Source Reduction

What is Source Reduction?

Source reduction is the elimination of waste before it is created.   It involves the design, manufacture, purchase or use of materials and products to reduce the amount or toxicity of what is thrown away.

What are the benefits of Source Reduction?

-Reduced energy consumption

-Reduced pollution

-Conservation of natural resources

-Extension of landfill space

- Cost savings on products

-Reduced costs associated with transportation, disposal and recycling of waste

Ways to reduce waste in the household

-Donate unwanted items (e.g., clothing, equipment, furniture, appliances)

-Replace incandescent light bulbs with energy-efficient, long-lasting compact fluorescent light bulbs or LED light bulbs

-Use rechargeable batteries whenever possible

-Repair older items rather than purchasing new ones

-Reupholster furniture instead of purchasing new pieces

-Use cloth towels, napkins and rags instead of disposable paper products

-Avoid using disposable cups, plates and cutlery

-Save bows, tissue paper, polystyrene peanuts, gift boxes, and newspaper to wrap gifts in the future

-Donate back-issues of magazines to schools for use in school projects or to a doctor's office for patients to read

-Rent instead of buying infrequently-used tools or equipment

-Use the backs of old envelopes for store lists or phone messages

-Use reusable containers for the food in your packed lunch

-Use cloth or mesh bags to hold your purchases when shopping

-Purchase items in concentrated form, bulk, or economy sizes that use the least amount of packaging


Composting

What is composting?

Composting is nature's process of recycling decomposed organic materials into a rich soil known as compost

What should you compost?

-Yard waste such as weeds, grass clippings, tree trimmings

-Organic food waste (fruit and vegetable scraps, eggshells, coffee grounds, etc.)

-Miscellaneous organic materials (newspaper, unbleached coffee filters, paper napkins, etc.)

What are the benefits of composting?

- Diverts waste from the landfill, waterways and water treatment facilities

-Significantly reduced pest problems and use of pesticides

-Adding organic materials to the soil improves moisture retention

-Adding decomposed organic material to the soil feeds beneficial organisms

-Compost provides a balanced, slow–release source of nutrients that helps the soil hold nutrients long enough for plants to use them

-Composting saves money; you avoid the cost of buying soil conditioners, bagged manure, etc.

-Feeding your plants well will improve your own diet; plants grown in depleted soils have a reduced nutrient content

How to Compost?

There are lots of places to look for advice on getting started, or upping your composting game. You can start your search at these websites.

https://www.epa.gov/recycle/composting-home#home

https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/soils/compost

http://www.howtocompost.org/

http://www.compostinstructions.com/in-a-hurry-heres-the-ultimate-one-page-guide-to-composting/


Grasscycling

What is grasscycling?

Grasscycling is leaving your cut grass clippings on your lawn to use as fertilizer

What are the benefits of grasscycling?

Grasscycling protects the waterways by slowing runoff from rain and melting snow; it also makes your grass grow thicker and healthier

How do you grasscycle?

-When mowing, let grass clippings fall and stay on the lawn; grass clippings decompose rapidly and nourish the lawn, making it greener and healthier

-Mow your grass when it is between three and four inches tall. Grass grows thicker and healthier when it is kept at three inches tall

-Mow at least once a week during peak growing season

-Mow your lawn when the grass is dry; wet grass produces clumps that can smother the grass and clog your lawn mower

-Mulching mowers are specifically designed to finely chop leaves and grass clippings, but any mower will do the job