What are the challenges of reducing solid waste?

By: Jennifer Sellers

Methods for Reducing Solid Waste

If you've been paying attention to -- well, anything -- for the past two decades, you've heard about recycling. It isn't a secret, and it's a great way to reduce solid waste because it gives new life to something that could be taking up space in a landfill for many years. And it couldn't be easier. Three easy ways to recycle are: buy recycled goods, reuse items whenever possible, and dispose of recyclable items in recycle bins.

When it comes to the reusing part of recycling, there are many non-wasteful options, such as using your own reusable shopping bags. But even if you carry home your groceries in a plastic sack, you can reuse it before surrendering it to the recycle bin. For example, you can use it as a trashcan liner, saving yourself a garbage bag. Or, if you have scrap paper lying around your office, you can reuse it by printing on the blank sides.


Another form of recycling is composting. A large percentage of trash we accumulate, such as food scraps and lawn clippings, is organic and biodegrades quickly. When these types of trash are composted, they can be reused as fertilizer.

And, of course, there's the trusty recycle bin handy when you're not able to reuse or compost your trash. Before you know it, that can that contained your afternoon caffeine pick-me-up will be made into a new soda can instead of whiling away the next several centuries in a landfill. (Yes, you read that right ... "centuries.")

Recycling goes a long way in reducing solid waste, but it's not the only way. Keep reading to learn about other methods.