A live talk on ‘Visit Green House: Separating Waste During COVID-19’, inspiring waste sorting and recycling to be safe and effective

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“Our goal today is creating awareness of how to separate waste at home during the COVID-19, and if someone thinks they can’t break it down into different types. We can start by separating wet waste from dry waste first, and then gradually adjust,” said Nutthaphak Atichartakarn, CEO and co-founder of Trash Lucky.

This platform attracts people by awarding prizes to incentivize them to separate waste for recycling in the live talk ‘Visit Green House: Separating Waste during COVID-19’, a session in which green gurus discussed proper waste separation amid the pandemic.”

Sayumporn Laovachirasuwam, the recycling instructor at Indorama Ventures PCL (IVL), the world’s largest PET producer and recycler, shared knowledge regarding waste separation during the COVID-19, saying, “At my house, first of all is to sort plastic bottles out from other waste because PET bottles are 100% recyclable and generate income for us. Look for the recycle triangle symbol on the bottle; number 1 refers to PET bottles, which are the most collected. Transparent bottles, in particular, can be put into the recycling process and transformed into high-quality products, for example, recycled PET resin, fiber and yarns which can be processed into clothes, furniture, as well as PPE suits which require 18 PET bottles to be recycled to produce each,”

She further mentioned that the second type of plastic refers to translucent bottles such as milk bottles, shampoo bottles, while the third type of plastic is, for example, water pipes and insulated cables. Type 4 of plastic refers to bubble wraps and frozen food packages, while type 5 include such items as straws and microwavable food trays. Number 6 refers to plastic bowls and plates, CD cases, and type 7 plastics are other materials such as silicon cups, bio-plastic glass, transparant roof, etc. These plastics are distinct and, if possible, should be discarded separately.

“The procedure for preparing the bottle is fairly simple. Simply pour the liquid out, twist the bottle, seal the cap, and deposit it in the recycle bin at any collection locations. However, discarded bottles containing used masks are considered an incorrect method; such bottles will be addressed as contaminated and will not be accepted by the buyers. Hence, a bottle which can be recycled to create many benefits is turned into waste. The proper method is to place the mask in a separate bag and tie it tightly and put it in the infectious garbage container after marking it as infectious waste.” Sayumporn said.

Siriporn Sriaram from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) added, “We noticed how people recognize the impacts of plastic on the environment. However, due to concerns related to the COVID-19, they might turn to adopt the same behavior of using more disposable packaging, which actually can be washed and reused multiple times, as well as PET bottles, which many people forget can be recycled. Moreover, things we didn’t know three years ago, like the different types of plastics in PET and retractable bags, let us know where we want to begin our search for knowledge. When we first begin, we may need to progressively inform our close friends about what we do and communicate, so that they can learn through Direct Learning.”

Apart from separating waste by himself, Prem Rerktayanon, the Facebook page “The tricycle uncle and his lost trash”, also developed the Green2Get application that makes garbage management easier. “We have developed two main functions in the application which help expand the data base through QR code scanning, and the ability to send waste to the right people. Our customers are the tricycle riders, whom we try to understand their needs and provide what they want. Providing the right things to the right buyers can help them create more income. Currently, we’re developing waste separation technologies which provide instructions on how to dispose of waste properly, count on the number of wastes we have disposed of, thus facilitating waste management at home and office to be much easier. Proper waste separation can be done easily, starting with ourselves. For examples, defining which waste can be separated, colleting bottles, which can be sold for money and create numerous benefits.”

“As food delivery during the pandemic skyrocketed, the fifth type of plastic waste separation technique has been invented. To make these packages reusable, let’s focus on the 3R principle: Reduce-Reuse-Recycle. We try to separate waste as much as possible, especially items that are recyclable. We also have organized areas where different people and organizations will come to pick the trash up, including Trash Lucky, Green Roof, tricycle riders, etc. During the COVID-19 pandemic, however, reaching the community may be more difficult as people see and interact with each other less. Despite that fact, the amount of waste is still multiplying, and we need to keep trying to solve this issue. Changing people or our family’s behaviours may be difficult, and we need to understand that it takes time for changed behaviours to happen gradually. All the processes must be systematic and straightforward to drive more collaboration from other people, said Nutthaphak.

The discussion from the live event shed light on how the waste management issue is so close to us. This problem can be solved by starting from ourselves and subsequently bringing cooperation from family, organization, and society to handle natural resources effectively. Have you begun sorting your recyclables yet? You can catch up on this live talk at https://www.facebook.com/trashlucky.