Many products are designed to be used more than once. Even items who weren’t designed for multiple uses often can be given second or even third lives. Reusable products and containers often result in less waste. This helps reduce the cost of managing solid waste and often conserves materials and resources. (Remember, reusable containers for food must be carefully cleaned to ensure proper hygiene.)
- A sturdy mug or cup can be washed and used time and again. Many people bring their own mugs to work, meetings, and conferences. Sturdy and washable utensils and tableware can be used at home and for picnics, outdoor parties, and potlucks.
- At work, see if” recharged” cartridges for laser printers, copiers, and fax machines are available. They not only reduce waste, but also typically save money.
- Cloth napkins, sponges, or dishcloths can be used around the house. These can be washed over and over again.
- Look for items that are available in refillable containers. For example, some bottles and jugs for beverages and detergents are made to be refilled and reused, either by the consumer or the manufacturer.
- When possible, use rechargeable batteries to help reduce garbage and keep toxic metals found in some batteries out of the waste stream. Another alternative is to look for batteries with reduced toxic metals.
- When using single-use items, remember to take only what is needed. For example, take only one napkin or ketchup packet if more are not needed.
Remember, if your goal is to reduce solid waste, think about reusables!