Source Reduction

What is Source Reduction? 
Source reduction, also known as waste prevention, is the effort to decrease or eliminated the amount of waste that is being produced. 

The simplest way to reduce waste is not create waste or purchase over-packaged waste.

Why is Source Reduction Important?
If you use less then there is less to dispose of, therefore saving money, energy, and resources. Source reduction helps to protect the environment by conserving natural resources and landfill space.

A green globe with the recycle symbol on it.
Waste Prevention Tips
  • Buy only what you need.
  • Donate unwanted food, clothing, equipment, furniture, and appliances. Refer to the Harford County Reuse and Recycle Directory (PDF) for local organizations accepting donations
  • Purchase high quality, energy saving products and equipment.
  • Repair items instead of purchasing new ones.
  • Use rechargeable batteries. Recycle rechargeable batteries when necessary.
  • Use fluorescent lights rather than incandescent lights.
  • Have printer cartridges recharged instead of buying new ones. Recycle printer cartridges.
  • Request your home and office be removed from unwanted junk mail including catalogs. See the Precycling brochure (PDF) on how to remove your name or office for these mailing lists. Smart phone users can download the free PaperKarma app and use their camera to unsubscribe to unwanted mail.
  • Educate family members and employees about source reduction.
  • Precycle. Avoid over packaged products Download the Precycle brochure (PDF) for more information.
  • Purchase or make your own environmentally friendly non-toxic cleaning products. Use cleaning products from concentrate.
  • Use washable cloth towels instead of paper towels.
  • Use re-usable shopping bags. Recycle plastic bags.
  • Pack a zero-waste lunch by utilizing reusable containers instead of disposable.
  • Use both sides of a piece of paper.