Waste Management During Corona Pandemic
- Social distancing should mean you go out less but also that you throw out less.
- Following good SWM practices, which most of us eco friendly folks have followed for years, can reduce the solid waste by 95%!
- If anything, corona virus has taught us is that we all are in this together -either all of us work to keep each one safe or this virus will spiral to gut us or our loved ones!
- So what can you do with your waste? First we will take the case of folks in home quarantine and then the rest of us.
How to do this
- Wet waste - use a single home composter like Te’ or make one (see below).
- Dry waste - Try and reduce. Wash and reuse. compost paper. Reuse plastic or metal if you can. Make them into temporary pots for plants. What you can’t reduce or compost, just hoard.
- Reject Waste - use reusable period care products. Buy a menstrual cup (you will thank corona for next 10 years!) or buy a cost effective Ladli reusable pads @ Rs 400 to just tide you over quarantine. You can wash and reuse both of these and eliminate 100% of your sanitary waste. Baby diapers - now that you are home, you will figure out their pee and poop cycle. Just take the baby to sink or pot at right time. For night, use a reusable diaper if you want. Or see how to make section.
If you are fine currently...
If you can do what quarantined folks have to do and that is the safest option for all. If you can’t, try and give waste out once a week/ month.
Remember, more social distancing, less spread. And giving out waste is also social interaction.
If you have to order groceries or cooked food, buy larger quantities and stock. All takeaway boxes should be cleaned well and then put in recycling bag.
Masks, Gloves, tissues, medicines - all go in reject bin.
Learn to compost and grow. Baby spinach leaves grow in 10 days. Great activity with kids - as those adorable Saif and Taimur pics show.
What Communities can do
- Give a single Te’ composter and cup/cloth pads/ reusable diapers as need may be to all quarantined homes. Collect no waste till quarantine ends plus 3 days.
- Train the staff on how they can stay safe, then reduce the staff, give them paid leave, and cut services. Less people, less risk.
- Ask people to use dry leaves / cocopeat/ compost maker blocks / newspapers/ cardboards as base in their wet waste bin to absorb water and give out wet waste only twice a week, once a week/ in two weeks if you can give out compost maker blocks.
- Collect dry waste once a week and hold it for 3 days before giving it to the waste pickers. Insist that residents clean takeaways properly before they put it in dry waste. This can be suspended easily as dry waste is easy to hoard.
- Gloves, masks, tissues all go in reject bin. Collect reject waste once in 15/30 days and please give this to Ramky/ Maridi/ Anu Autoclave only (in blr) as these need to be incinerated and not sent to landfill. Please promote reusable cloth pads, menstrual cups and reusable diapers to reduce this waste.
How to make a temporary composter
Container - Take a 10 kg grain bag - Punch holes with a child compass - a hole every 2-3 inches.
Browns - Take dry leaves ,if you have. Otherwise use cardboard delivery boxes, old newspaper etc - Normally we recommend that you recycle these but for now, you can use it.
Microbes - Use really sour butter milk. Bioenzyme if you have. Remember to put only 1-2 tea spoons and not smoother the waste.
Greens - comes from your kitchen waste. With general availability low, please do not waste food. Even with a lot of peels, e.g., ridge gourd, you can make a chutney. Make all purpose cleaner with Orange peels. Look at ur peel n google!
How to compost - In your container, put a thick base of browns. Add greens. Spray microbes. Cover with browns. Repeat everyday. Once in 3-4 days, give contents a good mix to improve aeration.
You can make grow bags out of old cans, bottles and of course plastic grain bags of all size. Spinach and other micro greens are the easiest. If this lasts for months, you can also start growing your own potatoes and other vegetables.
How to make your own reusable sanitary pad
- Cut cloth in shape of your sanitary pad. 8 times, 6 without wings and top & bottom layer with wings.
- Take a plastic grain bag. Cut sides and flatten it into a single sheet. Put the bottom layer on it and cut it slightly smaller than it.
- Now put bottom layer, plastic layer, 6 without wings layers and then top layer - one on top of other. Stitch then together - with needle and thread or sewing machine if you have one. Your very own home made pad is ready.
How to make your own reusable diaper
Babies have different diaper needs as they grow
Infants - pee and poop frequently but lesser quantity so a old saree /dhoti can be cut into squares and used as diapers
3-6 months : kids start sitting and moving a bit so a diaper can be made with a liner like the pad
6 - 12 months : can be taken to restroom frequently to potty train and can use same diaper as 3-6 month
12 month and above - just a thick panty is enough and child can be taken to restroom frequently to potty train
Most cloth diapering parents report that their kids are potty trained in 9-15 months.
How to make all purpose natural cleaner
Read our earlier blog on bioenzymes:
- Malini Parmar