In the United States, each person generates an average of 4 pounds of garbage per day; after recycling, the amount is still a whopping 3.5 pounds. But with a little thought and effort, you and your household can help solve the ever-growing problem of solid waste disposal.
The best way to manage solid waste is to not produce it in the first place. To that end, buy only what you need. Buy durable products, and maintain and repair them to ensure longer product life. Borrow or rent items you don’t use often.
Avoid excess packaging by choosing large containers instead of several small ones, buying concentrates, and buying food in bulk when it is available. Also, compare the size of the package to the size of the product. If there appears to be far more package than product, choose another brand.
Some products don’t need a package. For instance, is it really necessary to shrink-wrap produce and place it on a paperboard tray? A hammer could be hung on a rack, rather than in a blister pack. However, other products clearly do require some packaging.
Many containers, such as glass milk bottles, can be returned to the industry for redistribution and reuse. Refills are now available in many stores for an increasing number of cleaning products. Also, many hair salons offer refills on shampoo and other hair-care products.
Reusable packaging is anything that can be reused for a different purpose. For example, a plastic container can be reused as a storage container. However, never reuse food packages to store hazardous materials.
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