Reduce, Reuse, Recycle & Disposal
There are many ways to manage waste in our communities but the most preferred one is waste reduction through reduce, reuse, and recycle (3Rs). Applying the 3Rs yield many environmental benefits including reduction/prevention of greenhouse gas, pollution reduction, conservation of resources, energy saving, reduction in the demand for waste treatment and landfill space. This page of the website will provide information on the 3Rs and useful links to more educational materials.
Solid waste reduction simply means reducing the amount of waste generated each day so as to lessen the amount of garbage that goes into landfills. Below are tips for reducing waste in our homes, offices, schools, business places and more.
- Plan your meal before you go shop. Consider what you want to cook for the week then check your cupboard and refrigerator, make sure you buy just what you need for that day and stick to your list.
- Take a shopping bag along to prevent coming home with lots of plastic bags.
- If buying goods online make sure you buy in bulk.
- Buy items packaged in recycled cartoons or made from recycle products.
- Teach others about recycling and its benefits.
- Sell or give away items you think is not useful to you again. Remember, one person’s trash might be a treasure for the other person.
- Give gift that encourages others to use less stuff. For instance give books that describe how to make crafts from reusable items or cookbook for leftovers.
- Be a good example, give gifts that you made from reused items or homemade food.
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- Pollution Prevention
- Global Aluminum Production
- Toxic use reduction institute
- Sustainable farm features composting toilet, mobile chicken coop
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- Cleaning products get green seal of approval in Oklahoma City
- Coca-cola introduces plant-based plastic bottle
- Natural living becomes second nature in the home
Reusing waste simply means finding a second (third or hundredth) use for a product to prolong its life. Such product may include clothing, household items, papers, cardboard, jars, water bottles, packaging and more.
Tips for Material Reuse
- Sell or donate items to charity, such as clothing, toys, books, household items, furniture, working electronics and appliances.
- Repair items instead of replacing them, such as appliances, furniture, shoes, toys, and electronics.
- Use durable rather than disposable items: cloth or durable plastic reusable shopping bags; china, ceramic or glass cups and plates; metal serving ware and cutlery; cloth napkins; plastic, metal or cloth lunch bags; rechargeable batteries; razors.
- Take along washables cups or travel mug, plates, spoons and water bottles instead of disposables.
- Rent tools and appliances rather than buying them if they are something you will only use occasionally.
- When you do need to purchase something, check yard sales and charitable outlets first to see if they have what you need before selecting something new.
Material Reuse Tips For Holidays
- Rethink your tree: consider decorating a large houseplant instead of a tree; look for an artificial tree made in the U.S. to reduce the costs associated with shipping overseas; buy a potted live tree instead of a cut tree and try using it for a number of years before planting it permanently outside
- Decorate: make natural ornaments by using seed pods, leaves, twigs, pine cones, etc.; buy odd ornaments at thrift stores and personalize them; reuse old dollhouse furniture for tree ornaments; make a village from cereal and other chipboard boxes turned inside out and decorated to look like houses; use a few branches from your Christmas tree to decorate around the house
- Gifts: Consider the durability of a product - cheaper, less durable items often wear out quickly and create waste; give away homemade food in reusable containers; shop at antique stores, estate sales or flea markets; for kids, make a dress-up box with old clothes and jewelry or make an idea box with tools and gadgets
- Wrapping: remove wrapping paper carefully and use it again; use oatmeal or cereal boxes turned inside out and re-taped to hold gifts; wrap using old maps, newspapers, old calendar photos, wallpaper scraps, Sunday comics or reusable gift bags; make the wrap a part of the gift with reusable containers like baskets, Tupperware, dish towels, colorful bandanas, scarves; make gift tags from old holiday cards
- Cards: make your own holiday cards or family letter by gluing the fronts of old cards onto a recycled paper backing and writing your own message; tear off the front of old cards and send as postcards
- Preparing for the party: use durable vs. disposable serving ware or rent dishes and glassware; get out the
family linens; consider renting formal attire or buying from consignment shops
After the party: donate untouched food to food banks; send leftovers home with guests, freeze it for later, or compost it; Donate unwanted gifts to charity or “re-gift” them
Note: Reuse is preferable to recycling because the item does not need to be in a collection program, transferred to a manufacturer and reprocessed into a new product. Instead, by reusing an item, the “embodied” energy is unchanged, which saves natural resources and energy and reduces waste. Furthermore, you can save money and reduce waste by keeping durable items longer and cleaning/repairing them when needed, rather than buying new products.
