Waste Prevention and Reuse
Waste Prevention for the Residential Sector
In order to prevent waste, ask yourself the following questions when
purchasing a product:
- Do I really need this?
- Can I find it used in a second-hand store or from the
- Is there a more durable alternative?
- How quickly will I be replacing this? Why?
- Can I make do with what I have? (i.e., repair instead of replace
it, then give it to someone else who can still use it, then recycle
it whenever possible)
- Would it be more cost effective to rent this rather than
Tips on preventing waste at home or in your office:
- Buy products in bulk, this saves you money and reduces
- Shop at stores that offer products in "loose" form and bring
your own durable containers to the store for filling (e.g., flour,
tea, coffee, pasta, beans, spices, nuts, etc.).
- Borrow books from the library rather than purchasing them.
- Use durable products rather than disposable (e.g., refillable
pens, lighters, & razors).
- Carry your lunch to work in a reusable bag and bring your own
lunch set of a plate, bowl, silverware and cup to the office to
avoid using disposable products.
- Double-side your copies and save unwanted printouts for scratch
paper at your desk. At home, make scrap paper pads for phone
messages and shopping lists, etc.
- Pack your lunch in a reusable container rather than sandwich
bags or foil.
- Carry your own mug to the coffee shop and ask the employee to
make your drink in it.
- Refuse bags whenever you are making small purchases at the store
and carry your own durable shopping bag whenever possible. (Many
stores offer rebates to customers who bring their own bags).
- Choose gifts carefully. Remember, the sentiment will go a long
way! Consider tickets, memberships, lessons, charitable donations in
someone’s name, planting a tree in someone’s name, etc.
- Avoid impulse buying—remember, do you really need it?
- Reduce unwanted mail, take your name off mailing list for items
you no longer read.
- Donate reusable items to charity or nonprofit organization.
- Reduce your waste disposed by composting yard debris and food
Why do it?
Implementing the suggested waste prevention tips can accomplish the
- It can save you some bucks!
- By not creating waste, you reduce your garbage disposal
costs—composting saves even more!
- Buying in bulk saves you money per unit—remember, about ten
cents on every dollar spent is for packaging costs.
- Buying durable products will save you more over the long term
and reusable containers reduce your costs on plastic and foil for
- Buying only what you need and renting or borrowing everything
else is money saved and less stuff you have to get rid of in the
- Fewer natural resources are consumed using waste prevention
- The energy saved by preventing waste reduces the amount of
harmful gases in the air that may contribute to global warming.
In turn, this means less air and water pollution for future
generations. Wow! That’s a lot of savings.