As today is the annual Global Recycling Day, I thought it would be an excellent opportunity to discuss how to play a role in protecting the environment and giving our waste a second life. Sorting household waste is an effort in which many people try to participate.
Depending on your local community's rules, your type of accommodation, habits, and what is possible for you, I imagine your experiences may be quite different, and I would love to know more!
- What level of waste sorting is available near you?
- Do you provide travellers with several bins for sorting and/or a compost space?
- How do you encourage sorting? For example, do you leave them a message, explain it in person, or maybe you even mention it in your house rules?
- Is this a point on which you receive questions and requests?
I can't wait to read your answers.
@Nick I agree that guest are on holiday and not the best time to expect them to adapt so quickly. I think it does make a good impression that everyone in our neighborhood has their recycling bin out, and guest probably want to do their part also, like wow everyone here recycles. Its easy enough for me to sort out and probably a good influence. Others love it, so win win.
When the guesthouse had a shared guest kitchen we had a countertop compost bin that had a label that said food waste. We instructed our guests to their food waste in it instead of the garbage. Since we don't want to use known food sources (people eat a lot of processed junk that they call food) as compost in our own gardens, the primary reason for these compost bins was to deter people from throwing away food in the regular trash bins, and attracting vermin. We emptied the compost bins regularly. For the most part, people did follow those guidelines, but we still often found food waster in the trash bin (some habits are hard to break). In our apartments we also have countertop compost bins, but I rarely would see any evidence that they used them.
It was great to see you, and all of the others during the meet up.
On another note about garbage, people also tend not to break down larger items so that it takes up less space, and more items can fit in the bag. They also won't rinse food containers before disposing of them. Leading to odors and bugs inside, plus critters (racoons, possums, dogs, cats, coyotes, bears, mice, chickens (probably eating the remains of their KFC'd cousins), etc.) doing whatever they can to get into the bags and bins that are outside.
Rubbish sorting is a requirement here, and I believe all over Europe, so most guests are used to it. We have the standard bins for plastic, paper, glass, bio, etc. Everybody seems to separate it as required. No problems with that.
When it comes to waste separation and recycling our guests can do their “Master of Recycling” degree in our home! Our municipality runs a strict garbage disposal policy and we must comply.
We have to separate 6 different types of garbage:
- glass (in the blue bucket)
- plastic (only in the 110 l plastic bag signed Città di Arona)
- paper (in the yellow plastic box)
- metal (in a bucket of your choice, no plastic bag)
- bio (green bucket)
- not recyclable (only in the 30 l plastic bag signed Città di Arona).
One time a year you have to go to the municipality with your personal card to get a certain number of bags signed Città di Arona for free.
These distinct types of waste are collected in different days of the week with a door to door system. They tend to pass early in the morning so it’s best to put the waste out of the gate, by the external wall, on the evening before.
The collection of the different types of waste is scheduled on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday.
In the meanwhile there are smaller containers and bags available in the kitchen and the nearby closet for a temporary storage.
If you don’t separate the waste they don’t collect it and you will be fined.
I have a waste schedule in the kitchen in Italian, English and German. Most of my guests are of German language and they are used to separate the waste but they are always appalled at this system. I offer them to message the evening before the day of waste collection to remember them which kind of waste they have to take outside or otherwise let my neighbor come to put it outside.
Especially the bags for the non recyclable are small and this is a problem when I have guests with more than one infant. I remember guests (not from Airbnb) that had three infants, stayed four days and left over 60 diapers in the big 110 l bag for plastic. After checkout I had to separate all the diapers and put them into the smaller 30 l bags for non recyclable waste.
I also remember three ladies who wanted to give me all the stars they saw in the sky at night, except a few due to the waste collection system.
We pay a tax of 360 euro/year for the waste collection.
@Angela1056 “After checkout I had to separate all the diapers and put them into the smaller 30 l bags for non recyclable waste.” How appalling! I would have been sorely tempted to snap a pic of that and send it to the guest. “Thanks so much!” 💐
@Colleen253 Yuk. I used cloth diapers for the most part with my three. I even was traveling around Mexico with my first daughter when she was a year old, had 3 cloth diapers I washed out every day.
I did use disposables with my youngest sometimes, but they weren't like the plastic pollution disaster everyone uses today. They were made by Scott Paper, the diaper itself was paper, and fully compostable- there were washable, reusable plastic panties that the diaper fit into.
Oh @Sarah977 , I remember that time too when I washed all the cloth diapers for our 4 kids born between 1968 and 1974! Only for the last one I could finally use some one-way diapers. How much time has passed!
@Angela1056 At some times when mine were in diapers, I lived where there was a diaper service, which was awesome. They would deliver about 40 clean, sterilized diapers twice a week, and take away the dirty ones, which they gave you a special, smell-proof pail for. All I had to do was dip the poopy ones a few times in the toilet to remove the poop, then throw it in the pail.
My youngest daughter uses cloth diapers for her baby, as do most of her friends. They're an environmentally aware group. Too bad there aren't more like that.
Thankfully our recycling doesn't need much separation, plastic/metal/glass all go together and then paper is separate. We put recycling in our house rules and always mention it in one of the first messages. The apartment right now is blocked, but when we unblock we plan to add a counter top compost container, although based on how many people can't even be bothered to put a water bottle in the recycling bin, I don't have much hope on organic waste getting composted. We'll see.
@Nick Yes, I have a compost pail and a compost bin in the garden. I can recycle glass, cardboard, metal, and some plastics.
Because I'm a home -share host it's not difficult to get guests to do this. They don't have to separate the various recyclables- I have a box in the kitchen broom closet that all of it goes in, and it isn't necessary to separate it- the recycling depot here does that.
The only thing I separate out is metal. When I have a bag full of it, I take it to a metal recycling place where they weigh it out and actually pay me for it!
Most of my guests have been quite environmentally aware and will often ask if I have a compost pail before I even get around to showing them where it is.
The fact they not only do it, but actively ask for it is excellent @Sarah977
At my listing/area, things are pretty simple. Paper, glass, plastic and yet, most people can't seem to bother. My thinking around it is, "I'm on holiday, so I'm taking a break from what I normally do". There are places where they will pay you for it, automated ones, where you insert the plastic or glass bottles and get money for them. I have one at the nearest supermarket, literally 2 blocks away and yet, no, nothing, nada.