United States
                         Environmental Protection
                        Solid Waste and
                        Emergency Response
January 1994
WasteWi$e  Tip  Sheet
Waste  Prevention
                                     WasteWise Program Elements
                                      Waste Prevention
                                      Recycling Collection
                                      Buying or Manufacturing Recycled Products
What Is Waste
What Are the
Benefits of Waste
How Does Waste
Prevention Fit into
the WasteWi$e
Waste prevention (also known as source reduction) is the design, purchase,
manufacture, or use of products and materials to reduce the amount or
toxicity of solid waste generated. Waste prevention is not recycling, al-
though these two solid waste management strategies are often confused
with each other.  Recycling is an effective way to manage waste materials
once they have been generated; waste prevention actually reduces the
amount of material used and therefore the amount discarded.

Waste prevention often results in substantial savings through reduced pur-
chasing costs and more efficient practices.  It also can reduce waste dis-
posal costs.  In addition,  waste prevention has environmental benefits,
including reduced energy consumption and pollution, conservation of natu-
ral resources, and extension of valuable landfill capacity.  Practicing waste
prevention can improve customer relations by demonstrating a company's
concern about the environment.  It can also enhance employee relations by
involving employees in the company's waste reduction program.

The purpose of WasteWise is to spur substantial progress in reducing mu-
nicipal solid waste by working with businesses to identify and implement
innovative and cost-saving waste reduction programs. Each Waste Wise
participant commits to implementing three significant waste prevention
activities of  their choice, monitoring progress, and reporting annually  on
the estimated amount of waste avoided. Waste prevention is a critical
component of the Waste Wise  program and is the component that most
often provides substantial cost savings. Other elements of WasteWise in-
clude committing to expanding or improving programs to collect recyclables
and to increasing the recycled content in purchased or manufactured products.
                                                       Printed on paper that contains at least 50% recycled fiber.

What Are Some
Examples of Waste
What Are Some
Examples of Waste
Available to Most
Waste prevention includes a wide variety of activities to reduce the
amount of waste generated. Some examples include:
 Using or manufacturing minimal or reusable packaging.  Work
  with suppliers to minimize the amount of packaging used and to return
  shipping materials such as crates, cartons, and pallets for reuse.  To re-
  duce waste in your shipping department, you can reuse packing
  material, use less packaging, and ship merchandise in returnable/reus-
  able containers. In restaurants and cafeterias, using bulk food and bever-
  age dispensers instead of individual serving containers cuts down on
 Using and maintaining durable equipment and supplies. High
  quality, long-lasting supplies and equipment that can be repaired easily
  mean fewer discards.  These items will stay out of the waste stream
  longer. In addition, the higher initial costs are often justified by lower
  maintenance and disposal costs. Since these items are replaced less fre-
  quently, further cost savings can be realized.  Renting or leasing needed
  equipment might be another option.
 Reusing products and supplies. Using durable, reusable products
  rather than single-use materials is  one of the most effective waste pre-
  vention strategies.  A one-time investment for reusable items ends the
  frequently expensive  cycle of discarding and reordering. Consider adopt-
  ing simple, cost-effective measures such as washing and reusing ceramic
  mugs in place of disposable cups.  Encourage employees to reuse com-
  mon items such as file folders and interoffice envelopes.
 Using supplies and materials more efficiently.  Changing company
  policies and operations to increase efficiency, reduce waste,  and con-
  serve  materials is an important way to achieve waste prevention.  For
  example, switching to double-sided photocopying can cut paper costs by
  10 to  40 percent.
 Exchanging, selling, or giving away unneeded goods  for reuse.
  Donate excess food, used furniture, and other materials to local organiza-
  tions  such as homeless shelters  or  charities. Check to see if a local ma-
  terials exchange exists that can accept and distribute these items to
  non-profit groups.  A growing  number of companies are also success-
  fully selling or exchanging unneeded materials directly with other com-
  panies that can use them in their manufacturing processes.
 Reducing the use of hazardous constituents. Find out which prod
  ucts in your graphics and maintenance departments (such as ink, sol-
  vent,  paint, glue, and other materials) are available with fewer or no
  hazardous constituents.  Ask your  suppliers about water-based (rather
  than oil-  or solvent-based) products.

