Reuse Waste

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As a nation, we are starting to realize that we can’t solve the solid waste dilemma just by finding new places to put trash. Across the country, many individuals, communities, and businesses have found creative ways to better manage their trash through reuse and other waste management practices, such as composting, recycling and waste reduction.

Use it again.

World War II posterSimply put, reuse is the continuing use of an item for its original purpose or for a new use.

Reuse means to use a durable product instead of a disposable item. Reuse also means to adapt a waste item for a new use. Reuse can help reduce waste disposal and handling costs because it avoids the costs of recycling, municipal composting, or landfilling. It also conserves resources and reduces pollution. It is a preferred waste management option since it actually prevents the generation of waste in the first place. In addition, the practice doesn’t result in simply moving waste from one place to another.

Choosing to reuse is likely to require some change in our daily routines. Changing habits does not mean a return to a more difficult life-style. In fact, just the opposite may happen like taking out the garbage less often. Reuse can be as simple as reaching for a sponge or rag instead of a paper towel.

If we don’t reuse 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 decisions about managing their waste.

Everyone has a role

We all need to evaluate our daily waste-producing activities to determine which ones are essential (such as buying medicines and food wrapped in packaging for our safety and health), and which are not (such as purchasing overpackaged single serving items). Use this list to get you started reusing.