The holiday season is a time for giving and celebrations. However, it is also a time when we unknowingly produce large amounts of waste. Massive volumes of wrapping paper and packaging are sent to landfills across Thailand as soon as Christmas ends. It’s joined by decorations and other single-use goods only needed for a few weeks each year.
What many people may not realize is that most of these items can’t be recycled. This puts further strain on the country’s already stressed landfill and waste disposal systems which adds to pre-existing problems, such as plastic waste leakage.
When you’re celebrating Christmas and New Year’s with loved ones, don’t forget to give back to the environment by reducing waste during the holiday season in Bangkok. Here are a few tips on how that’s possible.
1) Use recyclable wrapping paper
It may seem small and harmless, but tens of millions of pounds of wrapping paper is thrown away globally each year. That is because most types aren’t recyclable due to the ink, plastics and other materials mixed in with the paper. It’s the same story for all those bows, ribbons or anything using glitter.
Avoid contributing to waste generation by purchasing wrapping paper that can be recycled. This is usually unbleached and doesn’t use massive amounts of ink. In many cases, it will say recyclable on the packaging. And if you don’t find any, you can repurpose old newspapers, magazines and boxes around the house.
2) Keep decorations for next year
Garbage collections at condominiums across Bangkok will burst at the seams with plastic trees, lights and other Christmas decorations by the time January comes around. And 11 months later, many of the same people will buy the exact same stuff they just threw away. It’s a wasteful, unnecessary cycle that does untold damage to the environment. By keeping holiday decorations and reusing them each year, you are both reducing waste and saving yourself money.
3) Sort waste for use as RDF
It is difficult to get through Christmas time completely trash free. The good news is that waste doesn’t have to go to waste. Refuse-derived fuel, or RDF, are non-recyclable materials that can be used as a source of energy for cement kilns.
That means wrapping paper, multi-layer plastics and other things that would otherwise need to be sent to the landfill are instead be destroyed through high temperatures and long residence times in a cement kiln with no residues or remains leftover. The process is a Zero Waste to Landfill solution but does require you to sort these items to prevent them from being contaminated by food waste.
Those in Bangkok who have sorted holiday waste can drop it off for use as RDF at the Recycle Day Center at MEGA Bangna. It may take a little extra work but think of this as your Christmas gift to the environment.