Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

We’ve all heard the mantra “reduce, reuse, recycle,” but too often recycling has overshadowed the first critical step of waste prevention.

Here are a few things you can do to promote a greater awareness of the importance of the “reduce” step.

  • Buy in Bulk: Avoid purchases that are packaged for single use (i.e. drinks, school lunches, candy, cat and dog food, salad mixings, etc.) Instead, buy in bulk and transfer the products to your own reusable containers.
  • Avoid Creating Trash: When ordering food, avoid receiving any unnecessary plastic utensils, straws, etc. Don’t accept “free” promotional products, buy products with the least amount of packaging. Every little bit of trash avoided does make a difference!
  • Shopping Bags: While shopping, if you only buy a few products, skip the shopping bag. For larger purchases, bring your own.
  • Reduce your junk mail by opting out of pre-approved credit offer mailing lists, and removing your name from DMA Member prospect lists. More information can be found at https://
  • Tree-Free Home: As much as possible, create a tree-free home:
    • Use cloth napkins and towels.
    • Purchase bleach-free paper products made from the highest post-consumer waste content you can find.
    • Print or write on both sides of the paper.
    • Have a reusable message board in your home for messages and appointments.
  • Reduce Purchases: In general, think before you buy any product — do you really need it? How did the production of this product impact the environment and what further impacts will there be with the disposal of the product and its associated packaging materials? When making purchases, impose a waiting period to eliminate impulse buying; this will help your wallet as well as the environment.