Tips to Reduce Waste and Reuse

Disposing of waste properly is necessary to protect the environment. Very important also is reducing the amount of waste produced by consuming wisely, and by reuse and recycling.

Random tips on waste reduction abound here and there. One comprehensive information source on this topic is the US Environmental Protection Agency's site on Wastes. It contains details on the principles of reducing the amount of waste we produce along with numerous pages of waste related information and tips.

Reusing products is just one way to cut down on what we throw away. Simply put, source reduction is waste prevention. It includes many actions that reduce the overall amount or toxicity of waste created. Source reduction can conserve resources, reduce pollution, and help cut waste disposal and handling costs (it avoids the costs of recycling, composting, landfilling, and combustion).

Source reduction is a basic solution to the garbage glut: less waste means less of a waste problem. Because source reduction actually prevents the generation of waste in the first place, it comes before other management options that deal with trash after it is already generated. After source reduction, recycling (and composting) are the preferred waste management options because they reduce the amount of waste going to landfills and conserve resources.

Reducing Solid Waste: The Four Basic Principles

REDUCE the amount of trash discarded
Reduce the amount of unnecessary packaging.
Adopt practices that reduce waste toxicity.

REUSE containers and products.
Consider reusable products.
Maintain and repair durable products.
Reuse bags, containers, and other items.
Borrow, rent, or share items used infrequently.
Sell or donate goods instead of throwing them out.

RECYCLE - use recycled materials, and compost.
Choose recyclable products and containers and recycle them.
Select products made from recycled materials.
Compost yard trimmings and some food scraps.

RESPOND to the solid waste dilemma by reconsidering waste-producing activities and by expressing preferences for less waste.
Educate others on source reduction and recycling practices. Make your preferences known to manufacturers, merchants, and community leaders.
Be creative—find new ways to reduce waste quantity and toxicity.

Much more on waste at the US Environmental Protection Agency's site on Wastes
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