United States               EPA53Q-K-92-Q03
                              Environmental Protection    August 1992
                              Solid Waste and Emergency Response (OS-305)
@ Printed on paper that contains at least SO percent recycled fiber.

The  Cat's  Out  of the  Bai
                    Reduce  *  Reuse
   This booklet describes how people can help solve a growing prob-
 lem,..garbage! Individual consumers can help alleviate America's
 mounting trash problem by making environmentally aware decisions
 about everyday tilings like shopping and caring for the lawn. Like
 the story that savs cats have nine lives, so do manv of" the items \ve use.
 every day. Empty cans and jars can he reused to store manv items, such
 as nails or thumbtacks. The baking soda bought to bake a cake also
 can be used to scrub kitchen  counters. The container that be.yan it.s
 life as a plastic milk jug can be washed and reused to water plants,
 create- an arts and crafts project, or he transformed into a bird feeder.
 Eventually the milk jug can he recycled to create a new plastic
   Reusing products is just one way to cut  down on what we throw
 away. This booklet outlines manv practical steps to reduce the amount
 and toxicitv of garbage. These aren't the onlv steps that can  be taken
 to reduce waste, but then 're a good start.

       The  Problem Is  Too
                 Much Trash
  Each year, Americans generate
millions of tons of trash in the form
of wrapping's, bottles, boxes, cans,
grass clippings, furniture, clothing,
phone books, and much, much,
more. Over the years, we have got-
ten used to "throwing it away," so
it's easy to understand why now
there's too much trash  and not.
enough acceptable places to put it.
  In less than  30 years, durable
goods (tires, appliances, furniture)
and nondurable goods (paper, cer-
tain disposable products, clothing)
in the solid waste stream nearly
tripled. These  now account for
about 75 million tons of garbage
per year. At the same time, con-
tainer and packaging waste rose
to almost 57 million tons per year,
making packaging the number one
component of the nation's waste
stream. Container and packaging
material includes glass, aluminum,
plastics, steel and other metals, and
paper and paperboard. Yard trim-
mings such as grass clippings and
tree limbs are also a substantial part
of what we throw awav. In addition,
man}' relatively small components
of the national solid waste stream-
add up to millions of tons. For
example, even 1 percent of ihe
nation's waste stream amounts
to almost 2 million  tons of irasb
each year.

Source Reduction:
A Bask: Solution
  As a nation, we are starling to
realize that we can't solve the solid
waste dilemma just  by finding new
places to put trash.  Across the coun-
try, many individuals, communities,
and businesses have found creative
ways to reduce and better manage
their trash through a coordinated
mix of practices thai includes
source reduction (see box on
page 4).
  Simply put, source reduction is
waste prevention. It includes many

                       nat's In America's Trash?
                                            Metals, 8,5% =
     Yard Trimmings, 17.6% -
        31.6 million tons
  Paper, 40,4% -
 71.6 million tons
      15,3 million tons
                                                      Glass. 7.0% =
                                                      2,5 million Ions
                                                           P)ast.ics. 8.0% =
                                                           4.4 million tons
                                                             Other, 1 LOT -
                                                             20,8 million tons
                                                           scraps, 7.4%
                                                           million Sons
                  Total Weight - 179.6 Million Toes
                             (1988 Figures')
actions that reduce the overall
amount or toxicity of waste created.
Source reduction can conserve
resources, reduce pollution, and
help cut waste disposal  and han-
dling costs fit avoids the costs of
recycling, composting, landfilling,
arid combustion).
  Source reduction is a basic solu-
tion to the garbage glut: less waste
means less of a waste problem.
Because source reduction actually
prevents the generation of waste
in the first place, it comes before
other management options, that
deal with trash after it is already
generated. After source reduction,
recycling (and composting) are
the preferred waste management
options because they reduce the

  Integrated waste management refers to the complementary use of
a-variety of practices to safely and effectively handle municipal solid
-waste. The following is EPA's preferred hierarchy of approaches.
1.   Source reduction is the design, manufacture, purchase, or use
    of materials (such as products and packaging) to reduce the
    amount or toxicity of trash generated. Source reduction can
    help reduce waste disposal and handling costs because it avoids
    the costs of recycling, municipal composting, landfilling, and
    combustion. It also conserves resources and reduces pollution.
2.   Recycling is the process by which materials are collected and
    used as raw materials for new products. There are four steps in
    recycling; collecting the recyclable components of municipal
    solid waste, separating materials by type (before or after collec-
    tion),  processing them into reusable forms, and purchasing
    and using the goods made with reprocessed materials. Recycling
    prevents potentially useful materials from being landfilled or
    combusted, thus preserving our capacity for disposal. Recycling
    often saves energy and natural resources. Oompostittg, a form
    of recycling, can play a key role in diverting organic wastes from
    disposal facilities.
3.   Waste combustion and landfflling play a key role in managing
    waste that cannot be reduced or recycled. Combustion in spe-
    cially designed facilities reduces the bulk of waste and provides
    the added benefit of energy recovery. Source reduction and
    recycling can remove items from the waste stream that may be
    difficult to burn, cause potentially harmful emissions, or make
    ash management problematic. Landfilling is—and will continue
    to be—a major component of waste management. The portion
    of waste requiring incineration or land disposal can be signifi-
    cantly reduced by examining individual contributions to garbage
    and by promoting the wise use and reuse of resources.

amount of waste going to landfills
and conserve resources.

