Household Waste Management Guide for Parents

  • Wildlife Habitat Council
  • DOI
  • Florida DEP
  • EPA
  • Greenpop
  • DNR Wisconsin

A typical practice for most household refuse disposal is to dump solid wastes in open spaces like backyard gardens. However, such indiscriminate dumping of wastes could pose serious environmental problems and threaten human health. Any solid waste that is not correctly disposed of can result in a wide range of problems. For instance, it can create a breeding ground for different types of organisms that cause diseases. In addition, they can cause public nuisance because of the foul and repulsive smell. Besides, they can contaminate groundwater, the surrounding soils, and surface water. Some wastes can cause fire hazards, especially if they are highly flammable, and some can cause severe poisoning, for example, insecticides and pesticides.

Why Waste Management in the Household is Important

According to EPA, about 55% to 65% of municipal solid waste originates from households. Therefore, waste management in households is essential because it contributes towards global cleanliness and sustainability objectives.

All people everywhere generate some form of waste. However, the amount produced is affected by consumption, economic activity, and population growth, among other factors. Developed countries like the US typically generate large amounts of municipal solid waste such as disposable goods, packed goods, used electronics, food wastes. The US generates the largest municipal solid waste per person every day, and most originate from households. Therefore, household waste management will significantly contribute to reducing the total trash in the environment.

Importance of the Role of Parents in Teaching their Kids Proper Waste Management

Parents play an essential role in teaching kids about waste management. It is crucial to teach children about the significance of an eco-friendly lifestyle and recycling as early as possible. If children are provided with everything they need, they will think resources are limitless. For instance, they will always think that the fuel for the car is always there to take them for an outing, and even the plastic containers they use will not eventually end up in a landfill. Children require education on finite resources and how human activities affect the planet; otherwise, they will not be more conscientious about living on this planet.

  1. Parents Can Teach Kids in a Fun Way

    Recycling, for instance, doesn't have to be something complex. Recycling can be an opportunity for parents to engage their kids with something. Kids shouldn't feel the need to whine or complain when separating plastic from paper or any trash from tins for collection. This can be an excellent chance to engage them to do something fun. Parents can show children the numerous possibilities for recycling some common household wastes like papers. For instance, you can let them turn milk cartons into planters to grow seedlings. There are different ways that parents can make their children do something they can enjoy while learning about waste management. Some local recycling businesses could also be having some programs for kids.

  2. Teach Kids More About Environment

    Parents can buy books for kids that teach about the environment in a language approach they can relate with. Similarly, you can make quiz cards to develop a fun game and indicate what happens if we don't care for our environment. You can also talk about the health consequences if we don't handle garbage collection. For instance, according to WHO, about 3.7 million people in 2012 died due to outdoor air pollution. Depending on the age of children, you can teach that more and more people are likely to die if we don't take corrective measures.

  3. Where the Rubbish Goes

    One approach to teaching children more about waste management is to make them understand or know where rubbish goes. If parents desire to be proactive and raise children who care about their environment, then the whole exercise should be made a valuable experience. Parents can let their children talk to garbage collection workers and ask questions. You can also take them to the dumpsite or any recycling plant near you and show them the piles of garbage that people dump carelessly without care. You can remind them of the global amount of wastes that go to the dumping site each year. A visual depiction of waste and its effect can make kids think twice about what they throw away instead of recycling.

  4. Spreading the Word

    When parents teach children about waste management, they are sharing knowledge that will finally make a difference. The knowledge will make the children more environmentally conscious and be more thoughtful about throwing away or buying something that is not useful. These children will also teach their children in the future about the environment and waste management.

Adopt the 3 R's

The three R's of waste management refers to Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. All three steps, if adopted, will significantly cut down on waste because they conserve natural resources, reduce the amount of trash in landfill spaces, and conserve energy. Besides, if the three R's are adopted, it can save land and money from disposing of waste in landfills.

