We produce waste every day from activities in our daily lives. No matter what we do now, there are always waste that we contribute to our landfill. It is hard to imagine for us to produce no waste at all, or zero waste. From drinking coffee until opening the package that we got from the online retailer, we made new waste everyday.
Now more than ever, it is getting harder to manage the garbage that has been piling up in landfills. Modern recycling method can be the solution of reducing the garbage piles. But in this rate, we will be out of places for landfills in our living spaces. More landfills can affect the community health as garbage brings up dangerous and viral pathogen to human and the environment. Is it possible to actually wipe out 100% of all land waste to build a healthier community?
There is one plan that can change the way how we see waste and waste management. Waste won’t be seen as hazardous things to the environment but it will become a valuable commodity for a sustainable life. The Zero Waste to Landfill (ZWTL) strategy is a plan to reduce the waste that people make that is being transport to the landfill to as small amount as possible.
How can it be as real as possible to create no waste at all, while in reality there’s no way we will not produce any waste? But with waste categorization, 3 simple steps of 3R; reduce, reuse and recycle, combined with all party participation and cooperation, we can achieve the zero-waste vision (Perda Jakarta Nomor 3 Tahun 2013 Pasal 12). Waste categorization is very important as each category of waste should be sorted and treated differently based on the 3R steps. Most likely, organic waste will still pile up upon recycling process. Reducing organic waste production plays an essential part to achieve zero waste in the landfill. In contrast, inorganic wastes are sorted for easier process of recycling and reusing the waste itself.
This practical effort is not as difficult as it seems. There is actually have been people that succeed in decreasing waste in their community. Kamikatsu, a famous small town in Japan strives on producing zero waste from society. The people of Kamikatsu separates their garbage into 45 categories. Each categories of waste are treated differently and specifically as efficient as possible. Since the first program was applied in 1997, the residence of Kamikatsu have been separating their garbage in 9, then 22, then 34 and finally 45 categories. The local government has long supported this program and it has become the daily habit of the residence of Kamikatsu to separate their own domestic waste. It is not a fast process but the small town itself has archived 80% of recycling and reusing their waste by now.
Even it seems a challenging process, this ambitious mission has a lot of benefit to offer for the people that has implemented it. Your wastes now are valuable for reuse and recycling which means making money from the used things. Organic wastes can also be recycled for compost fertilizer. It might sound nothing until we think to ourselves how much food is being produced for our daily needs. The fertilizer will be a high-grade fertilizer as it is organically made, therefore it has high demand for it by the agricultural companies. In the end the Zero Waste Landfill will actually saves you money. Other than that, Zero Waste to Landfill has the most meaningful benefit to the environment. We are looking after the environment by not putting our waste into the landfill. There will be less waste pollution to the surroundings.
Landfill is not a sustainable way to treat our waste. Landfills produce contaminated water and it could go sipping through the ground. This contaminated water from landfills is called leachate, which could pollute the soil and ground water when it isn’t managed properly. Generating trash to go to landfills will worsen the pollution to the environment. Piled up waste also pollutes the air with uncomfortable odor of the methane production from the waste.
It is such an incredible effort from the people from such small town to have the awareness of reducing their waste for the benefit of the environment. Do you think we can apply this method in our daily lives just like the people from Kamikatsu? Waste4Change is here to help on the Zero Waste to Landfill effort. We can cooperate together to realize this vision. With zero waste we can create a healthy and sustainable community, which benefits the people that participate with the program.
Writer: Jesson J. Setiawan