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Product Waste Reduction

Durable goods and nondurable goods make up about 43% of the municipal waste stream. Durable goods include items like cars, appliances, and other long-lasting products. Nondurable goods include paper, textiles, and other short-lived products. One principal of waste reduction is to substitute more durable good for less durable ones. For example:

  • Use cloth towels instead of paper.
  • Use glasses instead of paper cups.
  • Use rechargeable batteries instead of non-rechargeables. (Be sure to recycle them when they are worn out.)

You can also make durable goods last longer by choosing high quality items and maintaining them. Consumer magazines can assist in the process of picking reliable brands that perform well. Whether you are shopping for a car or a blender, a bit of research can save money and reduce waste in the long run.

Instead of buying books and magazines, take some time to visit your community library. You'll be surprised to find a wide selection of literature, movies, music, and more. Peruse the latest periodicals, or check out the latest books, there is something of interest to everyone. Many libraries sell used books to raise funds. Check to see if your library will accept donations of your old books.

Finally, consider whether buying more stuff will really make you happier. Would more time or less debt be a better option? Would a hike in the woods be more satisfying than going shopping?

The Center for a New American Dream helps Americans consume responsibly to protect the environment, enhance quality of life, and promote social justice. http://www.newdream.org/