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Reduce and Reuse

Preventing waste doesn't have to be complicated. It starts with simple changes in daily habits—like making grocery shopping lists so you buy just what you need to avoid wasting food. Or stashing reusable shopping bags next to your door or in your car. Reducing and reusing keeps money in your pocket and can do a lot of good for our communities and the environment. Keep reading for easy tips you can implement today.

Limit packaging and single-use items 

  • Skip the disposables and carry your own reusable bag, water bottle, coffee cup, straw, and utensils. 
  • Reuse existing packaging products like paper and plastic bags, glass containers, and wrapping paper whenever possible.
  • When you do have packaging, look for the How2Recycle Label, which is a standardized labeling system with clear recycling instructions. 

Reduce wasted food

  • Plan and shop with meals in mind, buy only what you need
  • Learn how to store produce properly to keep it fresh
  • Use your leftovers
  • Eat perishable foods first
  • Visit for easy, everyday tips to help you plan, store, eat. 

Shop smarter, waste less

  • Find alternatives to buying new. Craigslist, Nextdoor, and Facebook Marketplace all offer plenty of used goods in your neighborhood, and you can also check Freecycle to see if the item is available for free from a neighbor.
  • Shop locally at consignment and second-hand shops.  
  • Buy in bulk and bring your own canvas bag, or reuse a plastic one you already have. This will save you money on top of reducing packaging waste. 
  • Stores are increasingly offering the option to bring in your container to refill household items like shampoo and detergent. Search online for your nearest location. 
  • Choose quality products to keep them in use longer to reduce your environmental footprint.

Reuse and repair

  • RE:Source is StopWaste’s on-line guide to reuse, repair, and recycling just about anything. It contains information on “reuse” organizations and drop-off locations. Many of the locations also sell reused items. 
  • Many household items such as furniture, appliances, and electronics, can be repaired. Check your local area for community repair events and Fixit Clinics, and search online for repair shops in your area. 
  • Borrow, rent, and share items that you don’t need every day. Check your local library or hardware store for tool lending opportunities. Find tool libraries
  • Promote reuse when getting rid of something by donating, rather than discarding. Check RE:Source for locations. 

Reduce paper waste

  • Think twice before printing and print double-sided.
  • Go paperless with bills and bank statements.
  • Stop junk mail, catalogs and phone books from arriving at your home.

Green your home

  • Be mindful about using resources such as water, fossil fuels and wood so that you limit waste, pollution and environmental damage.
  • Save energy. Build and remodel with energy efficiency in mind to save money, create a more comfortable home, and reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Find more tips to green your home