Lessons on waste in a tub at the PSD public waste strategy consultation workshop

January 27th, 2011 by Richard Lord

Much of what we throw away isn’t really ‘waste’ unless we mix it together and make it difficult and expensive to separate.

I received a lesson in waste management when I made a cup of tea early on at the second workshop of the States of Guernsey Public Services Department waste strategy consultation at the St. Sampson High school.

The lesson was found in a small plastic tub and it was about the three R’s of Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.

This is waste - it needn't be. A lesson in following the Waste Hierarchy (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

The plastic tub was by the coffee and hot water dispenser and by a box containing perhaps two hundred or more plastic spoons.

In examining the contents of this tub of ‘waste’ I realised that none of its contents had to be thrown away.

The tea bags can be composted to enrich soil.  The empty paper tubes that had contained sugar can be composted or recycled as paper.

And one plastic spoon could be used by all the people wishing to stir their cups.  If a person worried about the taint of coffee in tea, two plastic spoons could be used but there was no need to have available a box of 200 or more plastic spoons even if they could be recycled in Guernsey.

‘Waste’ is an attitude.  Awareness of one’s use of resources reduces waste.  Nothing from this plastic tub had to go to waste.  It may have been sorted and the waste separated into resources but why mix the contents in the first place.

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