Waste Reduction Tips
Re-Usable Product AlternativesIn addition to selecting products that use less packaging, look for products that are durable or readily recyclable in your community. When buying a product, stop and think, "Can this item be recycled or reused?" If not, is there an alternative brand or product that you can buy? By making these choices, you are using your purchasing power to reward manufacturers that make durable, recyclable and reusable products, not products that are only disposable.
Try these alternatives:
- Use washable cloths instead of throwaway wipes
- Buy rechargeable batteries
- Buy cloth napkins that you can wash instead of paper you throw away
- Buy washable plates and cups for picnics instead of disposables
- Buy razors with replaceable blades
- Use reusable containers with lids instead of aluminum foil and plastic bags or wrap
- Rinse plastic bags and reuse them
- Buy a refillable water bottle instead of single use plastic bottles
When dining out
- Bring your own containers to the restaurant to take home leftovers
- Ask the restaurant to leave out plastic utensils when getting take out if you'll be eating it at home
- Bring your own refillable mug to the coffee shop
- Skip the plastic lid and straw on cups when possible
Try these workplace alternatives:
- Bring re-usable dishware to work and eliminate the use of disposable Styrofoam, plastic or paper plates and cups or plastic utensils.
- Make sure all printers have double-sided set as the default.
- Print drafts of documents on the backside of used paper.
Unwanted MailEliminating unwanted mail is another way to reduce waste. Roughly 35 million trees are cut down every year to produce mail that people don't even want. To be removed from national mailing lists, call 1-212-768-7277 or send your name, name variations and address to:
Direct Marketing Association, Mail Preference Service
P.O. BOX 643
Carmel, NY 10512-0643
You can also stop unsolicited catalogs from being delivered to your mailbox. Fill out an online questionnaire and stop the delivery of unwanted catalogs. Click here to get started: http://www.catalogchoice.org
Unwanted Phone BooksUnused phone books are a waste of natural resources from needless production, transport, and recycling (or disposal for the unfortunate ones that don't make it to a recycle bin). In addition, phone books are often distributed with materials such as magnets or plastic that can contaminate the paper recycling process when it doesn't get separated. All this adds up to wasted resources, unnecessary emissions, and recycling challenges.
In the digital age, many people don't have a need for phone books anymore, the Yellow Pages industry has been working to make it easier for people to opt-out of delivery. Go to www.yellowpagesoptout.com to see which directories are delivered in your area and select the ones you want to receive or opt-out of all with a single click.
If you have old phone books you would like to dispose of, Turlock residents should place them in their green organic cart for proper disposal.
Cloth DiapersA study done in 1999/2000 showed that 19,740 tons of diapers are buried in local landfills each year. Using cloth diapers is a great way to keep waste of out the landfill.
For information on diapering options, including links to cloth diapering web pages, visit CalRecycle.
Donate, Exchange, or SellGive new life to your old things by donating, exchanging, or selling them.
- Visit bargainlink.com or check the yellow pages to find thrift stores or charities that will take your donated items.
- Habitat for Humanity ReStore accepts and sells new and used building materials/supplies:
630 Kearney Ave
Modesto, CA 95350
(209) 575-4585 x112
3124 McHenry Ave
Modesto, CA 95350
- Buy used books, CDs, DVDs, and video games or trade them at an online exchange such as swaptree.com, paperbackswap.com, swapacd.com, or swapadvd.com. You can even start your own exchange at work or with your neighbors or church.
- Sell your used items by advertising in the local paper or online at craigslist.com.
- Give away or get free stuff using freecycle.org.
Plastic BagsBring your own reusable cloth shopping bags to the grocery store instead of plastic or paper, store-provided bags. Using a reusable cloth bag when going shopping at any store will help divert tons of unnecessary paper and plastic bags produced and disposed of everyday in landfills. Cloth bags also hold a lot more, so there are fewer trips back and forth from the car and the cloth carrying handles are more comfortable on your hands than paper or plastic handles. Some stores even give a small discount when you bring reusable cloth bags or reuse old shopping bags to carry out your new purchases.
Don't forget to recycle your old plastic bags. Most grocery stores are required to have a bin for recycling clean plastic bags. Any type of clean thin film plastic or plastic bags (no stickers or food residue) can be recycled in these bins.
Compost in your BackyardIf mowing without a bag isn't your bag, try composting. Yard waste and some food scraps decompose into outstanding free topsoil, and composting can reduce your trash by up to 25 percent- perhaps more.