Waste reduction (or prevention) is the preferred approach to waste management because waste that never gets created doesn't have waste management costs.
An example of waste reduction is reducing unnecessary packaging from manufactured products and produce. If this excess packaging could be avoided, no one would have to be concerned with the cost and effort of collecting the excess packaging, separating it for recycling, breaking it down, transporting it to manufacturers, and then integrating the recycled materials back into the manufacturing process.
Waste reduction also helps conserve resources for future generations and contributes to a cleaner environment.
The waste management hierarchy--reduce, reuse, recycle--actually expresses the order of importance of these ideas:
- Reduce needless consumption and the generation of waste.
- Reuse any item that can be reused or give it to a person or charity that can reuse it.
- Recycle whatever discards remain if you can and only dispose what you must.
Please keep in mind that recycling is your least preferred option. Reducing the generation of waste so there is no waste left to recycle would be the ideal.
Make it your goal. Also keep in mind the concept of "cycle" in the term "recycle". For there to be a complete cycle, the things you send to be recycled must come back to you. So, look for recycled content products whenever you buy, otherwise you are not truly recycling.
The terms reuse and recycle have specific meanings, but they are often confused, switched, and misused, especially in commerce.
Reuse and Recycling Options
In the realm of solid waste, reuse means the equipment is still working and can be sold or donated, thus continuing the "life" of the product.
The term recycling means the equipment is disassembled and the components--such as plastic, glass, and metals--are recovered and used to manufacture new products. Some organizations are involved in both reuse and recycling while others focus on one activity.
This page provides a primer for waste reduction and recycling at home. It is rough sketch of a plan of action, your action, to reduce the generation of waste and recycle.
These are just the easiest things that you can do. There are many more, but they will probably become apparent to you if you make these a part of you daily life