We all try to take care of the environment we live in on a daily basis. Waste segregation is one of the activities we do for this purpose on a routine basis. However, are we sure that we do it in accordance with the applicable rules?
Legal aspects of waste segregation
The correct way of waste segregation is defined in the regulation issued by the Minister of Environment of 29 December 2016 on the detailed method of selective collection of selected waste fractions (Journal of Laws of 2017, item 19).
Waste segregated in a proper way gets a second life. As a result of their processing, a new product is created. In this way we avoid littering our environment and save the planet. What is important, today segregation is obligatory for all of us. If we do not follow the segregation rules, we are threatened with a high financial penalty.
The most important rules of segregation
- Separation of recyclable materials from non-recyclable waste
Metal, plastic such as plastic, paper, biodegradable waste and glass are all raw materials that can be recycled. It is therefore important to separate them from other waste. Each of these materials should go in a separate, color-coded bag or garbage can. Plastics and metals should be placed in a yellow container. Glass should be placed in green containers. Blue is for paper, brown is for biowaste and black is for mixed waste, i.e. everything that cannot be disposed of in the other containers
- Hazardous waste
Hazardous waste includes, but is not limited to: batteries, fluorescent tubes, expired medicines, chemical waste (e.g. fertilizer containers, household chemical waste, etc.), electrical waste, i.e. household appliances and household electronics. This type of waste should under no circumstances be thrown into containers with mixed waste
All mentioned items must be placed in places which are specially designated for this purpose. Each municipality should organize points where you can leave hazardous waste. Often these expired medicines are accepted at specific pharmacies in a given town. Similarly, batteries, for which there are special containers in some stores. Additionally, there are Collective Waste Collection Points, commonly known as PSZOK. In these points we can leave the hazardous waste we produce
- So called multi-material packaging
What if a particular item consists of several different materials? An example of such waste is a milk carton. Its individual parts are made of paper, plastic or aluminium. This kind of waste is called multi-material packaging. Depending on what the item consists of most, we put it in a particular bin. So a milk carton, without a doubt, should be put in the garbage can for metals and plastics
- To wash or not to wash? That is the question
Many people think that in order to do recycling properly, you have to wash every single item of waste, such as jars and bottles, thoroughly. However, this is not true. It is important to dispose of the contents of jars, cans and bottles. The waste should be empty, but not necessarily cleaned. One of the steps that is carried out in the garbage sorting facility for recycling is just washing the waste
- Plastic bottle caps
Plastic bottles should end up in the yellow garbage can, i.e. designated for plastic and metal. Before throwing them away, we should crush them so that they take up less space in the bin. It is worth remembering about bottle caps and their reuse. We can conscientiously collect them instead of throwing them away. Foundations and associations are happy to accept caps. Even large amounts of them. For a long time, popular are the charity actions in which plastic caps are collected. Foundations exchange them for e.g. wheelchairs or other things that are helpful to those in need