Which colour dustbin is used for biodegradable waste? (3 types of dustbins) 

In this article, it shall be found out which colour dustbin is used for biodegradable waste? Other details covered would be: 

  • What is biodegradable waste?
  • Why is there a need for biodegradable waste?
  • Why are different colours allocated to dustbins?
  • What are different colours allocated to dustbins?
  • What are other eco-labels that you need to be mindful of?
  • FAQs 

Which colour dustbin is used for biodegradable waste?

Green-coloured dustbins are used for biodegradable waste. Other colours used for dustbins are blue and black. Blue is used for recyclable waste and black is used for domestic hazardous waste. 

The use of colours for the segregation of waste is a good practice to engage consumers and people in pro-environmental behaviour. The use of colours is also psychologically backed up. 

If waste is not discarded in the right ways, the impact on the environment will increase and waste management will become further difficult. 

What is biodegradable waste?

Biodegradable waste is waste that can be degraded by the natural process of the Earth using microbes. Biodegradability is the process through which complex substances are degraded into simpler substances so that they may become a part of nature again. 

Simply put, biodegradable waste causes less burden on the environment because such waste has the ability (innate) to become part of nature again and hence causing no harm to life or the environment. 

The structure and nature of biodegradable waste are such that microbes and decomposers are able to break the structure and convert them into simpler substances. 

Examples of biodegradable waste can be: 

  • Food waste
  • Human waste 
  • Manure Sewage 
  • Hospital waste 
  • Dead animals & Plants 
  • Waste from slaughterhouse 
  • Toilet paper

Regarding biodegradable waste, there is a general understanding that such waste is sourced from nature such as plant-based products or animal-based products. However, it is not an absolute case. 

With the recent advances in technology, man has also been able to synthesise and create substances (from natural sources) which can degrade in a few months to some years. 

The most speaking example of man-made biodegradable waste can be biodegradable plastics which can degrade in a few months. However, otherwise, plastics may take more than 400 years to degrade. 

Why is there a need for biodegradable waste?

Biodegradable waste causes less harm to life and the environment because of its ability to degrade readily. However, non-biodegradable waste, on the contrary, is linked to numerous harmful effects on life and the environment. 

Among the various harmful effects of non-biodegradable waste, there are: 

  • Loss of life
  • Pollution (air, water and land) 
  • Depletion of oxygen availability in water bodies 
  • Species endangerment 
  • Change in soil characteristics 
  • Toxification of plants
  • Infiltration in food webs 
  • Global warming 
  • Ozone layer damage 

These are some of the few environmental impacts that are caused by non-biodegradable waste. Non-biodegradable waste also causes harm to the animal and human life. The various health risks associated with non-biodegradable waste can be:

  • Lungs infection 
  • Liver infection 
  • Damage to foetus 
  • Neurological impairment 
  • Cancer 
  • Genetic mutations 
  • Behavioural changes 
  • Eye diseases
  • Skin infections 

These, again, are some of the impacts as science is advancing further towards the actual impacts of non-biodegradable waste on life and the environment. 

Therefore, there is a crucial need for the elimination of non-biodegradable waste and this can only be done if only biodegradable waste is produced. 

The current world population is already testing the limits of the Earth by being at a staggering 8 billion-plus. This means that waste is generated by everyone in this 8 billion figure. 

Imagine if the majority of the population made non-biodegradable waste which may persist for many hundred years?

Why are different colours allocated to different waste?

The current waste generation stands at a staggering 2 billion tons globally. As the population is increasing, the waste generation is also increasing and also the need to manage this waste better is becoming more and more important. 

As per research, it was found that more than 40 percent of the disposed waste is left in illegal open dumps which cause numerous direct harms to life and the environment. 

That is why, it is proposed that there is an increased need for better public awareness regarding how to dispose of waste rightly and what would happen if that does not happen. 

Different colours of dustbins stem from this very idea. If there are different colours allocated to dustbins then the consumer would by default know which waste is to be discarded where. 

As a result, waste management would become a bit easier and doable given the pretexts explained in the initial part of this section. 

We, as humans, are naturally and psychologically drawn to action by certain colours. This is because of both nature and nurture. For example, by red, we are naturally inclined to stop or be vigilant and when we see green colour we instinctively feel it to be safe since green is the colour of nature. 

The use of colours is also involved in the reduction of mistakes (human error). We are naturally inclined to be either lethargic or ignorant to make sustainable choices but by using dustbins of different colours we can make sure that this does not happen. 

What are different colours allocated to different waste?

There are usually three colours allocated to dustbins. These are: 

  • Green dustbins
  • Blue dustbins
  • Black dustbins 

Green-coloured dustbins are used for biodegradable waste. This waste can be degraded by nature and hence should be given the right conditions so that it may degrade within months causing no harm to the environment. 