Making Source
Reduction Work
  Putting source reduction into
practice is likely to require some
change in our daily routines.
Changing habits does not. mean a
return to a more difficult lifestyle,
however. In fact, just the opposite
may happen. If we don't reduce
waste, the economic and social costs
of waste disposal will continue to
increase, and communities—large
and small, urban and suburban—
will face increasingly harder deci-
sions about managing their trash.
  All parts of society need to work
together to change current patterns
of waste generation and disposal.
The federal government develops
and provides information and looks
for incentives to create less waste. It
also helps communities plan and
carry out source reduction mea-
sures. State, local, and tribal
governments can create the most
appropriate source reduction mea-
sures for their areas.  For example,
some communities already art'
using fee systems that require
households and businesses to pay
for trash disposal based on the
amount they toss out.
   Large consumers—manufac-
turers, retailers, restaurants, hotels,
schools, and governments—can
prevent waste in a variety of ways,
including using products that cre-
ate less trash. Manufacturers also
can design products that use fewer
hazardous components, require
less packaging, are recyclable, use
recycled materials, and result in
less waste when they are no longer
   Individuals can evaluate their
daily waste-producing activities to
determine those that are  essential
(such as choosing medicines and
foods packaged for safety and
health), and those that are not
(such as throwing away glass or
plastic jars that could be reused or
locally recycled). This booklet sug-
gests many practices that  reduce
waste or help manage it more effec-
tively. Adopt those that, are right for
you and add others that you  think

of yourself. Discuss your ideas with    need to be washed, for example,
neighbors, businesses, and other      there may be an increase in water
members of your community. It's      use. Individual consumers, however,
important to remember that all       can substantially reduce  solid waste
actions will have some effect on the    by following these basic principles:
environment. If reusable products
         REDUCE the amount of trash discarded.
         REUSE containers and products.
         RECYCLE, use recycled materials, and compost.

         RESPOND to the solid waste dilemma by reconsidering
         waste-producing activities and by expressing preferences
         for less waste,

   Reduce the amount of
   unnecessary packaging.
   Adopt practices thai
   reduce waste toxiritv.

Consider reusable products.
 Maintain and repair durable
 Reuse bags, containers, and
 other items.
Borrow, rent, or share items
 used infrequently.
Sell or donate goods instead
 of throwing them out.
Choose, recvclable products and
 containers and recvcle them.
Select product^ made from
 recycled materials.
(Compost yard trimmings
and some food scraps.
Educate others on source reduction
and recycling practices. Make your
preferences known to manufactur-
ers, merchants, and community
Be creative—find new ways to reduce
\vastr fjiiaiHiu and toxiciu.

  Packaging serves many purposes. Its primary pur-
pose is to protect and contain a product. It also can
prevent tampering, provide information, and pre-
serve hygienic integrity and freshness. Some
packaging, however, is designed largely to enhance
a product's attractiveness or prominence on the
store shelf. Since packaging materials account for a
large volume of the trash we generate,  they provide
a good opportunity for reducing waste. In addition,
keep in mind that as the amount of product in
a container increases, the packaging waste per
serving or use usually decreases.
  e When choosing between two similar product>>
    select the one with the least unnecessary
  • Remember that wrenches, screwdrivers, nails,
    and other hardware are often available in loose
    bins. At the grocery, consider whether it is necessary to purchase herns such
    as tomatoes, garlic, and mushrooms in prepackaged containers when they
    can be bought tinpackaged.
  • When appropriate, use products you already have on hand to do household
    chores (see Appendix A). Using these products can save on the packaging
    associated with additional products.
  * Recognize and support store managers when they stock products with no
    packaging or reduced packaging.  Let clerks know when it's not necessary to
    double wrap a purchase.
  8 Consider large or economy-size items for household products that are used
    frequently, such as laundry soap, shampoo, baking soda, pet foods, and cat
    litter. These sizes usually have less  packaging per unit of product, For food
    items, choose  the largest size that  can be used before spoiling.
  9 Consider whether concentrated products are appropriate for vour needs.
    They often require less packaging  and less energy (o transport to the store,
    saving money as well as natural resources.
  * Whenever possible, select grocery,  hardware, and household items that are
    available in bulk. Bulk merchandise also may be shared with-friends or
  » It is important to choose food  servings that are  appropriale lo your needs.
    One alternative to single food servings is to choose the next largest serving
    and store am leftovers in a reusable container.

                                           s* 1"^" *""!; "f
  In addition to reducing the amount of materials in the solid waste- stream,
reducing waste toxicity is another important component of source reduction.
Some jobs around the home may require the use of products containing ha/_-
ardous components. Nevertheless, toxicity reduction can be achieved by following
some simple guidelines.
  ** Take actions that use nonhazardous or less hazardous components to
    accomplish the task at hand. Examples include choosing reduced mercury
    batteries, or planting marigolds in the garden to ward off certain pests rather
    than using pesticides. In some cases you may be using less toxic chemicals to
    do a job and in others you may use some physical method, such as sandpaper,
    scouring pads, or just a little more elbow grease, to achieve the same results.
  * Learn about alternatives to household items containing hazardous
    substances. In some cases, products that you have around the house can
    be used to do the same job as products with hazardous components. (Sec-
    Appendix A or check with local libraries or bookstores for  guidebooks on
    nonhazardous household practices.)
  * If you do need to use products with hazardous components, use only the
    amounts needed. Leftover materials can be shared with neighbors or
    donated to a business, charity, or government agency, or. in the case of used
                                        motor oil, recycled at a participating
                                        service station. Never put leftover
                                        products with hazardous components
                                        in food or beverage containers.
                                       • For products containing hazardous
                                        components, read and follow all
                                        directions on product labels. Make
                                        sure the containers are always
                                        labelled properlv and stored safely
                                        away from children and pets, When
                                        you are finished with containers that
                                        are  partially full, follow local
                                        community policy on household
                                        hazardous waste disposal (see box
                                        on "Household Hazardous Waste
                                        Collection" on the  next page). If at
                                        any time you have questions about
                                        potentially hazardous ingredients in
                                        products and their impacts on human
                                        health, do not hesitate to call your
                                        local poison control center.

