3Rs – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
The best way to manage waste is to not produce it.
- Buy products in bulk. Larger, economy-size products or ones in concentrated form use less packaging and usually cost less per ounce.
- Avoid over-packaged goods, especially ones packed with several materials such as foil, paper, and plastic. They are difficult to recycle, plus you pay more for the package.
- Avoid disposable goods, such as paper plates, cups, napkins, razors, and lighters. Throwaways contribute to the problem, and cost more because they must be replaced again and again.
- Buy durable goods – ones that are well-built or that carry good warranties. They will last longer, save money in the long run and save landfill space.
- At work, make two-sided copies when ever possible.
- Maintain central files rather than using several files for individuals.
- Use electronic mail or main bulletin board.
- Use a dish cloth instead of paper towels.
It makes economic and environmental sense to reuse products.
- Reuse products for the same purpose. Save paper and plastic bags, and repair broken appliances, furniture and toys.
- Reuse products in different ways. Use a coffee can to pack a lunch; use plastic microwave dinner trays as picnic dishes.
- Sell old clothes, appliances, toys, and furniture in garage sales or ads, or donate them to charities.
- Use reseal able containers rather than plastic wrap.
- Use a ceramic coffee mug instead of paper cups.
- Reuse grocery bags or bring your own cloth bags to the store. Do not take a bag from the store unless you need one.
Begin recycling at home and at work.
- Buy products made from recycled material. Look for the recycling symbol or ask store managers or salesmen. The recycling symbol means one of two things – either the product is made of recycled material, or the item can be recycled. For instance, many plastic containers have a recycling symbol with a numbered code the identifies what type of plastic resin it is made from. However, just because the container has this code does not mean it can be easily recycled locally.
- Check collection centers and curbside pickup services to see what they accept, and begin collecting those materials. These can include metal cans, newspapers, paper products, glass, plastics and oil.
- Consider purchasing recycled materials at work when purchasing material for office supply, office equipment or manufacturing.
- Speak to store managers and ask for products and packaging that help cut down on waste, such as recycled products and products that are not over packaged.
- Buy products made from material that is collected for recycling in your community.
- Use recycled paper for letterhead, copier paper and newsletters.