Reduce, Reuse

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Environmental Shopping Tips


  • Buy in Bulk: Large, “family-size” containers require less packaging per pound than small, “single serving” packages. In addition to conserving resources, buying in bulk will generally save you money!
  • Look for items with little or no packaging: Many items come in a variety of packaging styles. Choose unpackaged items and concentrates whenever possible.
  • Buy durable products: You may spend a little more to purchase good quality products, but you won’t need to replace them as often.



  • Buying reusable products: Disposable products generate more waste than reusable products. Disposables often cost more in the long run! Look for reusable cameras, razors, lunch bags, cloth diapers, cloth napkins and towels, rechargable batteries and returnable beverage bottles.
  • Reuse Containers: Rinsed out glass and plastic containers make great storage containers for leftovers, hardware and more.
  • Reuse Bags: Whether cloth, plastic or paper, reuse grocery bags when you shop. Try keeping a stash in your car so you will always be prepared. Also, consider reusing produce bags.



  • Buy products or packages made from recycled materials: Many recycled paper products are currently on the market, including toilet tissue, paper towels and writing paper. Some products are packaged in containers made with recycled content. Read product labels! Purchasing recycled content products helps support the recycling industry by providing a demand for the materials we place in our recycling bins.
  • Buy recyclable packaging: Many products are offered in a variety of packaging styles. Packaging made from multiple materials are not recyclable. When possible, choose packaging made from a single time of material that is accepted for recycling.



  • Read product labels: Look for key words such as Poison! Danger! Warning! and Caution! Choose products with the lowest hazard (Caution is less hazardous than Poison) or with no hazard at all.
  • Buy safe alternatives: Salt, vinegar, lemon juice, baking soda, baking powder and wood soap are some of the more common ingredients in many recipes for non-toxic cleaning. Contact RCSWD to request a free booklet of non-toxic cleaning recipes.



  • Talk to store managers: Sometimes your choices are limited by what the store has to offer. Encourage the store managers to stock products that you want to buy.
  • Write a letter or call the manufacturer: Whether you’re pleased or upset, manufacturers want to know what consumers think about their products and packaging. Be specific and made suggestions for improvement.
  • Target public officials: Write to legislators about issues you’d like to see changed. Generators: U.S. Senate; Washington, D.C. 20510 House of Representatives: U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, D.C. 20500 Visit your public library for the names and addresses of state and local officials.


Stop Junk Mail

Disposal Options: Even though most junk mail is completely recyclable, a better option is to stop it before it’s produced. The two key steps are:

  1. Remove your name from existing mail lists.
  2. Prevent your name from getting on new lists.


These websites can help you get off of mailing lists: (credit card and insurance offers) (general direct marketing offers) (national opt-out list) (phone directories)

Trusted ID Mail Preference (formerly


Local Reuse Stores (Coming Soon)