       Household                Waste Collection

   For leftover products containing hazardous components, check with
the local environmental agency or Chamber of Commerce to see if there
are any designated days in \our area for collection of waste materials such
as leftover paints, pesticides, solvents, and batteries. On such days, quali-
fied professionals collect household hazardous wastes at a central location
to ensure safe management and disposal. Some communities have perma-
nent household hazardou- v..tste collection facilities that accept wastes
year-round. Some collect inn- also include exchanges of paints, solvents,
certain pesticides, cleaning  .tiul automotive products, and other' materials.
Exchanges allow material- )• > He used by someone else, rather than being
thrown a way.

t *C €?«• rTs * ^afc **f *j*V ' af"lt i
 JrtWB*S?il*C-w   • ' \
                                          Many products arc designed to
                                        be used more than  once. 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, reus-
                                        able containers for  food must be
                                        carefully cleaned to ensure proper
                                          e 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.
                                          e At work, see  if  "recharged"
                                            cartridges for laser printers,
                                            copiers, and fax machines are
                                            available. They not only reduce
                                            waste, but also typically save
                                          e Cloth napkins, sponges, or
                                            dishcloths can. be used around
                                            the house. These can be
                                            washed over and over again.
c 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 to
  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 retisables.

   If maintained and repaired properly,
products such as long-wearing i lothing,
tires, and appliances are less likely to wear
out or break and will not have 10 he
thrown out and replaced as frequently,
Although durable products sometimes
cost more initially,1 their extended life
span may offset the higher cost and
even save money over the long term.
   « Consider long-lasting appliances
    and electronic equipment with good
    warranties. Check  reports for pro-
    ducts with a record of high consumer
    satisfaction and low breakdown rates.
    Also, look for those products that are
    easily repaired.
   K Keep appliances in good working
    order. Follow manufacturers'
    suggestions for proper operation
    and maintenance.  Manufacturer*'
    service departments may have
    toll-free  numbers;  phone
    toll-free  directory  assistance
    at. 1-800-555-1212 to find out.
   * High-quality, long-lasting tires fo.i
    cars, bicycles, and  other vehicles ai<
    available- Using them reduces the rate at which tires are replaced and
    disposed of. Also, to extend tire life, check tire pressure once a momh, follow
    the manufacturer's recommendations for upkeep, and rotate tires routinely,
    In addition, retread and remanufactured tires can reduce tire waste,
   * Mend clothes instead of throwing them away. Where possible, repair worn
    shoes, boots, handbags, and briefcases.

   & Whenever intended for use over a long period of time, choose furniture,
    luggage, sporting goods, toys, and tools that will stand up to vigorous use.
   • Consider using  low-energy fluorescent light bulbs rather than incandescent
    ones. They'll last longer, which means fewer bulbs are thrown  out, and cost
    less to replace over time.

   Many everyday items can have more than
one use. Before discarding bags, containers,
and other items, consider ii'it is hygienic and
practical to reuse them. Reusing products
extends their lives, keeping them out of the
solid waste stream longer. Adopt the ideas that
work for you, add some of your own, and then
challenge  others in your school, office, and
community to try these ideas and to come up
with others.
   9 Reuse paper and plastic bags and twist
    ties. If it's practical, keep a supply of bags
    on hand to use on the next shopping
    trip, or take a string, rnesh, or canvas tote
    bag to the store. When a reusable bag is
    not on hand and only one or two items arc-
    being purchased, consider whether you need a bag at all.
   • Reuse scrap paper  and envelopes. Use both sides of a piece of paper for
    writing  notes before recycling it. Save and  reuse gift boxes, ribbons, and
    larger pieces of wrapping and tissue paper. Save packaging, colored paper,
    egg cartons, and other items for reuse or for arts and crafts projects at day-
    care facilities, schools, youth facilities, and senior citizen centers. Find other
    uses or  homes for  old draperies, bedding,  clothing, towels, and cotton
    diapers. Then cut  up what's left for use as patchwork, rags, doll clothes,
    rag rugs, or other  projects.
   *• Reuse newspaper, boxes, packaging "peanuts," and "bubble wrap" to ship
    packages. Brown paper bags are  excellent for wrapping parcels.
   * Wash  and reuse empty glass and plastic jars, milk jugs, coffee cans, dairy tubs,
    and other similar containers that otherwise get thrown out. These containers
    can be used to store leftovers as well as buttons, nails, and thumbtacks. An
    empty coffee can makes a fine flower pot.
   *> Turn  used lumber into birdhouses. mailboxes, compost bins, or other
    woodworking projects.

   CAUTION: Do not reuse containers that originally held products such as
motor oil or pesticides. These containers and their potentially harmful residues
should be  discarded (following manufacturers'  instructions on the label) as soon
as they are empty. When >ou no longer have a use for a full or partially full con-
tainer, take it to a communitv household hazardous waste collection. Also, never
sion- anything potentially harmful in  containers designed for food or beverages.
Always label  containers and store them out of the reach of children and pets.

                                  ,  or
  Seldom-used items, like certain power tools and party goods, often collect dust,
rust, take up valuable storage spare, and ultimately end up in the trash. Consider
renting or borrowing these items the next  time they're needed. Infrequently used
items also might be shared among neighbors, friends, or family. Borrowing, rent-
 ing, or sharing items saves both money and natural resources.
       • Rent or borrow party dec orations and supplies such as tables, chairs,
          centerpieces, linens, dishes, and silverware.
             Rent or borrow seldom-used audiovisual equipment.

