WASTE REDUCTION IN THE HOME


WHY WASTE REDUCTION IS IMPORTANT

All the products you buy, or at least their packaging or containers, will eventually require disposal. Packaging now accounts for 64 million tons by weight or 33% of all our garbage. The average Pennsylvanian discards about 4 1/2 pounds of trash each day. If each person reduced waste by only 1 pound each week, the amount of reduction statewide would total 312,000 tons a year.

The family who reduces waste in the home helps protect the environment. Waste reduction is as important as recycling in saving natural resources, energy, and disposal space and costs, and in reducing pollution risks. Careful buying and disposal habits can also stretch the family budget.

WHAT IS WASTE REDUCTION?

Waste reduction refers to:

  1. Reducing the amount of waste produced. An example is using china and silverware instead of using disposable paper plates and plastic flatware.
  2. Reducing toxic substances in waste. An example is using a nontoxic oven cleaner instead of one that contains hazardous ingredients.

STARTING A REDUCING PROGRAM

The best way to discover where you can reduce waste is to actually sort through your trash. what does each family member throw away? What materials take up the most space? Is anything reusable or repairable? Can you reduce the amount of disposable products you use? Can you substitute products and packaging made of reusable, recyclable, or nonhazardous materials? If you are throwing away unusable leftover products, can you give them to someone else, or buy these things in smaller sizes?

WATCH WHAT YOU BUY

Waste reduction starts at the shopping center. When you go shopping follow these guidelines:

MORE WASTE REDUCTION TIPS

Buy only what you need. Avoid impulse buying. Not only will you end up with something you can`t use and have to throw away, but it will also be very expensive. One way to avoid this is to make a shopping list of what you need, then stick to that list.

Other tips:


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Department of Environmental Protection
Bureau of Land Recycling and Waste Management
Division of Waste Minimization and Planning
Recycling and Markets Section
PO Box 8472
Harrisburg, PA 17105-8472

recyclepa@state.pa.us

Hotline Number in Pennsylvania only: 800-346-4242

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