbish

According to SAWIC, in 2015, South Africa produced almost 42 million tons of waste. A portion of this waste went to specially engineered landfills. These landfill operators collect waste and, at the end of each day, compact it into large blocks. These blocks are then stacked inside a pit and covered with soil. The pits usually have clay and plastic linings to prevent dangerous gasses and liquids from seeping back into the earth. Pipes are also used to extract gasses such as methane. Although this method is more responsible than others, it would be best if more materials could be recycled. This would reduce the need for landfill sites, as well as the release of pollutants.

A large portion of the waste generated is incinerated through thermal treatment options. This option is considered to be a poor method of managing waste as it releases a huge amount of pollutants into the air. It also means that the waste isn’t being used to its full potential.

So what can we do to reduce the amount of waste we send to landfills?

Almost every time we purchase a product, we end up generating waste.

Stop buying prepackaged foods. Although easier said than done, it is possible to make conscious decisions when buying food products. Prepare in advance, meals in re-useable containers, using food bought in bulk or fresh from your local store (or grown in your own garden). This reduces packaging material. The same concept goes for shopping bags. Rather use reusable bags for your shopping trip.

You could also bring your own re-usable containers to your local store and take home meat from the deli and vegetables in them instead of purchasing products with packaging.

As we mentioned in one of our previous blogs, making your own compost is a good way to make your garden a more eco-friendly place. Not only does it provide a healthy growth medium for your homegrown plants, but it also drastically reduces the amount of organic waste sent to the landfill.

In the kitchen, the paper towel can quickly be used up. Reduce the use of this product by keeping a small towel and sponge/ cloth by the sink for drying hands and cleaning up the counters.

Donating your unwanted clothes this winter, provides warmth for those who cannot afford it, while reducing landfill waste. If clothes are torn and non-wearable, turn them into blankets by sewing different pieces together, or reuse them as rags for cleaning and drying. The same concept goes for leftover foods. If you don’t want to save them for the next day, give them to someone else.

Recycle plastic, glass and paper. Purchase an Allsorted recycling bin for your office, hotel or home and use it to separate different materials. Then, send the relevant materials to their respective recycling companies.

Rechargeable batteries combat the problem of harmful waste generated by normal, disposable batteries. You’ll spend less on replacing batteries and be saving the environment at the same time.

Stop purchasing disposable plastic water bottles! Not only do the bottles leach BPA (the chemical associated with cancer and endocrine disruption) but they also take up a large amount of landfill space. Plastic bottles take forever to break down.

A lot of household waste comes from unwanted items. Before purchasing a product, make sure you really need it.

You should always make an effort to purchase recycledgoods as this means you are completing the process of recycling.

Purchase recyclable products that can be broken down or recycled after their lifespan. Electronics that can be taken apart and have their parts used in other products are an example of this. Allsorted uses aluminium and stainless steel to produce many of our products. Our stainless steelis already made from 60% recycled material and is, along with aluminium, fully recyclable.

Use old tyres, milk bottles, light bulbs and other household consumables to create useful products such as coat hooks and cell phone charger holders.

Printing at home or in the office can add up over time. When printing, consider double-sided printing and use recycled paper wherever possible.

There are hundreds of recycling tips available out there and most of them are easily incorporated into our lives