Reusable products are used more than once and compete with disposable, or single-use, products. The waste reduction effect of a reusable product depends on the number of times it is used and thus the number of single-use products that are displaced.
Used household appliances, clothing, and similar durable goods can be reused. They can be donated as used products to charitable organizations. Such goods can also be resold through yard and garage sales, classified ads, and flea markets.
The following lists common source reduction activities in the private sectors (New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and Energy 1992):
Office paper. Employees are encouraged to make two-sided copies, route memos and documents rather than making multiple copies, make use of the electronic bul letin board for general announcements rather than distributing memos, and limit distribution lists to essential employees.
Routing envelopes. After large routing envelopes are completely filled, employees can reuse them by simply pasting a blank routing form on the envelope face. Even large envelopes received in the mail can be converted to routing envelopes in this manner.
Paper towels. C-fold towels are replaced with roll towels.
Printers. Recharged laser printer toner cartridges are used.
Tableware. Nondisposable tableware (environmental mug program, china for conferences) is used.
Polystyrene containers. Reusable, glass containers are used, and all Styrofoam coffee cups in all office areas, shops, and the employee cafeteria are eliminated. Styrofoam peanuts are reused in offices or donated to local businesses.
Beverages and detergents. Some items are available in re-fillable containers. For example, some bottles and jugs for beverages and detergents are made to be refilled and reused by either the consumer or the manufacturer.
Cleaning rags. Reusable rags are used instead of throw-away rags.
Ringed note binder reuse. Employees take binders to one of several collection points at the facility where they are refurbished for reuse.
Laboratory chemicals. "Just-in-time" chemicals are delivered to labs to preclude stockpiling chemicals which eventually go bad. This method reduces hazardous waste disposal costs through source reduction.
Photocopy machines. New photocopying machines with energy-saving controls are used.
Batteries. Use of rechargeable batteries reduces garbage and keeps the toxic metals in batteries out of the waste stream. Using batteries with reduced toxic metals is another alternative.
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