- Reuse Development Organization
- Habitat restore directories
- Computer with Causes
- Freecycle Networks
- Throw Place
- Book Mooch
- U-Haul Box Exchange
Recycling solid waste means to remove unwanted or discarded items from the waste stream to be utilize as raw materials in the manufacture of new products.
- When thinking of what items to gather for recycling consider also factor in the other two Rs (reduce and reuse). Implementing the two Rs can prevent the need for more disposables.
- Make sure you have an idea of what you can and can not recycle.
- Separate waste, put recyclables in one container and non-recyclables in different trash bin.
- Buy product with recycled content.
- Recycle your water.
- Be a waste stream analyst, be mindful of materials entering your home, school, office and business locations.
- Be an activist, talk to people about recycling and its benefits.
- Nico's quest to recycle: A kid's guide to recycling
- Comprehensive Guide to Recycling
- Recycling 101 (How and why you should recycle)
- Recycling Codes
- Advancing Sustainable Material Management
- Glass Recycling 101
- Mattress Disposal Guide
- Yard Waste Removal: Recycling, Donating and Reusing
- Recycling Locator
- DEQ Recycling Program
- Recycling Appliances Guide
- MRF Tour
- Doing the Heart Work
- Recycling City
- Natural Evolution
- Sierra Metals
- USA City
- Back Thru the Future
- Grassroot Recycling Networks
- Waste Reduction & Resource Awareness
- College and Recycling Coalition
- Recycle Mania
- Recycling and Environmental Action Planning
- Kids Guide to Reducing, Reusing & Recycling of Waste
Waste disposal involves the transport of waste from its original to it final destination such as landfill.
Landfills Limitation in Oklahoma
House Bill 2720 adds to state guidelines governing the sitting of municipal garbage dumps. The Governor signed the bill into law, effective immediately. The new statute prohibits the Department of Environmental Quality from issuing a permit to establish a new solid waste landfill at any location that is within a locally fractured or cavernous limestone bedrock, which is porous, and that is within five miles of any water well owned by a rural water district.
To reduce waste volume, local governments or private operators can implement a controlled burning process called combustion or incineration. In addition to reducing volume, combustors, when properly equipped, can convert water into steam to fuel heating systems or generate electricity. Incineration facilities can also remove materials for recycling.
Over one-fifth of the U.S. municipal solid waste incinerators use refuse derived fuel (RDF). In contrast to mass burning—where the municipal solid waste is introduced "as is" into the combustion chamber—RDF facilities are equipped to recover recyclables (e.g., metals, cans, glass) first, then shred the combustible fraction into fluff for incineration.
A variety of pollution control technologies significantly reduce the gases emitted into the air, including scrubbers, which use a liquid spray to neutralize acid gases and filters, which remove tiny ash particles.
Household Hazardous Waste
Leftover household products that contain corrosive, toxic, ignitable, or reactive ingredients are considered to be "household hazardous waste" or "HHW." Products, such as paints, cleaners, oils, batteries, and pesticides that contain potentially hazardous ingredients require special care when you dispose of them. Improper disposal of household hazardous wastes can include pouring them down the drain, on the ground, into storm sewers, or in some cases putting them out with the trash.
Litter and Illegal Dumping
Research and experience have shown that litter is the result of individual behavior - choosing to litter or being careless in the handling of waste. And once litter is on the ground, it attracts more litter. A clean community, by contrast, can discourage littering and improve community appearance and quality of life. Over 51 billion pieces of litter land on U.S. roadways each year.
The public health, environmental and economic effects of litter and illegal dumping include:
- Hazardous waste dangers to humans and animals (leaking batteries, spilled motor oil, sharps/needles, pharmaceuticals, etc.)
- Danger to wildlife through ingestion or entanglement (mostly plastics)
- Danger of clogging drains and causing flooding (plastic bags)
- Water pollution (e.g., one quart of motor oil contaminates 250,000 gallons of water, enough water to meet the needs of a family of four for one year)
- Appearance of litter on the ground or floating in water discourages tourism and economic development
- Costs Oklahoma tax payers $4 million per year to clean litter from state highways