Waste > Reduce and Reuse

The best way to cut down your waste stream is to reduce the amount of materials you need to discard.  Cutting down on unnecessary packaging and paper use, reducing the amount of disposable products your facility uses, and reusing materials can all reduce your waste generation.

For example, by reusing signs and banners, your organization can avoid unnecessary printing costs and the environmental impacts of printing. Consider designing banners so that they can be easily reused, by avoiding listing dates or years, or ensure that the portions listing dates can be readily and cheaply altered. Also consider producing signs from more durable materials, and ensure that these materials are ultimately recyclable. While they may cost more initially, they can save money in the long run.  Try to avoid purchasing banners made from PVC (vinyl), which is associated with toxic emissions in production, use, and disposal.

Many single-use products used at your facility might also be switched to reusable products.   For example, consider switching to reusable pallets and packaging, washable cleaning cloths/mops and dilution centers, dispensers for condiments instead of individual packages, and reusable water bottles and serviceware for arena staff and organization offices, to name a few examples.  Reusable products not only reduce waste, but can also save money.

Reducing paper use in organization offices and events can also considerably cut down on waste and purchasing costs.  See the Paper Use Reductionsection for more information.

Also consider reusable items when making purchases for concessions and merchandise.  See the Apparel & Souvenirs and Reusable Bags and Cups sections for more information.

Reusing materials saves money

The Portland Trail Blazers cleaning staff shifted from disposable paper products to reusable cleaning cloths, cutting a half-ton of cleaning waste out of the waste stream, and saving approximately $10,000 a year in reduced paper purchases.

Ghirardelli Chocolate, with the assistance of StopWaste, switched from shipping products in disposable cardboard boxes to reusable totes.  This switch eliminates 350 tons of waste associated with internal shipping annually, resulting in $520,000 in savings every year.

Calculate environmental benefits of paper use reduction
Calculate the environmental benefits of recycling

Environmental Benefits

Source reduction of waste is the most effective way to reduce your waste stream. By choosing products made with fewer materials or products that are reusable, your organization can help protect habitat, and save energy, water, and resources such as forests, fossil fuels, and metals. By reducing one-time-use products made from paper, cardboard, metals, and plastics, you can help reduce the harmful impacts associated with the extraction and processing of these resources, including oil spills, deforestation, biodiversity loss, and water pollution.

Additional Resources

WasteWise – How to Start or Expand a Recycling Program
Minnesota Guide to Source Reduction