Preventing waste is one of the best ways to fight climate change and other environmental issues. Choosing to purchase durable items with minimal and/or recyclable packaging, items made from recycled or renewable materials, or a better yet CHOOSING NOT TO BUY reduces greenhouse gas emissions and reduces the amount of waste sent to landfills.
Landfills have a finite capacity. We can extend the life of these landfills by reducing the amount of waste we produce to ensure that future generations can meet their waste needs. Broome County owns and operates a landfill that accepts waste generated within the county.
Using an object until it breaks not only keeps it out of the landfill, but also maximizes the fossil fuels burned and the natural resources used to make it. Choosing NOT to purchase an item saves all of that energy from being spent in the first place.
Reducing waste can require some forward thinking and planning but is not difficult. Follow these steps below for future purchases to help reduce the waste you generate.
1. Do I NEED this item, or do I WANT this item?
2. Can I get this second hand?
3. Where can I purchase this item with the least amount of packaging?
4. Is it the most durable option?
5. Can it be repaired?
6. Can it be reused?
7. Can it be recycled or composted?
Keep in mind that while it is great to recycle, energy is still used to turn recyclable materials into new products. You can limit that extra energy being spent by reducing and reusing.
When you recycle or throw something away, you are also throwing away the energy used to make it (called embedded energy). All of that energy is lost forever if it is sent to the landfill as plastics do not biodegrade. Much of the embedded energy can be recaptured through recycling where it is converted back into workable materials to create new objects. However, recycling requires energy and fossil fuels to sort, bail, and transform old products into new.
Last updated October 16, 2020