Reducing paper usage and reducing packaging/shipping materials are two
waste prevention opportunities that most companies can implement easily
and effectively:

Reducing Paper Use

 Use both sides of the page. Draft reports can be printed on  the back of
  paper that has been used once.  Set aside such paper for printers and
  copy machines.
                                                                             WASTE PREVENTION

                              Make double-sided photocopies. Reports can be copied on both sides of
                               the page.

                              Print only the number of copies necessary.  Limit the distribution of corre-
                               spondence and reports to only those who really need " hard copies."

                              Route one hard copy to several readers.

                              Use electronic mail or bulletin boards for sending and receiving informa-

                             Reducing Packaging/Shipping Materials

                              Eliminate unnecessary layers of packaging.

                              Ask suppliers to take back pallets  or switch to more durable pallets
                               that can be reused.

                              Investigate other reusable packaging, such as boxes.

                              Reuse received boxes and packaging for outgoing shipments.

                              Shred or crumple waste paper for use as packing material.

What Additional        To order the following  EPA documents, call the EPA RCR A/Super fund
Information on          Hotline at 800 424-9346 or TDD 800 553-7672 for the hearing impaired.
Waste Prevention Is    For Washington, DC, and outside the United States, call 703  412-9810 or
Available From EPA?   TDD 703  412 3323.

                             Business Guide for Reducing Solid Waste (EPA530-K-92-004). This is a
                             comprehensive how-to guide on assessing your facility's solid waste and choosing
                             cost-effective waste reduction actions.
                             Waste Prevention Pays Off (EPA530-K-92-005). This collection of brief case
                             studies describes how companies have cut costs substantially through a variety of
                             waste prevention actions.
Sources of Additional  Information
Coalition of Northeastern Governors Source
Reduction Task Force (CONEG), 202 624-8450.
CON EG provides information and a challenge program
on reducing packaging waste.
Think Green: A Retailer's Environmental Idea
Book, 1992. $15.00 for retailers, $25.00 for
non-retailers. This 40-page guide presents retailers with
ideas on waste prevention actions for every area of their
stores. It also provides detailed, "how to" instructions on
implementing these waste prevention activities.
     Illinois Retail Merchants Association
     36 S. Wabash Avenue, Suite 1226
     Chicago, IL 60603
     312 726-4600
Institute of Packaging Professionals, 800 432-4085.
This group offers a variety of publications on waste
prevention and packaging design for the environment.
Call for a  free copy of their catalogue of publications.
Source Reduction Now by Minnesota's Office of
Waste Management. For a copy, call the
WasteWise Hotline at 800 372-9473. This 120 page
manual provides information on how to implement a
waste prevention program in any organization.  It
identifies actions that reduce waste at the source and
gives information on how to measure product and
behavior changes that prevent waste. This manual
includes case studies and sample graphics and
complements a training video.
                                                                                  WASTE PREVENTION

Business Guide to Waste Reduction and
Recycling, 1992. $25.00. This 110 page guide
comprehensively describes all the steps involved in
implementing workplace waste reduction programs,
including forming  waste reduction teams, performing
waste audits, implementing waste prevention, contracting
vendors, and launching recycling programs. The guide
includes numerous resources, such as waste conversion
charts, recordkeeping forms, and key contacts in North
     Xerox Document  and Software  Service
     Xerox Corporation
     701 South Aviation  Boulevard
     El Segundo, CA 90245-9935
     800 445-5554
Reducing Office Paper Waste by Robert Graff and
Bette Fishbein, 1991. $18.00. This 28-page booklet
describes the role of the individual office in national
paper production and disposal. It also provides
conversion tables, technology reviews, and other sources
designed to help companies implement office paper
reduction programs.
     Inform, Inc.
     381 Park Avenue South
     New York, NY 10016-8806
     212 689-4040
                WasteWi$e is a partnership between EPA and America's leading businesses.
                Participants set their own waste prevention,  recycling, and recycled-product
                purchasing goals. WasteWi$e supports company efforts through technical
                assistance and recognition of participants' successes.

                For more information about  any aspect of WasteWi$e, call 800 EPAWISE
                (800 372-9473).
                                                                                  WASTE PREVENTION