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Taking following measures can help minimise the adverse effects of poor household 'waste' management on the environment:

  • Minimise or avoid the use of kitchen sink food 'waste' disposers particularly for disposal of fatty items or items that could clog sewerage systems unless your district or city council is promoting such a disposal option to generate biogas from waste treatment plant.

  • Most kitchen 'wastes' are rich in organic material and if enter sewage system they need high energy treatment (e.g. mechanical digestion or aeration) by wastewater treatment plants to discharge effluent safely.

  • Before disposing into the kitchen sink 'waste' disposal system you have to make a choice between composting or disposing into the refuse. In an urban area composting will most suit plant/vege 'wastes' but animal 'wastes' such as meat/fat wastes could cause odour and attract vermin etc. Refuse which reaches the landfills is buried and decomposed.

  • Recycle or reuse solid 'wastes' whenever possible (e.g. bottles, metals, paper, and cardboard).

  • Contain and manage all garden 'wastes' as much as possible without disposing into council landfill. If organic recycling facility exists in your area use it.

  • Do not overuse or dispose harsh biocides (e.g. antibacterial chemicals) and dispose excess or leftover pharmaceuticals into the toilet system. Most council wastewater treatment plants are biological hence the performance of the treatment plants could be affected adversely.

  • Even non-antibacterial pharmaceuticals (e.g. hormones) could have adverse effects on the receiving environment such as water when treated sewage is discharged.

  • Reduce the use of phosphorus based detergents or washing powders to minimise phosphorus input to sewage. Unlike nitrogen, phosphorus is difficult to treat by conventional wastewater treatment plants. Many New Zealand waterways are phosphorus limited for algal growth hence it is good to keep phosphorus away from waterways.

  • Recycle 'waste' cooking oil. There may be cooking oil recycling facility in your area. Cooking oil can be converted into biofuel to be used as a substitute to diesel.

  • Recycle motor vehicle 'waste' oil. There may be 'waste' motor vehicle oil collection facility in your area. Do not dispose 'waste' motor vehicle oil in your backyard or into any stormwater or sewage systems. Such oils have harmful hydrocarbons which could adversely affect soil and water. If disposed in the sewage system it could affect the treatment efficiency of the sewage treatment plant.