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While Americans represent only 5% of the world's population, we produce 30% of the world's garbage. Every day that's enough waste to fill up 63,000 garbage trucks. Half of what we throw away could be recycled, and if we were even more conscious of our waste stream we could reduce that a lot further. Here are 10 things you can do at home to reduce your waste.

1. Reduce - The first major thing to do is to reduce - buy less or buy only what you need. We don't need nearly as much stuff as we think we do. Try and hold on to things for longer before upgrading. Ask yourself before buying things if you really need it versus just want it. Be conscious of the products that come in and out of your life.

2. Reuse - Before disposing of anything, ask yourself if it is still in good enough condition to keep using.  And before buying anything make sure there isn't something already at home that can be used. For example, reuse plastic bags by washing them out and using them again, trash, dog bags, or more.

3. Upcycle - Upcycling is similar to reusing, except you turn an item into something else rather than getting rid of it. There are tons of examples of upcycling out there, like turning shipping pallets into chairs, old shirts into bags, candy wrappers into purses, glass bottles into drinking glasses and more. Upcycling is a great way to use up an item when it is no longer needed and turn it into something of value. Thrift stores, junk yards, dumpsters and your own house are great places to find old items. Use your creativity and transform something old into something brand new and exciting.

4. Precycle - Precyling is a way to reduce waste when you buy things. When you precycle, you consider the impact of that item after you use it. You want to buy things that can be easily reused or recycled after their useful life. And you also want to look at how it is packaged, aiming for the least amount of packaging possible and also pakaging that can easily be recycled.  Buy in bulk, avoid single use items, buy good quality and lasting products, and buy products made with recycled content.

5. Freecycle - Rather than throw away an unwanted item, give it away to someone who can actually use it. Freecycling is done through community of people who communicate about the items they have to give away or want. This reduces new products from being bought and minimizes the amount of stuff sent to the landfill.

6. Sell Your Stuff - If you don't want it anymore, but don't want to give it away, sell it. There are many ways to sell good quality items to people who want or need them. Post your item for free on or or the Park Record Classifieds.

7. Recycle - Finally if you can't reuse, upcycle, give away or sell, recycle the item. This goes for everyday plastics to bigger items like old washing machines and water heater tanks. Sometimes it can be easy to just throw the item away, but there are so many places in this area that take recycling for free that there really is no excuse.

8. Dispose of Properly - There are items that you should be careful with, that can neither be recycled or just thrown out in the trash. Properly dispose of hazardous materials, like paints, oils, greases, medicines, chemicals, household cleaners. Learn more about where to dispose of these items in our Hazardous Materials page.

9. Compost - A quarter of our solid waste is organic matter that could easily be composted. Composting reduces waste to landfill and creates a wonderful organic fertilizer that can be use to enrich your soil and feed your plants. Composting is easy and requires minimal effort on your part. It can be done outdoors in your yard or indoors in a closet with just a little space.

10. Return to Manufacturer - There are even a number of programs where the manufacturer takes back their product for recycling. Most computer manufacturers do this now, Brita takes back their water filters, some carpet manufacturers and even tools. Find out who else is taking back their products at the Pollution Prevention Resource Center.
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