              * Rent or borrow tools such as ladders, chain saws, floor buffers,
                           rug cleaners, and garden tillers. In apartment
                           buildings or coops, residents can pool resources
                           and form "banks" to share tools or other equipmeni
                           used or needed infrequent!}'. In addition, some
       NV_     \\ KsS(_      communities have "tool libraries" where residents
       |flHI| iWfe^S\     can Borrow  equipment as needed.
       ^^t/    ftCSi  \    • Before discarding old tools, camera equipment,
                                or other goods, ask friends, relatives,
                                  neighbors, or community groups if they can
                                    use them.
                                       Share newspapers and magazines with
                                         others to extend the lives of these
                                           items and  reduce the
                                             of waste paper.

   One person's trash is another person's treasure. Instead of discarding
unwanted appliances, tools, or clothes, try selling or donating them. Opting for
used and "irregular" items is another good way to practice source reduction. Such
products are often less expensive than new or "first-quality" items, and using them
will keep them from being thrown away.
   8 Donate or resell items to thrift stores or other organizations in need. Donors
    sometimes receive tax deductions or even cash. These organizations tvpically
    take everything from clothes and textiles to appliances and furniture. AD
    should be clean and of respectable quality.
   • Sell secondhand items at fairs, ba/aars, swap meets, and garage sales.
   * Give hand-me-down clothes to family members, neighboring families, or the
    needy. Consider acquiring used clothing at thrift or consignment, shops. The
    condition of used clothing  in these stores is screened: clothes are tvpk:all\
    laundered and cannot have tears or stains.

   * Consider conducting a food or clothing drive to help others, \\1iein-
    appropriate,  encourage area merchants  to donate damaged goods or food
    items that are still edible to food banks, shelters, and other groups that rare
    for i he needv.

   When you've done all you can to avoid
waste, recycle. Producing goods from recy-
cled materials typically consumes less
energy and conserves raw materials. Yet,
our landfills are packed with many pack-
ages and products that can be recycled.
   • Consider products made of materials
     that are collected for recycling
     locally; in many communities, this
     includes glass, aluminum, steel, some
     paper and cardboard, and certain
     plastics. Check with appropriate
     community officials, volunteer
     groups, or recycling businesses
     to determine what materials are
     collected {'or recycling. If a system
     is not in place to return a certain type
     of material, that material is not easily
   • Participate in community recycling" drives, curhside programs, and drop-off
    collections. Call community officials, the local recycling center, or a nearby
    recycling business to find out if and how materials should be separated. For
    example, some communities require thai glossy inserts be segregated from
    newspaper, and that different types of cans be separated. A magnet can be
    used to distinguish steel or bimetal cans from aluminum cans (a magnet does
    not stick to aluminum). Also, investigate curbside pickup schedules, deter-
    mine what materials are accepted, locate drop-off sites, and find oui when
    these sites are open.
   8 Ifa recycling program does not exist in your community, participate in
    establishing one. Call local salvage  operators to see if they will accept or pick
    up materials for recycling. Work with community officials lo determine ihe
    most cost-effective recycling options for your area.
   * Take used car batteries (''lead-acid batteries"), antifree/e, and motor- oil
    (saved in clean nonbreakable containers) to participating automobile service
    centers and other places that collect these items for recycling,
   9 As more businesses and organizations provide collection opportunities,
    take advantage of them. For example, manv grocery stores collect bags for

                 The                   Debate

  One of the biggest debates in solid waste, has centered on claims that
certain products such as some plastic bags, paper products, and other
goods are. degradable. Are such products helpful in solving the solid waste
dilemma? Do they save landfill space?
  In truth, degradation occurs vt-ry slowly in modern landfills, Sunlight
can't penetrate, so photodegradalion can't occur. Furthermore, research-
ers have unearthed cabbages, carrots, and readable newspapers that have
been in landfills for 30 years or more. It is unlikely that products marketed
as degradable would achieve better results. Even if biodegradable prod-
ucts do perform exactly as they are supposed lo, they still use
up resources that could be reclaimed through recycling.
  Biodegradability of natural materials such as lawn trimmings and
some foods does have a place in solid waste management. That place is
composting (see tip #10). Whether in the backyard or in communkv facili-
ties, composting can take advantage of degradability. This is nature's way
of recycling- organic material inio humus that enriches soil and returns
nutrients to the earth.

                                                                                                                                                                                  4. And to mix a batch
                                                                                                                                                                                  at concentrated juice.
t. The tile   K
     eanut  '
of a pea
butter jar begins
on the supermarket
shell, filled with your
favorite brand. When emptied
and cleaned 0111, you and
your family can use il in
many practical ways.
                                                                                                                                      3.1! can be used lo
                                                                                                                                      store leftovers.,.
                                                         2. It's a perfect container for displaying
                                                         a prized marble collection.
                                                                                                                                                                 5, It can be taken back
                                                                                                                                                                 to the store to buy
                                                                                                                                                                 Foods in buJk, such as
                                                                                                                                                                 honey, maple syrup,
                                                                                                                                                                 and even more peanut
                                                                                                       7. Take the |ar an your
                                                                                                       next fishing trip to
                                                                                                       carry live bait.
       9, When you collect too many
       peanut butter |ars, be sure lo
       recycle line extras. They may
       be used to manufacture neiv
       peanut butter jars or other
8. Then use it to show
oft the beautiful Dowers
you picked tor the
dinner table when the
fishing is done.
6, The jars also make
great cookie cutters.

