The Clallam County Waste Prevention program works with schools, local governments, organizations, businesses and the public. We provide education, and coordination of waste prevention efforts promoting reduce, reuse, recycle principles. Contact us for presentations, workshops, technical assistance or ideas on how you can increase your waste prevention efforts.
The most effect way to reduce waste is preventing it in the first place. This can often involve us rethinking our relationship with the waste we generate. Taking a broader look at the lifecycle of a product, not just shopping bag to trash bag, helps us target places we can reduce and refuse waste.
Buying products that are produced locally cuts down on transportation emissions and environmental impacts. Rethink your relationship with plastic by conducting a waste audit that can help you identify what your waste consists of (likely packaging) and how you can take steps to mitigated it (e.g. reusable bags, buying in bulk, purchasing items in paperboard or refusing).
Ride a bike or walk instead of driving. Invest in a reusable mug for your coffee fix instead of a non-recyclable, single-use cup and lid. Turn the water off while brushing your teeth. Rethinking our habits reveals ways big and small to reduce waste, save money and support a healthy environment.
There are many benefits to reusing items like saving money, sending less to the landfill or reducing resource waste. Investing in reusable items saves you over the life of a product versus repeated single-use purchases and disposal costs. Furniture, textiles and household goods that are trash to some are treasure to others and reuse stores not only give items another life, but often support community enrichment programs.
The internet has become an excellent way to find, donate or buy items in your community that would otherwise gone to the landfill. Social media, local businesses and organizations have made reuse easier than ever with sites like 2good2toss.
Reducing and reusing principles go hand-in-hand with rethinking. There are many ways to introduce waste reduction and prevention measures into your lifestyle. Since we all have different habits and patterns in consumption, we all have to choose which steps are best for us on our own paths to wasting less.
What can you do?
- Buy used and donate unwanted items to secondhand stores.
- Maintain and repair products, like clothing, tires and appliances, so that they won’t have to be thrown out and replaced as frequently.
- Borrow, rent or share items that are used infrequently, like party supplies and decorations, tools or furniture.
- Invest in product longevity and quality over single-use and disposable.
- Repurpose worn items into new products
- Be an informed consumer; buy products with less packaging or packaging that can be recycled locally
- Check out a Zero Waste Kit from the Extension Office that includes reusabe items for up to 15 people
- Educate your family, friends and coworkers by hanging informational signage on Composting, Reuse, Recycling, and what to Trash near the appropriate bin
Clallam County Reduce & Reuse Second Hand Store Fact Sheet
Reusing products is preferred over recycling and can save consumers money, prevents pollution caused by manufacturing & hauling, and allows products to be used to their fullest extent.
According to the EPA recycling is “the separation and collection of materials that otherwise would be considered waste, the processing and re-manufacturing of these items into new products, and the use of the recycled products to complete the cycle.”
Recycling turns used items like plastics, paper, cardboard, metal cans and glass into new products as long as items get #recycledright. Manufactures need a clean feedstock to turn what would otherwise be trashed into something new. Recycling right means knowing what items can be recycled, how to prepare items for recycling and where items can be recycled.
Just because an item has the ‘chasing arrow symbol’ does not mean it can be recycled in our community. To keep recycling sustainable and valuable within Clallam County, only place items that are accepted by our local collection programs in home or transfer station bins.
Items that are accepted include:
Plastic: bottles, jugs and (dairy) tubs (no lids)
Mixed Paper: loose paper, mail (windows okay), paperboard food boxes, newspaper, magazines, catalogs and phone books
Cardboard: corrugated (wavy liner) boxes folded flat, free of food waste and tape
Aluminum and Tin Cans: beverage and food cans, labels can stay on, lids attached or pinched inside
Knowing how to recycle is as important as what to recycle.
Empty all liquid or food scraps
Clean items by giving them a quick rinse (soak hard to clean foods like nut butters)
Dry items on your dish rack to air dry
Clallam County Recycle Right Fact Sheet
Visit Clallam County’s Recycling and Waste Prevention Page for more details on how to Recycle Right.