Making waste reduction practices a part of your lifestyle is one of the most beneficial things you can do to protect our environment and save resources, time and money. Practicing waste reduction refers to reducing both the amount and toxicity of waste. By reducing the amount of waste we make each day, we conserve on all the resources, energy and money extended to manage our waste. If each person in Westchester reduced their waste by a half pound a day, Westchester could save over $3 million annually. This savings represents tipping fees alone; it does not include other costs such as facility overhead, salaries and fuel. Here are ways we can all start to reduce waste at home.
Yard and food waste make up to fourteen percent of Westchester’s solid waste stream. You can reduce waste at home by mulching in place or grasscycling lawn clippings. This involves shredding leaves and grass and leaving them on your lawn which can help promote a healthy lawn and save you time and effort for disposal. Composting fallen leaves, branches, other woody material and food scraps is also a good way to reduce organic waste. When you compost you return nutrients to your soil in a usable form for the healthy growth of lawns. GreenScaping your yard and garden can save you time and money too.
Residents can also reduce waste by donating items for reuse. Consider donating unwanted items to charities. Web sites run by WestchesterNYFreecycle and WestchesterFreeshare provide a venue for residents to give away usable items to people who can make use of them.
Repair old products and buy products which are reusable and durable. For example, use wash cloths instead of paper towels, reusable containers and utensils instead of disposable ones. The initial cost of reusable items may be higher, but by not repeatedly buying disposable items it will make for the cost in the long run.
Household paper consumption can be reduced by using both sides of the paper to print and by taking advantage of electronic media for the news instead of newspapers and magazines. You can reduce the amount of unsolicited mail you receive by visiting catalogchoice.org.