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Why It Matters

The average American generates 4.4 pounds of trash per day – totaling over 250 million TONS of trash per year in the U.S. Use recycled products to save resources. American Forest & Paper Association companies’ use of recovered fibers in their paper results in over 18.5 million metric tons of avoided CO2 equivalents each year.

Top 5 Tips for Reducing Waste

  1. Reduce use. The best way to waste less is to use less in the first place; think before you buy: Do I really need this? Will I use it? Do I really need that much of this? If not, consider skipping it, or buying a little less.

  2. Reuse & Upcycle. Before you throw something away, think about whether you can give it a new purpose! Get creative – you may save yourself money by making items you need rather than buying them. Check out Real Simple’s New Uses for Old Things for ideas.

  3. Donate. Donate used items to charity, rather than throwing them away. More than 11 million tons of textiles (clothing and other fabrics) are trashed each year (about 65 pounds per person). If every American recycled just 1 more t-shirt, we could recover 210 billion gallons of water and keep 1 million pounds of CO2 out of the atmosphere.

  4. Compost. The average American generates over 100 pounds of food waste per year, totaling around 14 million tons of food waste each year in the U.S.!

  5. Go paperless (e.g. with your bills, with your reading, at work, planning, etc.). About 20 millions tons of paper is sent to landfill every year in the U.S. (but we are improving – 10 years ago, nearly 40 million tons of paper was sent to landfill!).

Digging Deeper

Looking for gift ideas? Check out a list of 200+ upcycling ideas.

Learn how to compost in your apartment.

Find out where recycled paper goes.

Learn how to recycle your clothes.