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Trash Reduction Tips

Last updated 2009.03.05

Alphabetical Index for Trash Reduction Tips


Try as we might, there are still some items that just are not practical to re-use or recycle, and become trash and go off to a landfill site. The problem is getting worse instead of better. Consider this news item regarding the trash situation in Alberta, Canada (March 2009). That situation is not unique. This page provides some tips on how to reduce your use of such materials. The objective here is to reduce the amount of those things going to landfills.

Many assembled items cannot be recycled in their assembled form, but can be if they are disassembled into component parts. One of the keys to keeping items re-usable and recyclable is to avoid contamination as much as possible. For example, newsprint that is soaked through with grease or paint is not suitable for recycling, even though the uncontaminated newsprint would be. Sort your waste before it goes into the trash bin.

If you have a tip on how to reduce the use of an item not noted here, send me an e-mail , and I will add your item to the list below.

[A] [B] [C] [D] [E] [F] [G] [H] [I] [J] [K] [L] [M] [N] [O] [P] [Q] [R] [S] [T] [U] [V] [W] [X] [Y] [Z]

- A -

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- B -

Batteries - Dry Cell

Until recycling facilities for dry cell batteries are more common and better known, most dry cell batteries end up in landfill. When possible, use power from a wall plug to power things instead of batteries. It takes more energy to make a dry cell battery than it can deliver. Consider the use of rechargeable batteries, such as the rechargeable alkaline batteries which have come onto the market in the past few years. These batteries will take 25 or more charges, have nearly the capacity of the one-use types, and supply 1.5 volts per cell (unlike the NiCad rechargeables that supply 1.2 volts per cell).

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- E -

Electricity

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Garden Waste

Garden waste is the natural source material for composting. If your municipality does not have an organics / yard waste program (or even if it does), consider the potential for composting your garden waste, yard waste and appropriate kitchen waste.

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- L -

Light Bulbs

While made largely of glass, light bulbs are not recyclable. However, compact flourescent light bulbs will last up to 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs using much less than 10 times as much material. In addition, they use only about 25% of the energy of an incandescent bulb to produce the same amount of usable light.

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- M -

Motor Oil

Replace gasoline-powered small engines with alternatives. Here are some suggestions.

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- N -

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- O -

Oil - see Motor Oil.

Organic material - see Garden Waste

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- P -

Packaging

When shopping, take your own reusable bags. Loblaws provides a 3-cent discount for each bag you supply and use.

Buy products in bulk where this will help reduce packaging. Some stores permit you to bring your own reusable containers to help reduce packaging.

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- S -

Shopping

This is the big one. You do not have to dispose of what you do not acquire. Avoid disposable items. Purchase with a view to long life and multiple uses. Avoid excess packaging, and especially packaging that cannot be reused or recycled.

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- Y -

Yard Waste - see Garden Waste

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