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Did you know? The average American produces 1,609 pounds of trash per year.

Unfortunately, most of this is sent to landfills, incinerated, or otherwise improperly disposed of. This causes damage to the environment in which we live. Out of sight, out of mind does not apply to our waste. After something is thrown into the garbage, it can still have profound effects on you and your community!

But don’t worry, you can do your part to reduce humanity’s environmental footprint simply by following these tips. So, listen up, ladies and gentlemen, here are 10 ways to reduce your waste and help Penn Waste protect the environment for years to come!


Tip #1: Recycle! But know what to recycle!

We all know recycling is important and helps the environment; however it is equally important to know what can and cannot be recycled. The knowledge of acceptable and non-acceptable items not only helps gain the full benefits of recycling, but also helps save natural resources, energy, and our economy’s money! For information on recycling, including a list of acceptable and unacceptable recyclables, please visit our other blogs.

Tip #2: Reuse!

Instead of buying a new notebook for school, a new bottle of water, or a new box to ship your latest eBay sale in, think about reusing old items instead. By using both sides of the notebook paper (and printer paper too!), refilling a plastic reusable bottle, or shipping the eBay item in a previously used container, we can help significantly reduce the amount of waste that we produce each year.

Did you know? Americans use approximately 2.5 million plastic bottles every hour, and more than 10,000 pieces of paper each year, most of which end up in the trash. Just think about the difference we could make by reusing the bottles and printing on both sides of the paper!

Tip #3: Avoid plastic bags!

If you’ve ever been to the grocery store, you’ve most likely at some point come home with a plastic bag. Unfortunately, these bags are not recyclable, and those that are thrown away either go to the incinerator or are taken to landfills where they take years to decompose. By opting to use paper bags, or better yet, reusable bags for our groceries, we can help to reduce the incredible amount of plastic bags that end up going to the incinerator each day.

Tip #4: Recycle or refill your ink cartridges!

How many ink cartridges do you and your family use every year? After the ink cartridges run out, most people just throw them in the garbage. Did you know that a lot of office supply stores will pay you for your empty ink cartridges, refill them, and then sell them again. Not only does this help reduce waste, but it also helps the customer (you!), get money back for your recyclables!

Tip #5: Create a compost pile in your backyard!

By building a compost pile made out of waste and natural materials, you can create something completely organic and useful! Through a combination of grass, leaves, branches, food scraps, and organic waste, an efficient compost pile can be easily created. The soil made from this compost can then be used in your home gardens. For more information on composting and to see steps on how to build your own at-home compost, see Penn Waste’s May blog post at

Tip #6: Reduce your use of paper towels!

More than 5,000 products can be made from recycled paper, including coffee filters, egg cartons, and paper towels. Since paper towels cannot be recycled, they end up being put into the garbage. By using rags or sponges to clean up messes instead of paper towels, we will help to greatly cut down on waste production. Get creative; even an old t-shirt could be used as a rag!

Did you know? In 2004, Pennsylvania alone recycled 1.14 million tons of paper products, the benefits of which are equivalent to saving almost 82 million trees!

Tip #7: Carpool!

Carpooling benefits the environment by cutting down on air pollution and it also helps you save money! Everyone is looking to save on gas now-a-days and a great way to do so is to catch a ride to school with a friend, or to pick up a coworker on the way to work.

Tip #8: Use rechargeable batteries!

Some rechargeable batteries can be used up to 1,000 times. Although the base price of rechargeable batteries is more expensive than regular batteries, buying rechargeable batteries does save you money in the long run. This also means preventing hundreds of batteries from being thrown away, ultimately reducing the pollution that they produce when incinerated.

Tip #9: Give away old clothes!

Organizations like the Salvation Army and many other local organizations are always looking for donations of gently used clothes. Instead of throwing your outgrown clothes into the garbage, donate them! You’ll be helping people in need as well as the environment by reducing waste.

Did you know? Clothing and household textiles including cotton, polyester, or nylon, make up about 5% of the total garbage in landfills.

Tip #10: Buy a Hybrid car! Shopping for a new vehicle? Go green and help the environment by purchasing a hybrid. Hybrid cars produce up to 90% less pollution than regular cars! And don’t forget — they also get great gas mileage!

Reducing our own personal waste is the best way to start helping the environment! By incorporating just a few of these tips into our daily lives we can make our planet more energy efficient and get the most out of our waste. If you have any other tips to save energy or reduce waste, please feel free to leave a suggestion in the comment section.

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