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In 2008, the United States generated 249.6 million tons of trash. That's 4.5 pounds per person, per day. Of that, 82.9 million tons was recovered for recycling or composting (1.5 pounds per person, per day). That's only 33%. The rest is either landfilled or burned. The garbage we throw away contributes to climate change and water pollution.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Repurpose -- RETHINK
- Buy items in bulk from loose bins when possible to reduce the packaging wasted.
- Avoid products with several layers of packaging when only one is sufficient. About 33 of what we throw away is packaging.
- Buy products that you can reuse.
- Maintain and repair durable products instead of buying new ones.
- Check reports for products that are easily repaired and have low breakdown rates.
- Reuse items like bags and containers when possible.
- Use cloth napkins instead of paper ones.
- Use reusable plates and utensils instead of disposable ones.
- Use reusable containers to store food instead of aluminum foil and cling wrap.
- Shop with a canvas bag instead of using paper and plastic bags.
- Buy rechargeable batteries for devices used frequently.
- Reuse packaging cartons and shipping materials. Old newspapers make great packaging material.
- Compost your vegetable scraps.
- Buy used furniture. There is a surplus of it, and it is much cheaper than new furniture.
- Visit your local resale shop to donate gently used old clothes, toys, and household items and to find things that you need.
- Recycle newspapers, magazines, cans, milk jugs, and anything else your local recycling program will accept.
- Donate or sell stuff you don’t want if it’s still usable.
- Repurpose or upcycle stuff you have to make something new.
- Don't throw away your unused medications. Take them to a local dropoff facility or save them for a household hazardous waste collection day.
- Remove yourself from catalog and bulk mailing lists.
Battery Recycling LibGuide
Information on battery recycling including links to recycling resources in Champaign-Urbana.
Control the catalogs, coupons, credit offers, phone books, fliers, circulars, newsletters, and other unsolicited mail you receive.
The Consumer's Handbook for Reducing Solid Waste
Individuals can help alleviate America's mounting trash problem by making environmentally aware decisions about everyday things like shopping and caring for the lawn. Reusing products is just one way to cut down on what we throw away. This web site outlines many practical steps to reduce the amount and toxicity of garbage. These aren't the only steps that can be taken to reduce waste, but they're a good start.
Earth911 Recycling Center Search
Find recycling options for hundreds of products, as well as tips for reducing, reusing, and recycling.
Household Products Database
What's under your kitchen sink, in your garage, in your bathroom, and on the shelves in your laundry room? Learn more about what's in these products, about potential health effects, and about safety and handling.
Household Waste Disposal Solutions
There are many items that consumers have doubt about when it comes to proper disposal. Some may be discarded as regular garbage and others require special treatment. This page lists some of the most common items that require special treatment.
Keep Unwanted Medications & Chemicals Out of the Great Lakes
This four-page fact-sheet is a primer on how pharmaceuticals and personal care products enter the environment and what consumers can do to properly dispose of them. This fact sheet was developed by New York Sea Grant.
Medication & Sharps Disposal (Illinois EPA)
Disposal of unused or unwanted pharmaceuticals is an emerging and complex environmental issue. The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency is working with various stakeholders to find convenient and environmentally responsible ways for residents to manage waste pharmaceuticals.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle (Sierra Club)
Everyday green lifestyle tips for reducing, reusing, and recycling.
Safe Drug Disposal Portal
Most Americans are aware of the dangers posed by illegal drugs. But what about prescription drugs? And over-the-counter drugs? Not only do these types of medicine play a big role in today's drug abuse epidemic, but their disposal can also contribute to water contamination and can disrupt aquatic life. Whether this is your first time considering the risks lurking in your medicine cabinet, or you're an expert seeking tips on organizing a safe drug take-back program for your community, there are resources here to help you. From the Product Stewardship Institute.
Simple Tips for Reusing Materials Everyday
From Californians Against Waste. Includes tips for home and office.
U.S. EPA Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Learn how reducing, reusing, and recycling can help you, your community, and the environment by saving money, energy, and natural resources. Recycling programs are managed at the state and local level—find information on recycling in your community.
Zero Waste Guides: Waste-Free Lunches
Waste generation is a huge problem, but we all have the power to help prevent and reduce it by making simple changes in our individual decisions. Use these tips start packing waste free lunches and do your small part every day to save our valuable resources.