Waste Stream definition:
The total flow of solid waste from homes, businesses, institutions, and manufacturing plants that is recycled, burned, or disposed of in landfills, or segments thereof such as the “residential waste stream” or the “recyclable waste stream”.
I was recently reading about a zerowaste town in Japan called Kamikatsu that has 34 waste streams and diverts 80% of waste from landfill. Their efforts are impressive and I particularly like the share, swap and close-knit community aspect of town. Here in New Zealand zero waste enterprises are popping up all over the country and last July I was lucky enough to visit Xtreme Zero Waste Raglan. Servicing the Raglan township by providing a waste kerbside collection and drop off service Xtreme Zero Waste diverts approximately 75% of the waste from landfill. Seeing the numerous waste streams and learning the value of waste and shared ethos throughout the township was exciting for a waste reduction enthusiast such as myself.
Here’s a video of the study tour I joined to Xtreme Zero Waste Raglan made by Auckland Council. Watch here.
Waste streams offered at these enterprises cater for all types of waste which made me think about how many waste streams I have in my home. Here’s my list:
- bokashi compost – small scale kitchen waste
- kerbside recycling bin
- landfill bin
- soft plastic recycling
- compost heap – large scale organic matter, e.g. garden waste, toilet rolls, large kitchen organic waste (banana skins, cabbage leaves), rags, bamboo toothbrushes and scrubbing brushes
- food scraps fertiliser: tea leaves, coffee grounds, egg shells
- glass jar collection: used for homemade condiments, skin balms that I share, swap and occasionally sell
- flowers and herbs: dried to use in homemade skincare, craft and baking
- fabric: from old clothes and towels used for rags or upcycled for small sewing projects
- plastic bags from commercial soil/seed-raising mix: good to use to collect and swap seaweed/compost/mulch
These waste streams are valuable for numerous reasons and like Xtreme Zero Waste Raglan and the town of Kamikatsu help close the loop or circulate resources a few more times before ending in landfill.
I would be interested for people to share how many waste streams they have in their home to inspire me and others!