Separation at the Source

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Kitchen designers and suppliers of kitchen equipment will need to become more sensitive to the needs of recycling.

Major manufacturers of kitchen equipment should make sorting drawers, lazy Susan sorting bins, and tilt-out bins as standard kitchen equipment. Kitchen designers should keep in mind small convenience items, such as automatic label scrapers, trash chutes, and can flatteners to make recycling more convenient.

The more finely household waste is separated, the greater its contribution to recycling. Figure 10.6.1 shows an approach where household waste is separated into four containers.

Container 1 would receive all organic or putrescible materials, including food-soiled paper and disposable diapers and excluding toxic substances and glass or plastic items. The contents of this container can be taken to a composting plant that also receives yard wastes and possibly sewage sludge and produces soil additives.

Container 2 would receive all clean paper, newspapers, cardboard, and cartons for paper processing, where contents are separated mechanically and sold to commercial markets.

Container 3 would receive clean glass bottles and jars and aluminum and tin cans free of scrap metals and plastics.

Container 4 would receive all other waste, including plastic, metal, ceramic, textile, and rubber items. (Later, a fifth container could be added for recyclable plastics.) The contents of this container can be considered nonrecyclable and sent to a landfill or a recycling plant for further separation. The contents of this container would represent about 12% of the total MSW.

Separate collections are required for trash items that are not generated on a daily basis, such as yard waste, brush

FIG. 10.6.1 Basic separation scheme.

and wood, discarded furniture and clothing, "white goods" such as kitchen appliances, toxic materials, car batteries, tires, used oil, and paint.

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