Tips and Resources

Learning to make less waste is crucial to maintain a healthy environment. Please consider Reduce, Rethink, Refuse, Reuse, Recycle, Rot, Reinvent & Close the Loop. Together, we can work together to send less to the landfill.


REDUCE: The easiest way to send less material to the landfill is to reduce the amount of waste you produce. On average, each person creates 5 pounds of trash a day. With over 37 million people in California, that’s a lot of trash!

RETHINK: To make less trash, it is important to rethink before you buy. When shopping, consider how you will use an item and how you will dispose of it when you don’t need it anymore. If possible, buy items that are multi-use, durable and can be recycled or reused when its life is complete. Look for items that have little or no packaging, and ensure that the packaging it may have is recyclable.

REFUSE: A majority of the waste we produce is from items designed to be thrown away after one use. In order to cut down our loads of trash, it is crucial that we refuse these types of single use-items, like shopping bags, plastic water bottles, "disposable" coffee mugs and plastic silverware. In the Bay Area, each person uses approximately 766 plastic bags a year. By bringing your own bag and refusing a single-use one, we can cut down on our consumption of items destined for the landfill.

REUSE: Bring your own cloth bag or a basket when you shop or bring your own washable mug when you get coffee. If you have usable items, donate to a thrift store or other re-use program. If you need a tool, consider renting or borrowing one. Visit the library for books; share videos with a neighbor. The possibilities for reuse are endless!

RECYCLE: Recycle all aluminum, glass, paper and plastic items. Recycling is the process of melting down and recreating an item. Glass and aluminum can be recycled countless times, but plastics and paper are often "down-cycled," or made into a non-recyclable item. If possible, using glass or metal items is the best choice because it can have a longer life span.

ROT: Also known as compost, about 30% of what is landfilled is compostable material. Composting is the natural process that uses heat and organisms to break down plant materials into soil. Not only does this return nutrients to the native soils, it helps conserve landfill space.

REINVENT: Reinvent trash by making it into art or a functional item. This can be as simple as using a soup can as a pencil jar, or saving the laundry soap scoop to measure out pet food.

CLOSE THE LOOP: Close the loop by purchasing items with recycled content. Using products and materials made from recycled content reduces the consumption of natural resources and creates a critical market for recycled content goods. Check out www.calrecycle.ca.gov/rcp/ for a directory of recycled content products.