How to help the planet from home?

Por Mariajosé Juanta

We consider as garbage everything that we think has no use or value. But if a process of separation of recyclable materials is carried out, these become waste, which in practical terms is equal to raw material.

In other words, we can reuse them in the manufacturing process of new articles, thus saving us the consumption of more natural resources such as trees, water, oil, iron, etc.

Did you know that each citizen on average generates 1.14 pounds of garbage daily, according to the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources of Guatemala? In the city of Quetzaltenango alone, more than 200 metric tons of garbage are produced daily.

If waste were sorted at home, up to 90% of it could be recovered and turned into raw material, but when it is mixed, this percentage is reduced to 30%. In addition, solid waste contamination causes gastrointestinal, respiratory, fungal and heavy metal diseases.

By adopting good green habits and having better environmental conditions, we can achieve a better quality of life. We save on the consumption of natural resources and save money. For example, by always carrying a bottle of water, we avoid buying bottles, which cost an average of 5 Quetzals.

It is important that from home we can implement a new culture and teach children new sustainable habits. 

The organization Bit Planeta Verde, conducted a series of research and tests to create the Green Zone method. Implementing it is free, easy and fast.

Build your green zone in 3 steps: 

  • Find a place at home: Undercover, clean and dry, it can be a corner in the yard or corridor.
  • Place labeled containers: You can use a marker, or a sheet of paper printed like a sticker, and place the labels: Paper and Cardboard, Plastics, Organic, etc. You do not need to spend money, you can use buckets, metal cans, cardboard boxes, even the bags used for the market, baskets. For organics, you can use a plastic container and place it in a section of the kitchen.
  • Empty, crush and deposit: Every time you finish using a product, get into the habit of emptying and draining it. Also crush it, so that it does not take up too much space, and finally deposit it in the appropriate container in your green area. 

At the beginning, the first three times it may be strange, but then it will become an automatic process, and little by little the other members of the family will get involved.

Why is it important to start today? 

According to the UN, the planet is facing a triple environmental emergency, involving climate change, pollution and biodiversity loss. 

No matter how big or small the actions are, they all count, they all add up. The best time to do something for the planet was yesterday, and the second-best time is today. 

“We need a balance where we can enjoy nature, while having factories and technology with green processes that ensure human evolution,” said Aldo, a 7-year-old boy.

Mariajosé is a Systems Engineer, social entrepreneur and environmental advocate. She is a member of the National Council of Leaders for Guatemala (Conaligua) and the founder of Bit Planeta Verde.