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Reduce, Reuse and Recycle

A balanced look at the 3 Rs can help reduce the waste we generate.
A balanced look at the three Rs can help reduce the waste we generate.

We're all familiar with the three Rs: reduce, reuse, recycle.

In reality, many of us tend to focus on the recycle part, which is important. But, reusing and reducing what we use will also help keep items out of the landfill.

"Waste reduction really plays an important role in our overall solid waste reduction program. The less waste we generate, the less we have to manage, so that can really have a positive effect on our community and environment by not creating waste to begin with," said Debra Smith of Broome County Division of Solid Waste.

Every year Americans throw away enough paper and plastic cups, forks and spoons to circle the equator 300 times, and the average American office worker uses about 500 disposable cups every year.

One person generates between three and five pounds of garbage everyday.

Needless to say, reducing waste is clearly important. There are things we can do that are simple, yet helpful and add up over time.

"There are a lot of things you can do on a daily basis. Going to a grocery store, instead of using disposable plastic bags or paper bags, you can opt for a reusable bag. There are a lot of varieties out there."

You can also use a coffee mug that you can wash out instead of throw out, and donate items that can be reused instead of tossing them in the trash. When you shop, buying in bulk can also save on packaging material, which often ends up in the landfill.

"Packaging is a huge waste. In our society today, so many of the everyday goods that we purchase have excessive packaging on them, so looking at that and being mindful of that is really important."

Making double-sided copies is also a way to create less waste.
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