The sad part is that almost half of our everyday waste is perfectly compostable. Yet we rely on trucks that run on gasoline to pick up our trash. Iit's rather silly to have the garbage truck collect your kitchen scraps and garden waste and travel hundreds of kilometers just to deposit them in a dumpsite when you can simply compost them right in your own home.
So here are a few things the government can do to address the stinky problem of trash here in the Philippines.
1. From now on, garbage segregation and composting will be mandatory. Come on, people, we’ve been taught about the benefits of composting since grade school. Composting reduces up to 30-40% of household waste. And you get free fertilizer for your plants in the process. From now on, garbage trucks will be collecting only non-biodegradable plastic wastes, while compostables go to the compost bins.
2. Households who refuse to compost their trash will be penalized. Likewise, the government should also reward those who do, by buying their compost from them at a handsome price.
3. The government should issue FREE compost bins to every household. And an in-depth seminar about composting should be held in every barangay. Officials will visit every household to check on their compost bin and how their other garbage are being sorted out.
4. Households which don't have a yard big enough to compost in (condos, apartments, etc.) can simply bring their compostable trash to a designated spot in their barangay—a community composting center. (Surely, there’s a vacant lot somewhere in the subdivision where compostables can be collected.)
But there’s a fee for subscribing to this service. We pay monthly for our Internet connection, why not pay too for something as necessary as trash management.
5. Government should invest wisely and install compost centers in every barangay as efficiently as possible, with big shredders for the really tough jobs. City officials who don’t prioritize composting will be duly composted. Kidding.
6. People managing the community compost centers get a generous pay, with health benefits and other perks of course. After all, composting is no sissy work.
7. Now that we're in the habit of composting, hotspots such as public markets should be taken advantage of for all that goldmine just sitting on the curb. After all, they generate tons and tons of compostable waste every day.
8. From now on, supermarkets, groceries, and even the little shops and stalls at the public market should charge for every plastic bags they issue.
Not just a measly 2 Pesos for every bag. It should be Ten Pesos (PhP 10): people should feel the costs of their decision to use plastic bags that require precious petroleum and natural gas to be made. Don’t want to shell out ten Pesos? Then carry a reusable canvas bag when you shopping.
9. From now on, the DTI (Department of Trade and Industry) should check each and every product that gets sold in the markets, groceries, etc. for excess and needless packaging. If you can sell a product with less packaging, then good. If it's wrapped too much, then have the manufacturer change the packaging or else take it off the shelves for good.
Less packaging, less waste. Simple math.
10. We should empower our garbage collectors—they’re not just mindless people who collect our garbage with no say in the matter. Let them refuse improperly segregated trash. Let them charge homeowners for every kilo of garbage they are handed. PhP 10 per kilo, with receipts, of course.
This doesn’t just empower garbage collectors, it also ensures the public becomes responsible for the garbage they produce. Hopefully, people will be inspired to reduce their waste, recycle, and make compost.