Waste Reduction

Kick-Start Your Zero Waste Routine

NIP WASTE IN THE BUD
  • > Store your reusable shopping bags in your car, so you’ll have them with you every time you shop.
  • > Minimize your purchase of “ready to eat” foods that only come in non-recyclable packaging.
  • > Avoid using plastic bags from the store’s produce section by placing fruits in vegetables in your own reusable produce bags.

mesh bag filled with oranges

  • > Eliminate buying costly paper towels and instead use washable hand towels or rags when cleaning up.
  • > Put a stop to your mailbox overfilling with junk mail by removing your name from mailing distribution lists.
REUSE BEFORE RECYCLING
  • > Share magazines that you’ve already read with friends or donate them to school teachers for art projects.
  • > Donate unwanted clothing, household goods, and furniture to local charities.

blue plastic tub filled with fold clothes ready for donation

  • > Consider refurbish a piece of furniture before going out to buy new items. Odds are there’s a YouTube video on how to restore it.
RECYCLE LIKE YOU MEAN IT
  • > Take a recycling refresher and revisit the list of accepted materials of what can and can’t be recycled your home and work.

cover page of quick print list of recyclables

  • > Inventory recyclables that are making their way into your trash and start recycling those materials from now on.
  • > Stop putting non-accepted items in your recycling bins, as these contaminants lower the value and marketability of the accepted recyclables.
FIND CREATIVE WAYS TO REUSE NON-RECYCLABLE ITEMS
  • > No need to buy small plastic trash bags. Instead, try using alternatives, such as empty large-sized cereal bags for lining small wastebaskets.
  • > Make your own travel-size containers. For example, reuse contact lens cases to carry around small amounts of hand lotion.

green contact lens case

BUY RECYCLED
  • > Help to “close the loop” by purchasing products made with recycled content whenever possible. For example, a least one brand of toilet paper made for recycled paper is available at most shopping stores.
  • > Looked for the words “Made from Recycled Paper” when buying paper for your printer.

Made from 100 percent recycled materials logo

CUT THE FOOD WASTE
  • > When eating out or ordering take-out, ask for items you don’t want to be left off your plate.
  • > Start composting your food scraps in your own home backyard compost pile.

lady emptying food scraps into a backyard compost bin

Helpful Waste Reduction Links

EPA - Reducing Waste: What You Can Do
Zero Waste Home
Recycle Now
Green Education Foundation