WASTE REDUCTION TIPS FOR HOUSEHOLDS

Solid Waste Management Program fact sheet
07/2018
Division of Environmental Quality Director: Ed Galbraith
PUB00200

Everyone can cut the amount of waste going to landfills and help the environment in multiple ways. The following suggestions apply specifically to households, but businesses, schools, churches and childcare centers also may find them useful.

1. Buy in bulk.
2. Buy concentrated products.
3. Reuse cardboard boxes, plastic bags and paper sacks. When they wear out, recycle them. Many grocery stores accept plastic bags, and recycling centers usually accept clean cardboard and paper sacks.
4. Invest in durable high-quality products rather than disposable ones.
5. Avoid purchasing products with multiple layers of packaging.
6. Donate used items to charitable organizations.
7. When a toilet clogs, use a plunger rather than chemical drain opener.
8. Use cloth napkins.
9. Select appliances with good service contracts and warranties.
10. Repair clothes and shoes instead of throwing them away. Also, think beyond the intended use of an item. Old boots make unusual planters. A pair of scissors can turn a worn-out flannel nightgown into polishing cloths, and cotton clothing makes beautiful quilts as well as rag dolls, baskets and rugs.
11. Buy used items when possible.
12. Use sealable storage containers rather than plastic wrap.
13. If you buy microwaveable meals, save the plastic plates for picnics or use them as dinnerware for children. If neither idea appeals to you, find out if you can recycle them. Turn over the plastic plate and locate the number in the triangle of arrows, commonly known as the recycling symbol. Find out if one of your local recycling agencies will accept the plates.
14. Use cloth bags for your groceries instead of bringing home more plastic bags.
15. Remove your name from the mailing lists of publications you no longer want.
16. Use washcloths instead of paper towels.
17. Use bar soap rather than liquid soap. Research shows that liquid soap has a heavier environmental footprint. If you do use liquid soap, consider refilling the container instead of throwing it away.
18. Use a shaving mug and brush instead of aerosol canisters.
19. Rent items you use infrequently.
20. Buy refillable or reusable containers. Avoid buying containers that you will throw away. Also consider other uses for plastic containers. Use them for storage, lunches or crafts whenever possible. Recycling centers also accept many containers. Check the number in the triangular symbol on the bottom of the container to see if you can recycle it.
21. Compost food and yard wastes.
22. Buy rechargeable batteries.
23. Use cloth diapers instead of disposable ones.
24. Donate old magazines to nursing homes, hospitals, libraries, schools, day cares, churches and other entities.
25. Think outside the box. Newspaper makes great wrapping paper. Rolls from paper towels tame strings of Christmas lights. Lids from jam, icing, coffee, frozen juice and other items can morph into magnets, coasters, ornaments and other fun crafts.