  Participating in a local or regional recycling program is only part of {lie recv-
cling process. For recycling to succeed, recyclable materials must be processed
into new products, and those prociiu is must be purchased arid used,
  * Look for items in packages and < omainers made of recycled materials. Many
    bottles-, cans, paper wrappings, hags, cereal boxes, and other cartons and
    packages are made from recycled materials,
  8 Use products with recycled consent whenever you can. For instance, many
    paper, glass, metal, and plastic products contain recovered materials. Some
    examples are stationery, wrapping paper, computer paper, and many-
    containers. Many of these items are available in grocery, drug, and  other-
    retail stores. Mail-order catalogues, stationers, and print shops also may stock
    these and other recycled items.
  • When checking products for recycled content, look for a statement that
    recycled materials were used and, if possible, choose the item with  the largest
    percentage of recycled content, if known. Yon can also call directory
    assistance at  1-800-555-1212 to obtain manufacturers' 800 numbers to find
    out how much recycled material their products contain.
  * Encourage state and local government agencies, local businesses, and others
    to purchase recycled products such as paper, re-refined oil, and retread tires.
    For the federal government, 
          Reducing Unwanted Advertising Mai!
   Each year, millions of Americans make one or more purchases through
the mail. When people make these mail-order purchases, their names
often are added to a list arid marketed to other companies that do busi-
ness through the mail. While many people enjoy the catalogues tbev
receive as a result of these lists, those who would like to receive less
national advertising mail can ask companies not to rent or share their
names with other mailers. People who choose not to shop at home can
also write to:

   Mail Preference Service
   Direct Marketing Association
   11 West 42nd Street'
   P.O. Box 3861
   New York. NY  10163

   The Mail  Preference Service is a no-charge service thai removes names
from many national mailing lists. Individuals who would like to use this
service are requested to provide their names and addresses (including zip
code), and any spelling variations they have  noticed on mailing labels,
to the Mail Preference Service.
   Jl may take a few months before there is a noticeable decrease- in the
amount of national advertising mail delivered. In addition, local advertis-
ing mail, such as store flyers, will not he affected. In these cases, people
can write direcdy to the mailer and request that their names he removed
from the mailing list.
   To keep your name off
unwanted mailing lists, contact,
mail-order companies (and other
organizations) to let them know
that you do not want your name
and address  shared with other
businesses and organizations. In
this way, you can still order by
mail and belong to charitable
organizations without worrying
that the amount of unsolicited
mail vou receive will increase.

  Backyard composting of certain food scraps and yard trimmings can
significantly reduce the amount of waste that needs to be managed by the local
government or put in a landfill. When properly composted, these wastes can be
turned into natural soil additives for use on lawns and gardens, and used as pot-
ting soil for house plants. Finished compost can improve soil texture, increase the
ability of the soil to absorb air and water, suppress weed growth, decrease erosion,
and reduce the need to apply commercial soil additives.
  * team how to compost food scraps and yard trimmings (see the guidelines on
    the next page). For more information, consult reference? materials on
    composting, or check with local environmental, agricultural, or park services.
    Composting foods in highly populated areas is not recommended because it
    can attract rodents and other pests.

  * Participate in local or regional programs that collect compostable materials.
    If no program is in place, contact public officials and community leaders
    about setting one up.
  * If there's no room for a compost pile, offer compostable materials to
    community  composting programs or garden projects near you.
  • If you have a yard, allow mown grass clippings to remain on the lawn to
    decompose  and return nutrients hark to the soil, rather than bagging and
    disposing of'them.

                      Composting Is Easy!

   A compost pile can be set up in a corner of the yard with few supplies.
Choose a level spot about 3- to 5-feet square near a water source and prefer-
ably out of direct sunlight. Clear the area of sod and grass. When building a
composting bin, such as with chicken wire, scrap wood, or cinder blocks, be
sure to leave enough space for air to reach the pile, Oee removable side
makes it easier to tend the pile.
;   Many foods can  be composted, including vegetable trimmings, egg
shells, coffee grounds with Filters, and tea bags. In addition to leaves, grass,
and yard clippings, vacuum cleaner lint, wool and cotton rags, sawdust,
shredded newspaper, and fireplace ashes can be composted. DO NOT
compost meats, dairy foods, or any fats, oil, or grease because they can
attract pests.
   Start the pile with a 4-inch layer of leaves, loose soil, or other coarse yard
trimmings. If you are going to compost food scraps (a slightly more
involved process), vou should mix them with yard trimmings when adding
them to the pile. Alfalfa meal or clean cat litter may be added to the pile to
absorb odors. In dry weather, sprinkle water on the pile, but don't get it too
soggy. Turn the pile every few weeks with a pitchfork to circulate air arid
distribute moisture evenly. Don't be surprised by the heat of the pile or if
you see  worms, both of which are part of the decomposition process. Make
sure children do not play in the composting pile or "bin.
   In most climates, the compost is done in 3 to 6 months when it becomes
a dark crumbly material that is uniform in texture. Spread it in the garden
or yard  beds or under the shrubbery. The compost also can be used as
potting  soil.

                           Share information about source reduction, recy-
                          cling, and composting with others.
                        h Spread the word to family, friends, neighbors,
                          local businesses, and decision-makers. Encourage
                          them to learn more about solid waste issues and
                          to work toward implementing and  promoting
                          source reduction, recycling, and composting. We
                          all have the power to influence others and help
                          create the type of world in which we want to live.

                            » Consider writing to companies to encourage
                              them to reduce unnecessary packaging and
                              the use of hazardous components in
                              products. ID addition, let companies know
                              when they've made positive changes. Many
                              companies offer toll-free 800 numbers you
                              can call with these comments.
                              Encourage source reduction, recycling, and
                              composting programs for yard trimmings in
                              the community.
                              Where appropriate, encourage the use of
                              reusable, recycled, and recyclable materials
                              in the workplace.
                            * Encourage the use of efficient, long-lasting
Urge schools to provide environmental education and to teach -about source
reduction, recycling, and composting.

