Source reduction (aka waste prevention, pollution prevention) is the process of eliminating waste before it's created. It's an integral part of waste management because it creates less waste to actually manage. It's a proactive approach to the problem of waste.
There are lots of ways that families can implement source reduction in their homes. Here are some ideas:
- Opt for paperless statements from the bank, your credit card company, and any other place that offers to e-mail you your statement instead of mailing it.
- Use reusable grocery bags when you buy your groceries.
- Use cloth napkins and rags instead of paper napkins and paper towels.
- Save gift bags that you have received and reuse them.
- Buy cleaning products in concentrated form - you'll get the same amount of cleaning power with less packaging.
- When buying two or three of the same fruits or vegetables from the grocery store don't put them in the plastic bag that is offered. Just throw the produce in your cart and group them together on the check out conveyer belt.
- Return hangers to the dry cleaners and the generic flowers that flowers are delivered in to the florist.
- Use both sides of paper.
- Don't buy things you don't need! If you weren't planning on buying it you probably shouldn't buy it just because it's a good deal. (Here's a helpful hint - if you're going into a store where you inevitably end up buying more than you intended, don't grab a shopping cart. Make a bee-line for what you intended, pick it up with your hands and go straight to the check out.
There are thousands of other ways to implement source reduction in your home. Feel free to share some ways that you stop waste before it even starts in the comments.