Step 1: Reduce
Make less waste in the first place! Buy things that last longer and have little or no packaging. Buy the big bag of chips and take your servings in reusable containers (Twelve – 1/2 ounce bags of chips make 9 times as much trash as one six – ounce bag and may cost twice as much as the bigger bag!) Buy rechargeable alkaline batteries for your toys, TV control, and boom box. They’re less hazardous for the environment, make less trash, and their higher cost is offset by their longer life.
Step 2: Reuse
Give items a second, third or fourth life! Many items you normally throw away can be used again and some items are made to be used over and over. An old tire becomes a swing. A cool lunch box replaces bags that are thrown away. Toys, video games, books, and clothes you’ve outgrown can be sold at garage sales or given to charities.
Step 3: Recycle
You’re already separating bottles, jars, cans, and paper products for recycling, and your community is collecting, processing, and selling them. But are you “closing the recycling loop” by looking for and buying items made from recycled materials? Most glass and metal containers are made with some recyclables but for paper or plastic products, look for the recycling symbol and the words “made with post-consumer recycled content” on their labels.
Step 4: Compost
Yard waste and food scraps (vegetables — no meat please) are not garbage — they’re future soil. By composting these items in your backyard, you can make a rich humus that improves soil, making garden plants grow better. Composting duplicates natures natural decomposition process in your backyard.
Read more: 7 Steps to Shrink Your Trash