Support an environmentally sound waste program in your community {hat
starts with source reduction. Your community also .needs access to adequate
and v;ife -.olid uastr la< iliiies such as ret vcliug ami c, nnpo.xting rimers.
eoriibiistois. and landfills.

                               M.             J                         si
  There are many ways to rrdiu »• the amount and the toxicity of solid waste. By
thinking creatively, many new HV. for common items and new possibilities for
source reduction and recycling < .tn be discovered. Here are just a few ideas.  Now,
try some of your own I
  8 Turn a giant cardboard !m\ into
    a child's playhouse.
  * Transform a plastic ice cream
    tub into a flower pot.
  » Give pet hamsters or gerbils paper
    towel and toilet paper cardboard
    tubes with which to play. Use an
    egg carton to plant seedlings.
  * Turn used tires (not steel-belted)
    into children's swings or other
    playground equipment.
  9 Seled nontoxic inks
    and art supplies.
  e Combine source reduction
    techniques. For example,
    try storing coffee bought in
    bulk in empty coffee cans.
  • Choose beverages such
    as water or milk in
    reusable containers.
    where appropriate.
  " Place an order through the mail
    with a group of people in
    order to save money and
    red IK e packaging \\asie

  It's far better to reduce the toxicity and amount of solid waste in the
first place than to cope with it after it has been created. Through source
reduction, recycling, and composting, many environmental benefits and
co« savings can be realized. Just remember the four "R's"....
               MEDUCE the amount of trash discarded.
               REUSE containers and products.
               RECYCLE, use recycled products, and compost.
               RESPOND to the solid waste dilemma by reconsidering
               waste-producing activities and by expressing preferences
               for less waste.

   People from small towns and big cities across America are implementing
innovative source reduction programs and are realizing economic as well as
environmental benefits.
   You can 'encourage and support these changes in .your community by working
with civic groups, local merchants, and county boards. Through consumer educa-
tion campaigns, school curricula, economic incentives, and other legislative,
financial, and educational measures, your community can set the pace for new
ways to reduce solid waste. Here are :i few examples of how communities and
businesses are reducing waste.

Model Communities-
   In a growing number of Illinois communities, facilities ranging from industries
to schools are practicing source reduction by following the lead of community
role models. The Central States Education Center (CSEC), a nonprofit
environmental group, has developed a Model Community Program to help
communities find ways to reduce waste, eliminate toxins, recycle, and purchase
products that contain recycled materials. Through this program, businesses,
organizations, and other groups serve as source reduction role models in their
communities. The facilities institutionalize various source reduction strategies
through in-house committees and on-going educational programs.
   Several schools, industries, churches and other organizations participate in this
program. In a model industry, for example, solvent recycling machines are used
to make solvents last three times longer. Model supermarkets have a shelf-labeling
program to highlight products with less packaging. Additional model facilities
include churches, banks, libraries, a radio station, a utility company, newspapers,
a theater, a sorority, and even a city hall. At present there are over 70 model facili-
ties in eight different Illinois communities.
   As a result of these model facilities, less waste is generated in the participating
communities, and much of what is generated gets routed to the community recy-
cling center, rather than the landfill- For example, one model school reduced
cafeteria waste by 40 percent. Interest in the program is growing nationwide as
communities use the model program to educate citizens and get them involved
in reducing their solid waste.

Berkeley-—Oohig It         from
   In 1989, Berkeley, California, implemented a citywide campaign to help con-
sumers make environmentally sound decisions. The City uses catchy slogans, such
as "do it right from the start." "be picky about packaging," and "overcome over-
packaging," to urge shoppers to think about how products are packaged and
              ultimately disposed of. Consumers tell manufacturers which prod-
      f__                        ucts they want to use and which products thev
                                  don't want by leaving them on store shelves.
                                     Since 1989, the initiatives under this
                                  program have grown as businesses and
                                   residents have embraced the concept.
                                   The program now includes an educational
                                   campaign directed at elemeniarv schools.
                                   An environmental education curriculum
                                    has been developed, as we!) as a training
                                    program, to help teachers incorporate
                                     recycling and other environmental
                                     messages into their science lessons.
                                     Other recent initiatives involve oily
                                     supermarkets, which have printed
                                      recycling tips on their grocery bags.
                                      Some supermarkets also offer a
                                      discount to shoppers who bring
                                       their own bags or containers.
                                       Finally, a composting program
                                       offers subsidized composting bins

                                        to Berkeley residents to encourage
                                        home composting.

Source Reduction—Savings for Business

   More and more businesses, large and small, are realizing that source reduction
can mean a big payoff in reduced waste and costs. For example, a small news-
paper in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, the Herald Review, has reduced its waste by
almost 30,000 pounds annually, which saves over $18,000 per year. Everyone joins
in to reduce waste, from reporters switching to narrow-ruled notebooks to save
paper, to photographers saving film bv planning the number of exposures they
need before shooting.
   In the office, people reuse mailing labels, rebuild toner cartridges for com-
putei printers, and print on both sides of the paper. A ceramics packaging firm
has even been found to purchase the paper left over from the printing process.
This "waste exchange" benefits both companies. The newspaper also has found
ways to reuse waste ink. film-developing chemicals, and paste-up sheets. These
innovative ideas reduce both  the amount  arid the toxicity of the company's
   Also, a large furniture manufacturer, Herman Miller, Inc. (HMI) of Zeeland.
Michigan., has reaped savings of $1.4  million annually through waste prevention.
It devised packaging containers that can be reused 80 to 100 times and that are
made from recycled detergent and milk containers.
   Another approach HMI uses is carton less packaging. This means just placing
cardboard edges on the corners of some furniture and wrapping the furniture
with plastic film rather than boxing it. The cardboard edges are reused and the
plastic film is recycled. This practice has saved HMI 5250,000 a year for one type
of product. In addition to internal  efforts, HMI cosponsors an annual waste
exchange fair for other businesses to share information and materials. Workshops
are also held to educate attendees about waste prevention. The first fair in 1991
brought together over 300 people and was so successful that attendance tripled  in

                           You               Up
   We want to hear your innovative ideas
on how to practice source reduction. Send
us a source reduction tip, and we'll send
you a magnet that can be used to stick a
shopping list to the refrigerator and to
distinguish bimetal and steel cans from
aluminum cans (magnets are not
attracted to aluminum), Quantities are
limited. Send your name, address, and
tip to Source Reduction Tip, the RCRA
Docket (OS-305),  U. S, Environmental
Protection Agency, 401 M Street, SW..
Washington/DC  20460.

