Making Less Garbage
The average American makes about 1,500 pounds (675 kilograms) of garbage each year. Most of it ends up in landfills and incinerators. We can significantly reduce that amount if we buy only what we need, use some items longer, and recycle more of our garbage. Reducing our consumption is the best option.
When you buy something, ask yourself:
Do you really need it?
Is it energy efficient?
Is it of sufficient quality? Will it last?
Can you take care of it and use it well?
Can it be repaired if a part breaks?
Can you borrow or rent it (if you only need it for a short time)?
Can you pass it on after you're finished with it?
Can you recycle it after you finish using it?
Can it be dismantled for recycling?
Does it have "composite" materials (materials that can't be separated)?
Is it made from recyclable material?
Things you can do to prevent waste:
Take your own bags shopping.
Reuse paper and plastic bags.
Use back sides of paper for scrap paper.
Use old envelopes for notes.
Buy and sell at rummage sales.
Donate items no longer needed to charity.
Use cloth napkins and cloth rags.
Avoid excess packaging/buy in bulk.
Repair items or have them repaired.
Use Sunday comics for wrapping paper.
Use rechargeable batteries.
© The Rotten Truth web site was created in 1998 by the Association of Science-Technology Centers Incorporated and the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service. All rights reserved.
Disclaimer: Rotten Truth (About Garbage) links to a number of activities and resources provided by institutions other than ASTC and SITES. Every effort has been made to ensure that these links are accurate, but because neither ASTC nor SITES controls the content of these web sites, outside links are not guaranteed to be correct or active. Neither ASTC nor SITES shall be liable in the event of incidental or consequential damages connected with, or arising out of, providing the information offered here. External sites are not endorsed by ASTC or the Smithsonian Institution.