Recycling household waste

Recycling household waste is good for the environment and can even bring in some extra cash if done correctly.  Although it has been practiced in some countries around 

the world for some time now, there are many other nations where all waste produced in the private sector is still just dumped on landfill sites. This kind of waste management is bad for the environment. While a  paper towel can biodegrade in just a few weeks, some plastic products take up to a thousand years to achieve this.

How long do materials take to decompose?

Have a look at the following list published by the New York Times in 2001 to get an idea of the time it takes certain waste products to totally decompose.

"Paper- 2.5 months; Orange Peel- 6 months; Milk Carton- 5 years; Cigarette Butt- 10-12 years; Plastic bag- 10-20 years; Disposable diaper- 75 years; Tin can- 100 years; Beer can- 200-500 years; Styrofoam- never (immortal)"

As you can see a lot of things we throw away on a daily basis take  a long time to decompose. If you consider that probably millions of beer and soft drink cans are consumed on any single day world wide, imagine the amount of cans piling up on landfill sites in hundreds of years. To take the load of the landfills and the pressure on the environment we all should start recycling household waste.

It's actually quite easy and if done correctly can even bring in some extra income.

Recycling household waste

If you look at a full dust bin that is ready to be dumped on a landfill you will find that nearly all of the items inside can be recycled. 

The easiest way to recycle the items is to set up different storage containers for them.

Use one container for 

  • Glass - jars, bottles, broken glasses... 
  • Plastic - bottles, bags, packaging materials...
  • Metal - tins, cans, nails, containers...
  • Paper - newspapers, junk mail, old magazines...
  • Organics - food waste, kitchen scraps, tea bags...

All these materials are actually in demand and in many countries around the world you will find specialized companies that will pay you some money for your glass, plastic, metal and paper waste.

In countries with a lot of unemployment this has led many people to create their own one person recycling enterprises. In South Africa for example you will see every day men and women pushing trollies through the streets and collecting all recyclable materials out of rubbish bins before they get emptied by the municipal waste management department.

By the end of the day they sell their collected items to glass- metal-, plastic- and paper recycling companies.

In countries that have established recycling systems in place you will find large drop off containers at certain places in all cities where you can drop off your recyclable materials. These containers belong usually to commercial enterprises. 

In addition in countries like Germany for example the municipalities expect the citizens to separate their household waste at home in the different categories before they get collected.

Recycling organic materials

Kitchen scraps are ideal for recycling with the help of earthworms

Food waste and other kitchen scraps can easily be recycled.

When it comes to the recycling of household waste the organic materials that each household produces are unfortunately often overlooked.

Between 25 and 50% of all the waste that gets dumped on landfills is considered organic. These materials include, food waste, kitchen scraps, tee bags, coffee grounds, newspapers, paper towels, tissues, human and animal hair, dog poop, garden clippings to name just a few.

When dumped on landfills they decompose anaerobically and produce methane and CO2 gases that are contributing to climate change.

The amazing thing is that organic waste can be recycled at home and even turned into a nice side line or full time business.

The recycling of household waste that is organic can easily be done in worm bins or worm farms. 

The Mini Tower worm farm from Global Worming. It can recycle kitchen and garden waste from a 2 person household.

The Mini Tower worm farm can recycle all the organic waste an average 2 person household produces.

These worm farms can be used indoors or outdoors, don't produce bad odors, are easy to set up and maintain and the worms inside are converting all the kitchen- and food scraps that get dumped into the bins into worm castings which is recognized as one of the best and most balanced plant foods known to man. 

An additional benefit is the production of worm tea which can be used as a liquid plant food as well as a natural pesticide. 

People that are recycling household waste with the help of earthworms safe money as they don't need to go to nurseries to purchase fertilizers and pesticides for their potted plants or their garden.

As mentioned before worm farming as well known as worm composting of vermiculture can even generate a handsome income and is a great idea for a home based business. 

The set up costs are very low and worms can be bred and maintained in very small spaces.

If you consider to start a small business from home to generate some extra income have a look at the book "How to start a profitable worm business on a shoestring budget" the author shares his experiences as a commercial worm farmer of more than 16 years.  Everything you will need to know to get start your own profitable worm composting business is described in detail.

If you just would like to recycle your food- and other organic waste, get yourself a worm farm, which you even can build yourself and some compost worms. Have a look at the links below that can help you to get started.

Recycling household waste is simple! Start today!

For questions or suggestions about worm farming and or recycling household waste please fill in the contact form below and will get back to you!

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Building a simple worm bin at home


Where to buy worms


Worm farming is a sustainable business


Worms compost dog poop


Recycling against climate change


More information about waste management

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