Almost everything creates waste. Traditionally, most garbage is buried in landfills. But landfills are filling up and closing down all over the country. When deciding how to handle solid waste, consider the alternatives in this order: source reduction (includes reuse), recycling, incineration then land filling. This hierarchy has remained unchanged and is still regarded as the best way to handle solid waste. Sometimes buying for source reduction means that several different parts of an organization must agree on policies that result in fewer or different products being purchased.
Reduce, Reuse and Recycle!
Did You Know?
The decomposition rate for trash is:
- Paper - 2.5 months
- Orange Peel - 6 months
- Milk Carton - 5 years
- Cigarette Butt - 10-12 years
- Plastic bag - 10-20 years
- Disposable diaper - 75 years
- Tin can - 100 years
- Beer or Soda can - 200-500 years
- Styrofoam - never (immortal)
There are choices that we can make when shopping — it's called 'precycling'. If we think before we buy we can reduce the amount of overall waste produced in the first place. Reusing starts at the point of purchase by choosing products that can be maintained and repaired to ensure a longer life. Recycling, as the word indicates, is a cyclical process.
In order for recycling to be successful, there must be a demand for use of recycled materials. Colleges and universities are educating future leaders and have a unique opportunity to demand products made with reduced and recyclable packaging, made with recycled content and made to last, while being repairable for the long haul. Using resources efficiently and effectively, collecting materials for recycling and purchasing non-toxic recycled content products will enhance the reputation of the school, while reducing costs and contributing to a better world.
Help make our campus and community a cleaner, more earth-friendly place by taking some easy steps to prevent making unececessary waste. Learn about what we're doing on campus and what you can do in your own home. We'll show you where you to recycle, and answer your compost questions!