Implications for Waste Reduction

Waste reduction refers to reducing the quantity of material entering the solid waste management system. Waste reduction is distinguished from recycling, which reduces the quantity of waste requiring disposal but does not reduce the quantity of material to be managed.

Based on the composition of MSW (see Section 10.3), each of the following measures would have a significant impact on the quantity of MSW entering the solid waste management system:

• Leaving grass clippings on the lawn

• Increasing backyard composting and mulching of leaves and other yard wastes

• Selling products in bulk rather than in packages, with the consumer providing the containers

• Buying no more food than is eaten

• Substituting reusable glass containers for paper, plastic, and single-use glass containers

• Reusing shopping bags

• Placing refuse directly in refuse containers instead of using trash bags

• Using sponges and cloth hand towels in place of paper towels

• Continuing to use clothing and other products until they are worn out, rather than discarding them when they no longer look new

• Prohibiting distribution of unsolicited printed advertising

Leaving grass clippings on the lawn is becoming increasingly common because of disposal bans in some states and the development of mulching lawn mowers that cut the clippings into smaller pieces. Implementation of the other waste reduction measures on the list is unlikely in the United States because they do not conform to the pre vailing standards of convenience, comfort, appearance, sanitation, and free enterprise.

TABLE 10.5.1 COMBUSTIBLE, COMPOSTABLE, AND RECYCLABLE COMPONENTS OF MSWa

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