«Waste sorting will become an everyday habit in households in Latvia in the next several years,» says waste management company Ragn-Sells representative Inese Letinska.
Letinska offers her commentary on the myths and wrong impressions people have that prevent them from sorting their trash more actively.
Myth: separate containers for different waste take up too much space
Forget about the myth that you need seven separate containers to sort waste. It is enough to use separate bags: one for plastic, one for paper and carton and one for glass, Letinska comments.
She notes that if there is not a lot of waste to begin with, they can be combined in one, with separate pockets. «Of course, it is easier to sort garbage if there are separate waste containers nearby. If there are no containers nearby, ask the local government or local waste management company when and where containers will be set up,» Letinska explains.
Myth: glass bottles and jars have to be clean
Letinska says cleanliness is unnecessary. It is enough to wash bottles and jars with some water. It is also unnecessary to pull off labels. Every ton of glass provided for recycling helps save up more than a ton of natural resources. Glass bottles and jars are made from natural materials – sand, soda ash and limestone. This is why they are 100% recyclable. This can be done endlessly without loss of quality, says waste management company representative.
Myth: waste is collected together – why bother sorting?
Letinska notes that the goal of sorting waste is not creating illusions, but rather doing it and achieving specific results with it. «Unfortunately, people in Latvia do not always understand how to properly sort their waste. For example, carton and paper must not be wet, dirty and covered in food scraps. If someone throws away a bucked of potato peelings into the container intended for paper, that paper will no longer be fit for recycling.»
Myth: sorting waste is hard
«Think green! You don’t need to have a degree in chemistry or biology to sort your waste. If you are confused by the many methods for sorting waste, start with something simple – like glass or carton. Try doing that for a month. You will see that it is not as hard as people make it out to be,» recommends Ragn-Sells representative.
Myth: no one pays for sorting waste, so there is no reason to do that
Letinska notes that no one pays us to love the people we care about either, but we do that nonetheless. The same goes for the environment, says the company’s representative. «If we want to enjoy nature’s gifts and make sure there are some left for our children to enjoy, we should take care of the environment – sorting waste is one way we can take responsibility for the environment we live in.»
Myth: waste sorting is a fad that will soon go away
«Natural resources are not inexhaustible in the world. This is why waste sorting is gradually becoming more topical. It took more than 100,000 years for the world’s human population to reach 3.5 billion. But it took only 50 years in the recent past for this number to double. Predictions state that there will be nine billion people on the planet in 2050. Everyone needs resources, but we have only one Earth. Waste sorting is the easiest way of limiting resource consumption,» Letinska explains the situation.
She notes that there is only one piece of advice for people who consider sorting their waste – it is not worth trying to sort all waste immediately. It should be done gradually and responsibly.
Myth: waste sorting is expensive
By making waste sorting a family habit, you will soon notice a decline in the volume of household waste. Because waste sorting containers in Latvia are emptied free of charge, waste sorting can help you to reduce waste management costs, Letinska says.