The right disposal of biodegradable waste is very important because otherwise there is not really much difference. If biodegradable waste is not disposed of rightly, it will still cause harm to the environment and hence can not be declared environmentally friendly. 

A good example can be biodegradable plastic. Although biodegradable plastic can be degraded within a few months (or a few years in some cases) compared to non-biodegradable plastic that may require more than 400 years to degrade. 

However, if biodegradable plastics are not disposed of in the right way they can still harm the environment and life. Another example can be dyed cotton. 

Cotton is biodegradable but dyed cotton may contain synthetic colours which can cause harm to the environment. Therefore, dyed cotton must be disposed of rightly to make sure that the chemicals released from the degradation of dyed cotton cause no harm to life and the environment. 

Blue dustbins are used for recyclable waste. Such type of waste is not biodegradable but can be recycled and hence its negative impacts on the environment can be avoided if right disposal methods and preferences are adopted. 

If recyclable waste is not discarded in the right way, then their property of being recycled will be of no value to the environment and life. 

For example, plastics are not biodegradable but usually are recyclable. If plastics are disposed of in blue dustbins then it implies that the negative impact of plastic waste on the environment can at least be deterred for some time. 

Other examples of waste that should be disposed of in blue dustbins are: 

  • Aluminium cans
  • Comic books 
  • Paper products 
  • Steel products 
  • Nails 
  • Motor oil 
  • Newspapers 
  • Resins 
  • Detergent bottles 

Lastly, we have black-coloured dustbins. Black colour dustbins are used for domestic hazardous waste. Black dustbins are used for wastes such as: 

  • Diapers
  • Battery 
  • Expired medicine 
  • Tube lights 
  • Medical waste 
  • Sanitary pads
  • Sanitary napkins 
  • Printer cartridges 

What are some other eco-labels that you need to be mindful of? 

You must be wondering that just as there are three different colours for dustbins, are there any other eco-labels that you need to be mindful of as consumers. 

Some of the commonly used eco-labels that you can be watchful of as a consumer can be: 

  1. Green Seal 
  2. Organic product 
  3. Forest Stewardship Council 
  4. Leed
  5. Energy Star 
  6. Veriflora 
  7. Fair Trade Certified 
  8. Marine Stewardship Council 
  9. Non-GMO Project Verified 

These are some of the commonly used eco-labels that you can be mindful of. If a product that you are buying has these labels, then chances are that you are contributing your part towards sustainability and a greener future. 

These certifications are given by authorities after vigorous testing on very strict standards and hence can be trusted. 

A green seal is a certificate that is given when a product is considered to be green. This means that the product you are buying will cause the least possible environmental harm. 

Organic product certification implies that the product is created from organic sources and no chemicals are used in the production of that particular product. Buying stuff with this seal implies that you are saying no to chemicals such as fertilisers, pesticides et cetera. 

Forest Stewardship Council certification means that the particular product was made from environmentally managed forests (in a sustainable manner) so that minimal effects were caused to natural forests. 

Energy star labels imply that the product is energy efficient and hence will use a minimal amount of energy. This means that the stress on non-renewable resources would be lessened and this will also be friendly to your pocket. 

LEED label is used for buildings that were made with a special emphasis on sustainability and eco-friendliness. The considerations would include sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.

Buying flowers with a veriflora certificate will mean that the use of agrochemicals was avoided and organic and sustainable ways were adopted to grow those flowers. 

When buying seafood, you must look for the Marine Stewardship Council because the presence of this label would mean that the seafood came from well-managed fisheries. 

Non-GMO Project Verified labels indicate that the production of any particular product or food item was done by avoiding the use of GMOs in the best possible way. It is another eco-friendly label that you need to be mindful of while making purchases as a consumer. 

Conclusion

It is concluded that green-coloured dustbins are used for biodegradable waste. Other colours used for dustbins are blue and black. Blue is used for recyclable waste and black is used for domestic hazardous waste. 

The use of colours for the segregation of waste is a good practice to engage consumers and people in pro-environmental behaviour. The use of colours is also psychologically backed up. 

If wastes are not segregated in the way they should be, then there would be a lot of negative impacts on the environment. For example, if blue waste is not discarded in blue dustbins then its ability to be recycled would not be utilised and hence it would pose health and environment-related risks. 

Frequently Asked Questions: Which colour dustbin is used for biodegradable waste?

When did waste management start?

Waste management started in the late 19th century in the United States. The occurrence of waste management is greater in developed countries as compared to developing countries. 

Can nuclear waste be discarded in black dustbins?

No, black dustbins are used for domestic hazardous waste. Nuclear waste can not be regarded as domestic. 

References 

  • Hoornweg, D., Bhada-Tata, P., & Kennedy, C. (2013). Environment: Waste production must peak this century. Nature, 502(7473), 615-617.
  • Sadiku, M. N., Ampah, N. K., & Musa, S. M. (2016). Green waste disposal. Politikon, 43(2), 251-268.

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