Source Reduction Alternatives Around the Home
   Many consumers look for ways u> reduce the amount and toxicity of waste
around the house. This can be done, in some cases, by using alternative methods
or products without hazardous constituents to accomplish a certain task. Here are
just a few ideas to get you started.
  Drain cleaner
  Oven cleaner
  Glass cleaner

  Toilet bowl cleaner

  Furniture polish

  Rug deodorizer

  Silver polish
  Plant sprays

  Flea and tick:
  products    :
Use a plunge; or plumber's snake.
Clean spills ,u *oon as the oven cools using steel
wool and baking soda; for tough stains, add salt (do
not use this method in self-cleaning or
continuous-cleaning ovens).
Mix 1 tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice in 1 quart
of water. Spray on and use newspaper to wipe dry.
Use a toilet brush and baking soda or vinegar.
(This will clean but not. disinfect.)
Mix 1 teaspoon of lemon juice in 1 pint of mineral or
vegetable oil, and wipe furniture.
Deodorize dry carpets by sprinkling liberally with
baking soda. Wait at least 15 minutes and vacuum.
Repeat if necessary.
Boil 2 to 3 inches of water in  a shallow pan with 1
teaspoon of salt, 1 teaspoon of baking soda, and a
sheet of aluminum foil. Totally submerge silver and
boil for 2 to 3 more  minutes. Wipe away tarnish.
Repeat if necessary.  (Do not use this method on
antique silver knives. The blade will separate from the
handle,) Another alternative is to use nonabrasi^e
Wipe leaves with mild soap and water; rinse.
Use cedar chips, lavender flowers, rosemary, mint,
or white peppercorns.
Put brewer's yeast or garlic in your pet's food;
sprinkle fennel, rue, rosemary, or eucalyptus
seeds or leaves around animal sleeping areas.
  Although the suggested mixtures have less hazardous ingredients than many
commercial cleaners and pesticides, they should be used and stored with similar
caution. Please follow these guidelines for any household cleaner or pesticide.

  • DO NOT mix anything with a commercial cleaning agent.

  " If you do store a homemade mixture, make sure it is properly labelled and
    do not store it in a container thai could be mistaken for a food or beverage.

  * When preparing alternatives, mix only what is needed for the job at hand
    and mix them in clean, reusable containers. This avoids waste and the need
    to si ore ariv cleaning  mixture.

Reusable Vocabulary
Bimetal - Typically refers to beverage containers with steel bodies and aluminum
   tops, Steel companies do recycle bimetal cans, but they are handled diffeix-nt.lv
   in the recycling stream from aluminum cans.

Combustion - The controlled burning of municipal solid waste to reduce volume,
   and* commonly, to recover energy.
Composting - The controlled microbial decomposition of organic matter (such
   as food scraps and yard trimmings) in the presence of oxygen into a hurnm-
   or soil-like material.
Curbside collection -A method of collecting recyclable materials at. individual
   homes or places of business by municipal or private parties for transfer
   to a designated collection site or recycling facility,
Drop-off-A method of collecting recyclable materials where individuals transport
   the materials to a designated  collection site.
Household Hazardous waste - Products containing hazardous substances that
   are used and disposed of by individual-rather than industrial consumers.
   These products include some paints, solvents, and pesticides.
Integrated waste management - The complementary use of a variety of practices
   to handle municipal solid waste safely and effectively. Integrated waste man-
   agement techniques include source reduction, recycling, composting,
   combustion, and landfilling.

Landfill'ng - The disposal of solid waste at engineered facilities in a series of
   compacted layers on land and the frequent daily covering of the waste with
   soil. Fill areas are carefully prepared to prevent nuisances or public health
   hazards, and clay and/or synthetic liners are used to prevent releases to
   ground water.

Municipal solid waste (MSWi - Waste generated in households, commercial
   establishments, institutions, and businesses. MSW includes used paper,
   discarded cans and bottles, food scraps, yard trimmings, and other items.
   Industrial process wastes, agricultural wastes, mining wastes, and sewage
   sludge are not MSW.
Pro-consumer materials - Recovered materials obtained from manufacturers.
Post-consumer materials, - Recovered materials from a consumer-oriented
   recycling collection system or drop-off center.
Recyclable-" - Products or materials thai can be collected, separated,  and processed
   to be used as raw materials in the manufacture of new products.

Recycled content - The portion of a product's or package's weight that is
   composed of materials that have been recovered from waste; this may include
   pre-consumer or post-consumer materials.
Recycling - Separating, collecting, processing, marketing, and ultimately using
   a material that would have been thrown away.
Reuse - The use of a product more than once in its same form for the same pur-
   pose or for different purposes, such as reusing a. soft-drink bottle when
   it is returned to the bottling company for refilling, or reusing a coffee can
   as a container for nuts and bolts.
Source reduction - The design, manufacture, purchase, or use of materials
   to reduce the amount or toxicit\ of waste. Because it is intended to reduce
   pollution and conserve resources, source reduction should not increase  he
   net amount or toxicity of waste* generated throughout the life of the product.
   Source reduction techniques include reusing items, minimizing the use
   of products that contain hazardous compounds, using only what is needed,
   extending the useful life of a product, and reducing uuneeded packaging.