  1. Reduce - The best approach to managing waste is to stop producing it, and this does not mean cutting back everything. However, there are many items you can cut to reduce waste without altering your lifestyle in a big way. Some of the ways one can follow to minimize wastes include the following:
    • Buy items with less packaging because about 30% of wastes in the landfills come from packaging. So, when you're shopping, go for products with one bag or bog and not those coming with double or triple packing.
    • Always buy in bulk because buying more of one product at a time means that you're reducing the overall amount of packaging.
    • Avoid any disposable items, especially paper, napkins, lighters, razors, and plastic utensils.
    • Always buy durable goods. These are items that will last because they are well-built and often come with a warranty. In the long run, they will save money and save landfill space.
    • Instead of paper towels, use a dishcloth. Avoid paper napkins and adopt cloth napkins.
  2. Reuse - Reuse has become more popular in the recent past. If you choose to reuse a product instead of throwing away, you keep them out of landfills besides creating something new. Some of the reuse approaches can include the following:
    • Avoid throwing away items after use. Even broken products can be reused again or even used for another purpose. For instance, you can use a coffee can for packed lunch. In addition, you can repair broken toys, furniture, and appliances.
    • Items like old clothes, unused appliances, and toys can be sold or donated to charities.
    • When visiting a grocery store, go with an old grocery bag or invest in reusable shopping bags. Never take any item like a bag from the store unless it's necessary.
  3. Recycle - Recycling is the process of remanufacturing a new product from used material. Countless items can be recycled, including glass, paper, plastics, and many others. Recycling works when the consumers complete the process by purchasing recycled products. To be part of the process, you need to do the following:
    • Buy items manufactured from recycled materials. You need to look for the recycling symbol, or you can inquire from the point of sale. However, the symbol could also mean the material could be recycled.
    • Consider buying recycled materials in the workplace for office equipment or office supplies.
    • Ask in stores for packing materials and products that help reduce waste.
    • You can also buy products manufactured from materials collected in your community for recycling.

Proper Waste Segregation

Waste segregation refers to the categorizing of wastes into different groups at the point of collection. Waste segregation at the source is essential for recycling. When you segregate waste at home, it becomes easier for the disposal workers to tell between the degradable and non-degradable components. Similarly, when you continuously segregate waste at home, you play an important role in waste management as a responsible citizen. It will considerably bring down the problem of managing waste. The habit will not cost you anything either in time or money.

Segregated waste is typically cheaper to dispose of because it will not involve much mechanical or manual sorting. In addition, all biodegradable waste should be in one place, and no-biodegradable needs to be in a different place.


Biodegradable wastes are house refuse that bacteria or other organisms can decompose, and as a result, they don't cause pollution. They are organic, and for this reason, they will not cause harm to the environment because they can be recycled into compost. They can be treated on an industrial scale by anaerobic digestion (AD) or composting. Some of the examples of biodegradable waste include vegetables, fruits, flowers, wood shavings, and many more.


Bacteria or other microorganisms cannot decompose Non-biodegradable waste. Typically, non-biodegradable waste causes severe damage to the environment and increases the pollution load on our planet. In addition, they are a nuisance and are inorganic, making them ideal for recycling. Unfortunately, these wastes can only keep accumulating because they cannot be decomposed. Examples of non-biodegradable waste include polymers, glass, aluminum foil, and inorganic chemicals, among others.

Adopt Composting

If you segregate waste at home, you can add more value by composting. You can get free compost to use on your plants or even sell to gardeners. You don't require considerable space for home composting. Tho make compost, you will need a composting bin that can be acquired from any store or a bucket.

Put old newspapers under the compost bin to stop spillage. For ventilation, you'll have to drill small holes. Place soil at the bottom of the container and add wet kitchen waste such as fruit peels and vegetable leftovers. Secondly, put another layer of dry waste like dried leaves, sawdust, or paper scraps. Continue with these alternating layers. Remember, never use or add bones or meat to your pile. You can add semi-composted soil for quick results. Remember, you can be a responsible citizen if you segregate waste at home, and you'll be promoting a cleaner environment.


You can play an essential role in making our planet a better place to live by taking a few appropriate steps in household waste management. Segregating household waste in your home is critical in waste management because it becomes easy for handlers. As a parent, you can teach your kids different ways to manage waste from home to the effect the waste can cause on the environment. One of the best approaches is to adopt the 3 R's (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle).


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