Waste prevention at home
Waste prevention is reducing the amount of waste that needs to be recycled or landfilled. Take a look through your trash. Identify what you are throwing away. If your trash contains packaging such as food wrappers, boxes, and bags, consider the following alternatives:
- When shopping, select items that have the least packaging. Buy in bulk, buy concentrates, or choose the largest size.
- Buy products that are packaged in recyclable packaging.
- Reuse brown paper bags - put them back in the car, so you have them to take to the store. Or better yet, use reusable bags for all your shopping.
- Use cloth napkins, sponges & dishcloths. They can be washed & used again.
- Use rechargeable batteries.
- Switch to compact fluorescent bulbs.
- Carry a reusable cup or mug.
- Reuse boxes, packaging peanuts, and bubble wrap to ship packages.
- Compost yard debris & start a worm bin to compost fruit & vegetable scraps.
- Grasscycle - mow often & leave the clippings. Your lawn will need less water.
- Buy quality durable goods, they last longer. Repair them instead of replacing them.
- Borrow, rent or share seldom used items like ladders, carpet cleaners, rototillers and party supplies. Share newspapers & magazines.
- Donate usable items to local charities or have a garage sale.
- Choose products and containers with recycled content. Look at labels to find the amount of post consumer (actually been used once) content. Although not usually indicated, glass containers, aluminum and steel (tin) cans, and cardboard have high percentages of post consumer recycled content.
Holiday & Gift Giving Waste Prevention Ideas
Use a large reusable shopping bag and consolidate purchases, so you don't have a separate bag for each purchase. When shopping for decorations, cards, gift wrap, and gifts, consider products made from recycled materials or reusable gift bags and boxes. Buy a live tree or plant, decorate it for the holidays and then plant it outside.
- Passes or tickets for movies, concerts, theater, skiing
- Gift certificates for dinner, massages, babysitting, shopping
- Lessons for dance, cooking, arts and crafts
- Donation to the recipient's favorite charity
- Give the gift of your time - everyone can use it.
- Practical gifts which encourage people to create less waste:
- Reusable lunch sack or lunch box
- Storage containers
- Reusable grocery bags
- Cloth or gold plated coffee filters
- Battery recharger and rechargeable batteries
Make the wrapping part of the gift, not something that becomes recycling or trash. Use newspaper, or popcorn for packing, instead of foam peanuts. Try decorative tins, hat boxes, baskets or plastic containers that can be reused. Use reusable boxes, and gift bags. Consider cloth napkins, towels, scarves, fabric remnants and wide fabric ribbon.
The best use of your Halloween or Harvest pumpkin is reuse, by baking it into a yummy pie, bread, or soup. But if your busy schedule doesn't allow for that, holiday pumpkins can be recycled with yard debris for garbage customers that have yard debris service. If you don't have yard debris service, compost your pumpkins.
Christmas Tree Recycling
Check to see if your recycler will accept flocked trees. Take all decorations, including tinsel, off the tree. If you have yard debris collection, place it curbside. If not, haul it to a yard debris processor or collection site, or place it in the yard for small animal habitat.