Source separation - Separating materials (such as paper, metal, and glass} by type
   at the point of discard so that they can be recycled.
Toxic - Ability  (or property) of a substance to produce harmful or lethal  effects
   on humans and/or the environment.
Virgi.ii materials - Resources extracted from nature in their raw form,  such as
   timber or metal ore.
Yard trimmings • The component of solid waste composed of grass clippings,
   leaves, twigs, brandies, and garden refuse.

                        Appendix  C
EPA Resources
   The following EPA publications arc available at no charge through the
Agency's RCRA Hotline. Call 1-800-424-9346 Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m.
7:30 p.m. EST. For the hearing impaired, the number is TTD (800) 553-7672. In
Washington, DC, call  (703) 920-9810 or TDD (703) 486-3323.

Bibliography of Municipal Solid Waste Management Alternatives (EPA/530-SW-89-055)
   A listing of approximately 20(1 publications available from industry,
   government, and environmental groups.
Characterization of Municipal Solid Waste in the United States: 1990 Update (EPA/530-
   SW-90-042). A report characterizing the national solid waste stream in terms of
   products and materials and examining how these wastes are managed.

Characterization of Product* Containing 1 sad and Cadmium in Municipal Solid Waste in
   the. United States, 1970 l.o 2000 
   • The Facts on Reacting Plastics (EPA/530-SW-90-G17E). A fact sheet summariz-
     ing the opportunities available for recycling plastics, and the current state
     of plastic recycling technology.
Recycling (EPA/530-SW-88-050). A concise citizen's brochure on recycling and
     its role in solid waste management.
Recycle Today1, A series of five publications aimed at educators  and students:
   • Recycle Today! An Educational Program for Grades K-12 (EPA/530-SW-90-025).
     A concise pamphlet explaining the goals and objectives of EPA's educational
     recycling program and the four resources listed below.
   * Let's Reduce and Recycle! A Curriculum for Solid Waste Awareness (EPA/530-SW-
     90-005). A booklet of lessons and activities to teach  students in grades K-12
     about solid waste generation and management. It teaches a variety of skills,
     including science, vocabulary, mathematics, and creative writing.
   • School Recycling Programs: A Handbook for Educators (EPA/530-SW-90-023).
     A handy manual with step-by-step instructions on how to set up a school
     recycling program.
   « Adventures of the Garbage Gremlin: Recycle and Combat a Life of Grime (EPA/530-
     SW-90-024). A comic book introducing students in grades 4-7 to the benefits
     of recycling,

   * Ride the Wave of the Future: Recycle Today! (EPA/530-SW-90-010). A colorful
     poster designed to appeal to all grade levels that can be displayed in conjunc-
     tion with recycling activities or used to help foster recycling.
Recycling Works! (EPA/530-SW-89-014). A booklet describing 14 successful state
   and local recycling programs in the United States.
Reusable News (EPA/530-SW-90-018), A periodic newsletter covering a diverse
   array of topics related to municipal solid waste management, including source
   reduction and recycling.
Unit Pricing: Providing  an Incentive to Reduce Municipal Solid Waste (EPA/530-SW-91-
   005), A booklet describing unit pricing systems in which customers are
   charged for waste collection and disposal services based on the amount
   of trash they generate.

Used Oil Receding Publications. A series of three brochures and a manual on ways
   to recycle used oil:
 .  • How to Set Up a Local Used Oil Recycling Program (EPA/530-SW-89-039A).
     An easy-to-follow  manual for local decision-makers,  environmental groups,
     and community' organizations,
   • Reading Used Oil: What Can You Do? (EPA/53OSW-89-039B). A pamphlet
     describing how the general public can participate in used oil recycling.
   • Recycling Used Oil: 10 Steps to Change Your Oil (EPA/530-SW-89-039C).
     A pamphlet describing how citizens can change their car oil.

   • Recycling Used Oil: For Service Stations and Other Vehicle-Service Facilities
     (EPA/530-SW-89-039D). A pamphlet describing how service station
     owners can play a key role in facilitating used oil recycling.

             EPA  Regional  Offices
Region 1
U.S. EPA - Region 1
J.E.K. Federal Building
Boston, MA 02203
(617) 573-5720

Region 2
U.S. EPA - Region 2
26 Federal Pla/a
New York, NY 10278
(212) 264-3384

Region 3
U.S. EPA - Region 3
84 1 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA  19107
(215) 597-9800

Region 4
U.S. EPA - Region 4
345 Courtland Street, N.E.
Atlanta, GA 30365
(404) 347-2091
Region 5
U.S. EPA-Region 5
77Wesl Jackson Boulevard
Chicago', IE 60604
(312) 353-2()iH)

Region (>
U.S. EPA - Region 6
Eirst Interstaic Bank Tower
1445 Ross Avenue
Dallas, TX 75270-2733
(214) 655-66:>5

Region 7
U.S. EPA - Region 7
726 Minnesoia Avenue
Kansas City, KS 66101
(913) 551-7050
Region 8
U.S. EPA-Region 8
Denver Place
999 18th Street, Suite 500
Denver, CO 80202-2405
(303) 293-1662

Region 9
U.S. EPA - Region 9
75 Hawthorne Street
San Francisco, CA  94105
(415) 744-2074

Region 10
U.S. EPA-Region 10
1200 Sixth Avenue
Seattle, WA 98101
(206) 442-2782

Communications Services Branch (OS-305)
Office of Solid Waste
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
401 M Street, SW.
Washington, DC 20460

Official Business, Penalty for Private Use $300
Postage and Fees Paid