Reducing the amount you buy is the most significant of all the options to manage waste. The key is to only purchase goods that we need and in the right amount. If we never generate products in the first place, we do not have to extract raw resources, manufacture goods from scratch, come up with shipping materials, utilize additional resources for shipping, and then devise ways to dispose of them.Reducing the amount you buy can help reduce waste in surprising ways:
Cell phones: Despite great strides in manufacturing, a typical new cellphone consists of 40% metals and 40% plastics, which use oil for their manufacturing, as well as other resources for packaging and transportation. EPA estimates that more than 125 million cell phones are discarded each year, generating more than 65,000 tons of waste. Because cell phones contain hazardous materials, you should always trade in, donate, or recycle your old phones.
Take reusable bags to the grocery store to break the plastic bag habit.
Select items with limited or no packaging.
Use a refillable container for water in place of bottled water.
Think twice before printing material off the internet. When possible, print on both sides of the paper.
Phone books: When was the last time you used a phone book? The white pages alone cost 5 million trees a year. They generated 650,000 tons of waste in 2009. You can opt out of phone book delivery by registering your address at sites like www.yellowpagesoptout.com.
Set a goal for reducing the amount of trash generated each week.
Start a backyard compost pile. Feed it with yard waste and organic kitchen waste (no meat or milk products).
Recharge batteries rather than using disposable. You will save money in the long run and keep these items out of landfills.
Teach others about the benefits of reducing solid waste. Talk about reducing solid waste in the schools and at community events. Promote ways to reduce solid waste in public service announcements on the radio and television.
Disposable razors: More than 2 billion disposable razors are disposed of each year in the U.S. alone.