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To reduce is the practice of taking steps to minimize the amount of waste produced. Along with recycling and reuse, reducing waste production is one of the three main methods to achieve the Davis goal of zero waste.

Minimizing waste production is the most efficient way to achieve zero waste. Significant resources go into recycling and not all waste material is salvaged. Though reuse and reducing waste are often linked, reuse sometimes requires creative solutions and effort.  While recycling and reuse focus on dealing with the waste after it is created, reducing waste creation stops the problem at the source.

Tips for Reducing Waste

The following items are some of the most common waste items and tips for reducing their production.

  • Cell Phones – Rather than buying a new phone, a new battery will solve many phone issues. Otherwise, buying an older generation technology means tech companies will produce less of each generation’s model. Older generations are heavily discounted and many new phones go to waste, even though the improvements in technology between generations are very minor. You can also get a refurbished phone which is used but restored to like new conditions.
  • Coffee Pods – Get a reusable coffee pod if you use a Keurig. Coffee pods are one of the biggest sources of non-recyclable plastic that goes into landfills.
  • Food Waste – Decomposing organic matter is one of the major sources of greenhouse gases causing global warming. The act of food production also has a big environmental impact, so avoid buying more food than you can eat. By composting instead of throwing out any excess food, you will cut down on the CO2 gases that go into atmosphere.
  • Non-disposable Goods – Buying used reduces the amount of resources used to produce new goods. Many of the thrift stores in Davis are non-profits and support a good cause. Also, proper maintenance and repairing things you own means you will have to replace them less often.
  • Packaging Material – Try to avoid items that use excess packaging or non-recyclable materials.  For example, food products that come in individually wrapped servings create more waste than buying the same amount of food in one package.
  • Shopping Bags – Use a re-usable shopping bag. It is a good idea to keep one in your car or bag in case you end up on an unexpected shopping trip
  • Water Bottles – Buy a reusable water bottle. You can even get one with a water filter built in.