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.
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
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.
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
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.
I already own something that can serve the same purpose as this product?
I need to purchase this product, or can I borrow or rent the item?
this product be repaired or upgraded?
is the life expectancy of the product compared to other products (is it
there multiple uses for this product or does it only serve one purpose?
I need to buy it used, or can it be purchased used?
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
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
Your Trash is
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
Just because you no longer want it, doesn't mean someone else can't use
more ways to
reduce and prevent waste, visit www.reduce.org.
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.