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Prevent and Reduce Waste

We create a lot of waste, and the best way to decrease the amount of waste we produce is to reduce how much we use - to prevent waste at the source.  We can do this by becoming smarter about what we purchase and how we use items.  

Here are a few simple steps you can take to prevent and reduce waste.

Choose Reusables
Most things can be purchased in a disposable form these days: disposable razors, disposable cleaning products (e.g., wipes), disposable cameras, and disposable dishware.  Before this easy access to disposables, we purchased these items in durable and reusable forms. Sure, disposables may be more convenient; however, they also come with a cost to the environment and use more of our natural resources.
Reduce waste by purchasing reusable items including: cloth shopping bags, food storage containers, reusable dishware, travel mugs, and using washable cloths and sponges for cleaning.

Avoid Packaging
Are you paying for trash?  The answer is YES -- and not just at the curb.  About 30% of our municipal trash is packaging. Look for products that have little or no packaging, or choose products that come in packaging that can be recycled or that was made from recycled content material (look for the recycling symbol).  Reducing the amount of packaging we "buy" can have a huge impact on our waste facilities and can help conserve natural resources.

Think Before You Buy
Everything we buy, eventually becomes waste.  We can more wisely spend our money if we ask ourselves some questions before we buy a new product.

  • Do I already own something that can serve the same purpose as this product?
  • Do I need to purchase this product, or can I borrow or rent the item?
  • Can this product be repaired or upgraded?
  • What is the life expectancy of the product compared to other products (is it durable)?
  • Are there multiple uses for this product or does it only serve one purpose?
  • Do I need to buy it used, or can it be purchased used?

Rent or Borrow
If you use items infrequently, rent or borrow them instead of buying them.  Items that are commonly available for rent include: trailers, camping equipment, lawn care equipment, tables and chairs, ladders, power tools, and home cleaning equipment (e.g., carpet cleaners).

Get Creative
Many items we commonly throw away can be re-used in creative new ways.  Fabric scraps, wallpaper, CDs, magazines, greeting cards, and ribbons can be reused for gift wrapping or for craft projects.

Your Trash is Someone's Treasure
Instead of throwing out items and clothing that are still in good condition, donate them to charities, bring them to consignment shops, or post them on websites like Craigslist or Freecycle.  Just because you no longer want it, doesn't mean someone else can't use it!

For more ways to reduce and prevent waste, visit www.reduce.org.

Reduce Unwanted Junk Mail
An American household receives over 500 pieces of advertising mail each year. Check out www.reduce.org for ways to reduce your unwanted junk mail.



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Page Modified: March 14, 2014 12:27 PM

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