Reduce and Reuse First, Then Recycle!

A truly sustainable waste management system goes beyond the 3Rs. Recycling alone is not the answer to responsible waste management. According to the EPA, Americans generate on average, 4.9 pounds of trash each day! The most environmentally friendly way to manage waste is to create less to begin with. Although recycling is a more sustainable alternative to landfilling, recycling still has environmental impacts; in fact, recycling should be considered the last step in waste reduction.

Here are some ways you can prevent and reduce waste:

  • Refuse unnecessary disposable items such as packaging, shopping bags, utensils, straws, hangers etc.
  • Give “package free” retailers a try
  • Bring your own reusable shopping bags and produce bags
  • Avoid individually wrapped/single-serve products when possible
  • Choose loose fruits and vegetables instead of packaged
  • Buy products that require infrequent replacement
  • Buy concentrated products (fabric softeners, detergents, cleaning supplies); bonus points for choosing non-toxic options
  • Use rechargeable batteries
  • Close the loop and buy recycled products
  • Get off mailing lists or opt for digital communication delivery
  • Opt for digital over printed files; choose double-sided copies when you have to print
  • Use a reusable coffee/travel mugs and water bottles
  • Use sponges and dishcloths instead of throwaway paper products
  • Use cloth napkins or towels
  • Stick to washable dishes and utensils; keep a set at work too!
  • Use empty jars and carry-out containers to store leftovers
  • Choose storage containers or reusable storage bags and wrap over disposable
  • Borrow or rent items you will only use occasionally
  • Shop second-hand
  • Donate and give away before throwing out
  • Get crafty and upcycle your trash
  • Compost your food scraps and yard trim; Grasscycle your grass clippings

Waste reduction resources on the web:

EPA- What You Can Do to Reduce Waste

Catalog Choice-Stop Junk Mail

Resolve to Save Calendar

Carroll County does not endorse products, services, or vendors; links are included for informational purposes only.