How much waste do you create?

Firstly, I've been a lazy blogger. The usual applies... work's been busy, and I've not really had a lot I wanted to really write about... but I'll try and do better this week!

Over the weekend, I saw a post on the popular Muscat Where Can I Find? fb group where someone asked where all the rubbish goes once it's collected from the bins, and someone else responded with a link to some information on the Al Amerat landfill site.

According to this website, based on metrics produced by the Oman Environment Services Holding Company (OESHCO) who appear to be responsible for waste management in Oman, the average amount of waste per person in Oman is 1.5kg's, every day. Every single day! There's over a million people in this city, so this is approximately 1,500 tons of waste, every day. Across the entire country, the waste produced is about 4,700 tons of waste every day!

Thats a lot of garbage, and I thought I'd share a few small changes I've made in recent years (not that I do them all the time) that may help to reduce your waste. Some of you may not care, and well I'm not going to get all preachy on this, I just figured some people might just be interested in these few small changes to reduce waste.

1. Drying your hands - I see this time and time again. You go to the loo in a public restroom (lets say at the mall) - you wash your hands and then take 3, 4 or possibly even 5 paper towels to dry your hands. 1, or possibly 2 at the very most, is all you need to sufficiently dry your hands. Try it the next time, you'll be surprised just how dry you can get your hands if you take the extra 3 seconds to actually dry them rather than grab a fist full of paper. The same concept applies to paper napkins at fast food joints...

2. Shopping bags - I use cloth shopping bags, but not all the time. I re-use plastic shopping bags for the bins at my house rather than buying the purpose made bags. Also, I pack as much into each bag as is sensible - lots of people seem to prefer to put one thing in one bag and have fifteen bags when they really only needed 3.

3. Vegetables - sometimes you need a bag for vegetables when buying them, sometimes you don't. Prime example are large vegetables with skins - like a butternut squash. Just get the price sticker put straight onto the skin - you're gonna peel and wash it anyway. I've seen one person here use these nets that are re-usable for vegetable shopping - good for them.

4. Soda cans - there are people that scour the bins across the city for these aluminium cans. Make their life easy, and help reduce the amount going to the landfill - and keep a separate garbage bag for these cans. We crush our cans and when the bag is full take it to the dumpster, and leave it by the side - less than an hour and the bags gone usually.

5. Coffee - it's nice to get a paper cup for coffee when at one of the 7 million coffee shops here in Muscat, but ask yourself if you're really going to take it out - or are you going to sit in the coffee shop and drink it. If you are, get it in a ceramic mug/cup instead, or if you really are a coffee-to-go kinda person.. consider getting a reusable plastic coffee cup - they're better for the environment, and keep your coffee hotter for longer too!

That's it, only 5 small suggestions, that maybe no one will pay attention to, but maybe some of you will. Every little helps.

Do you have a waste-reducing tip to share? I'm all ears....

More soon.

le fin.

How much waste do you create? How much waste do you create? Reviewed by Sythe on Sunday, August 17, 2014 Rating: 5


  1. There are so many ways we should be looking at the waste we generate and having spent 3 weeks in Europe over the summer, Oman is waayy behind. (OK- Oman is waaayyy behind in any number of ways but this is one we can actually do something about).
    As wel as the above, the styrofoam trays that you get with everything never biodegrade. Ever. Never. And yet they are used here for everything, including cheese that should be wrapped up in wax paper, not cling film AND styrofoam. When you buy cheese, meat etc from the supermarket ask for it without the styrofoam tray.
    Milk bottles are a real bug-bear for me- why can we not get them in card-cartons like Europe? Imagine the plastic that is being generated by all those milk, juice, laban etc bottles.
    It is the small things that can really make a difference, such as not needing a plastic bag for that one thing you bought in Oman Oil? Ask yourself if you are capable of using the same hands you used to take it to the counter as you are for carrying it to your car.
    Good post Sythe- awareness is key.

  2. There is also the issue that rubbish should be disposed of properly, as opposed to recklessly out of car windows, in wadis, next to (not in) bins and the general not-shit-giving-some-indian-will-pick-it-up attitude.

  3. If you bring your own bags for shopping at Lulu or Carrefour, they look at you like they see water burning.

  4. the concept of using kerchief is not here..if so, lot of tissue papers can be done away with..

    why people take more shopping bags is to avoid spending on trash bags.

  5. I never have to buy garbage bags---I use the extra million plastic bags they force on me for grocery shopping. That way, at least I am re-using them. If I found away around needing garbage bags for some stuff... I suppose I'd go for canvas grocery bags... Hard to remember to bring them with me unless I leave them in the car though...

    As a Muslim I try to conserve water when washing for prayer by using a bowl of clean water rather than having the taps on and constantly pouring. Same with brushing my teeth. That saves a lot of water actually.

  6. It's true that in Carrefour hate when people bring their own shopping bags :D Back to the post- I'm doing a lot of mistakes, but I'm going to work hard to make my life as greener as possible!

  7. I want to share two more advices: Use bulk body-care products. Many cosmetic brands sell their products in bulk at health food stores, eliminating all that plastic packaging. These brands’ products are also (often) made from simple ingredients, so, if you are motivated, you can experiment with a few of your own creations. Use less gas. Consider how efficient you are being with your transportation. Group car-essential errands on a single day and, if possible, use car-sharing services for weekly shopping and the occasional weekend getaway. All of these combined actions reduce fuel consumption and get more cars off the road


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