Thursday, May 3, 2012

Recycling Starts With You.

In every household there’s trash which is collected after use of plastics, papers or food stuff etc. The same trends are found in offices and factories, the question is how do you manage your waste? It might not be a surprise but the truth of the matter is that we need to invent new ideas of managing waste from our homes, to our offices and the environment in general. Proper Waste Management (PWM) will save us time and money thus making our cities clean and safer than before.

 We need to cultivate the culture of respecting our environment and understanding the importance of recycling and learn from other countries how they do it. Currently I’m in Hamburg- Germany and it is amazing how people respect the systems that are in place from trains, pedestrians path, bicycle paths, designated playing fields and every place that can be accessed by people with special needs just to mention but a few. For example there are no conductors on buses or trains.

 They use what is called ‘honest policy’ whereby you need to get your ticket to the designated machines before boarding, even though if you are caught without a ticket by the inspectors on random check you are charged around 40 Euros (Kes 4,000) on the spot, no bargaining. So how can we instill the same discipline in our African continent is the patient question here, I’m learning a lot from the systems here in Germany as much as I can and all the answers are written on the ‘walls ’. It is high time we change how we think and do things as a nation and learn from other countries.  I would urge the authorities in charge if they happen to visit this great nations, in terms of infrastructures, they should pick best practices and deploy them to our own context.

As a best practice, I love the way trash is managed here in Germany whereby the sorting starts right in our homes. There are special colors for containers for plastic bags that either takes in plastics, glasses, food stuff etc and this is an universal trend with clear writing and graphics to guide you where you should place the trash, unlike in my home country where a big percentage of everything is put in one big plastic bag and the sorting done later in the dumping site. You won’t believe how it is in the slums even though there has been some improvement on how waste management is handled, which has offered job opportunities for the many youth in Kenya.

I must commend the youth initiatives and organizations who are working tirelessly on waste management in our country by turning trash into cash.  If the country could start adopting the sorting process right from our homes and across the streets, the returns would be immense. Left Picture: An example of trash bins with clear labeling to help in the sorting found at the train stations.

Best practice;
Supermarket bottles machine ( Pfandautomat ): For every bottle or plastic containers especially for beers and sodas etc,  they can be taken straight to the supermarkets and placed on a machine which gives a receipt voucher that you can either buy something in the supermarket or get an exchange for cash. This is a great way to encourage the public to recycle right on time with ease.


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