Perishable v. Non-perishable – a simple way to sort your waste  

There are so many ways to describe waste.

  • Biodegradable v. Non-biodegradable
  • Organic v. Non-organic
  • Recyclable v. non-recyclable and so on.

However, ask an average person and they are likely to say they separate waste as “kunu” v. plastic polythene.” They are absolutely right. These words capture the essence of waste generated in the household – (1) Stuff that goes bad and (2) Stuff like plastics and polythene that don’t. So authorities should wise up and learn from the street. They should ask people to separate their waste simply as perishables and non-perishables.

An exact definition is also possible with perishable/non-perishable terminology because there are tell-tale signs of the perishing of waste. Simply put, if any waste is likely to start smelling or leaching out liquids, then it is perishable.  From experience we know that food waste in the kitchen is perishable. We also know that grass clippings and leaves from the garden also are perishable, although they take a while to start smelling or leaching out liquids.

In contrast, plastics, polythene, paper, glass or metal or non-organic waste and all your discards such as  will not smell or leach out liquids if they are free of perishables.

So your waste separation instructions are very clear. If anything is going make a stink or leach out liquids put it in the green bucket. Clean other waste as much as possible to make them free of perishables and put them in some bag.

What does one do diapers, sanitary pads and other items contaminated with urine, feces, blood or other bodily fluids? Also how about other difficult to clean items like the lunch sheets and gravy bags from food take-outs?

This is where dividing Non-perishables as clean or contaminated is useful. However CMC has decided to separate non-perishables as Recyclables and Non-Recyclables so we use the same.

Following is a way to separate your waste with examples for each.

PERISHABLES (Vegetable, Fruit, meat or fish waste, any kind of cooked food, Grated Coconut waste, Tea leaves, Egg shells, Thambili husks (chopped)and leaves and  flowers from the garden).

NON-PERISHABLES: Every thing else, but it helps if you separate your non-perishables as “CLEAN RECYCLABLES” and “OTHERS”.

Clean recyclables include clean Polythene, Plastics good,  Plastic containers such as yogurt cups, Paper, Cardboard, Glass, Metal, Coconut shells, Tins and cans and other metals and Discarded kitchen equipment/utensils

Things which can’t be recycled include milk or Milo packet, Sachet packets, Sanitary pads and diapers, Hair, used cloths and shoes, Shaving razors with the blades still attached, Medicines, Rubber, and broken Pots Plates and Cups.





Expert forum on accountability in solid waste disposal June 02, 2017

There is nobody to take responsibility for the tragic collapse of Meethotamulla garbage ‘mountain.’  If we are to avoid another Meethotamulla in the future, we need to have a clear understanding of who is responsible, and ensure that he/she/it is held accountable.

The topic our first expert forum was accountability in solid waste disposal.  It was held on June 02nd at the Hector Kobbekaduwa Agrarian Research and Training Institute (HARTI) auditorium on 114 Wijerama Road Colombo 7.  The resource personnel we brought together at the forum were able to cover technology as well as policy aspects of solid waste management or public infrastructure management.

After reviewing the variety of current efforts to manage the waste generated within CMC area, it was decided that the full value chain of solid waste management in the CMC, from collection from homes to disposal, has to be tracked to identify accountability or other issues. LIRNEasia will do a preliminary study and the group will reconvene in 4-6 weeks.



Convener: Dr, Sujata Gamage, LIRNEasia

Resource persons:

  1. Prof. Rohan Samarajiva, Chairman, LIRNEasia
  2. Engr. Badra Kamaldasa, Former Director General, Department of Irrigation
  3. Prof. Ben Sanayake, University of Peradeniya
  4. Mr. Avanthi Jayathilaka, Waste management professional
  5. Ms. Hemanthi Goonesekera, Federation of Sri Lankan Local Government Authorities
  6. Mr. Nishantha Preethiviraj, Communicaitons Director, Sarvodaya
  7. Mr. Chamindha Rajakaruna, Executive Director, Sarvodaya
  8. Eng. Yogarani Sylvester, Director, Solid Waste Division, Colombo
  9. Mr. Nalin Mannapperuma, Director, Western Province Waste Management Authority –
  10. Mr. Sudesh Nandasiri, Chairman, Recyclers’ Association
  11. Prof. Ajith de Zoysa, COSTI

Research Assistance: Mr. Sanjeewa Wijerathna

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CMC Community leaders meet up 16th June 2017

For informing and to be informed by community leaders in CMC and other local authorities

June 16, 2017; 300-600 pm

Subasinghe Auditorium, HARTI, 114, Wijerama Mawatha, Colombo 7

 On behalf of the “Campaign for Sustainable Solid Waste Disposal” I cordially invite you to the above community leaders’ workshop. The participants at this workshop will include the ‘Colombo-Our-City’ ratepayer network and other concerned citizens.

