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What to Throw Away

Help solve our growing garbage problem by knowing what to throw and what to buy. Your shopping habits can keep your community cleaner and stretch your budget further. It all starts with reducing the amount of waste and toxic materials in your home. 

buy_label1. CHOOSE LESS HARMFUL INGREDIENTS
  • Choose products containing the least harmful ingredients to avoid disposal problems and reduce environmental impact.
  • Product labels provide a quick and easy way to judge the product's hazard level or the type of hazard it poses. Look for signal words - Caution, Warning, Danger, Poison - which indicate the hazard level to your family and the environment.
  • Reduce the number of cleaning products in your home by using one general-purpose cleaner or by making your own non-toxic cleaners with household products such as baking soda, lemon juice and vinegar.
  • Reduce or eliminate pesticides in your yard.

2. BUY (AND BRING!) REUSABLE CONTAINERS
  • Take a reusable coffee mug to work or school. Many coffee houses provide a 5 to 10-cent discount per cup.
  • Bring water and other beverages in reusable bottles when away from home.
  • Buy milk, water or other beverages in refillable containers.
  • Bring reusable cloth bags when grocery shopping. Many stores offer credit for bringing your own bag.

buy_reducing13. BRING HOME GOODS, NOT PACKAGING
  • Purchase products such as pasta, fruit, grains and nuts from self-serve bins. Use your own containers when possible.
  • Purchase items such as dish soap and laundry detergents in concentrate forms.
  • Look for products with the least amount of packaging and buy in bulk when possible.

4. BUY PRODUCTS MADE FROM RECYCLED MATERIALS
  • Hundreds of everyday products, such as polar fleece and toothbrushes, are made from recycled materials. Look for products labeled "post- consumer", "pre-consumer" or "recycled-content."

5. REUSE, REPAIR AND RENT
  • Before shopping for new, think about used. You can find one-of-a-kind items at consignment, thrift and antique stores, often at low cost.
  • Donate unwanted items to a local charity or post them on social media sites.
  • Repair broken items rather than throwing them away. Use do-it-yourself guides, search the internet, or contact your local hardware store for assistance.
  • Consider renting infrequently used items such as power tools, camping gear, etc.
  • Properly maintain items such as lawn mowers, vacuum cleaners and appliances to avoid replacement and repair costs.

buy_holiday6. HAVE A NO-WASTE HOLIDAY
Use earth-friendly gift wrapping alternatives
  • Scarves, handkerchiefs, bandannas
  • Old posters and maps
  • Pages from a child's coloring book
  • Newspapers
  • Home-sewn, reusable cloth bags
  • Reusable decorative bags
  • A present in a present (example, cookies in a reusable tin, kitchen gifts in towels, etc.)
  • Last year's holiday paper (press with warm iron if wrinkled).
  • Wrapping paper made from recycled paper