Resource Persons:

Eng. Y. Sylvester, Director, Solid Waste Division, Colombo Municipal Council

Mr. Nimal Prematilake, Sociologist, Solid waste management project, Ministry of Megapolis & Western Development

Mr. Sudesh Nandasiri de Silva, Chairman, Recyclers’’ Association

The questions to be addressed at the work shop are as follows.

  1. When will we get a regular waste collection in the city?
  2. What shall we do in the meantime?
  • Can food-waste be composted without hassle in urban environments?
  • What kind of waste is recyclable?  What can I do with them?
  • What shall I do with the residual waste?
  • How can we optimize source separation and collection by CMC (inputs from community leaders)

I look forward to your participation and contributions at the workshop. An introduction to the campaign is attached.

‘කොළඹ අපේ නගරයයි’ මිතුරැ ජාලය

‘කොළඹ අපේ නගරයයි’ යනු අප නගරයේ සේවාවන් පිළිබඳව තොරතුරු බෙදා හදා ගනිමින් අප නගරය වඩා සුන්දර නගරයක් කිරීම සඳහා දැනුවත්ව ක්‍රියාත්මක වීම සඳහා වූ මිතුරු ජාලයකි. ඔබ ජීවත් වන්නේ කොළඹ මහා නගර සභා බල ප්‍රදේශය තුළ නම් හා ඔබට නගරයේ කසළ සේවාව හා අනිකුත් සේවා දියුණු කිරීමට උනන්දුවක් ඇති නම්, එය ඔබේ අවකාශය යි.

මෙම ජාලය මෙහෙයවන්නේ තිරසාර ලෙස කසළ බැහැර කිරීම සඳහා වූ ව්‍යාපාරය යි. එහි  කැදවුම්කරු සුජාතා ගමගේ මහත්මිය වන අතර ලර්න් ඒෂියා, සර්වෝදය හා ශ්‍රී ලංකා පළාත් පාලන ආයතනයන්ගේ  සංසංදය යනු ව්‍යාපාරය හා අනුබද්ධ ආයතනයි.

අපගේ අරමුණ වන්නේ, කොළඹ නගරයේ පනස් පහක් වූ ග්‍රාම නිලධාරී වසම්  වලින් එක් වසමකට අවම වශයෙන් එක් කෙනෙක්  බැගින් වනසේ මිතුරැ ජාලයට එක් කර,   එම ජාලය හරහා එක් එක් ප්‍රදේශය පිළබඳ තොරතුරු, විශේෂයෙන් කසළ තත්වය පිලිබඳ තොරතුරැ, වෙබ්, එස්එම්එස් හෝ මොබයිල් ෆෝන් සමීක්ෂණ තුලින් ලබා ගෙන බෙදා හදා ගැනීමත්, එම තොරතුරු ඔස්සේ  ක්‍රියාත්මක වීමත් ය. අදාළ වෙනත් තොරතුරු සොයා ගැනීමත්, අවශ්‍ය නම සුළු පර්යේෂණ වල යෙදීමටත් අපි බලාපොරොත්තු වෙමු.

වඩා පුළුල් හා වඩා ශක්තිමත්  ජාලයක් තුලින් අපේ සාමූහික හඬ වඩාත් ත්‍රීව ලෙස  ඉදිරිපත් වෙනු ඇත. කරුණාකර එම  මුහුණු පොතට ගොස් ලයික් කර ෂෙයාර් කරන්න.




Colombo-our-city (CoC) is a network to share information about city services, and act more knowledgeably to make our city a better place.

If you live in the city limits of Colombo and want to do something about the solid waste situation or any other issue about our city, this is your space.

This network is administered by the Campaign for Sustainable Solid Waste Disposal. Sujata Gamage is the convener, and LIRNEasia, Sarvodaya and the Federation of Sri Lanka Local Government Authorities are the institutional partners.

CoC’s goal is to connect with at least one person from each of the 55 Grama Niladari Divisions (GNDs) in the city and receive information from them through online, SMS or phone surveys. We will use the information to work with the CMC and improve city services. They will also do additional research or search for additional information and post.

A bigger and stronger network will help our collective voices to be heard better.

Please LIKE and SHARE CoC Facebook page to join the network and stay updated about the city.