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Have you heard about the 3 Rs: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle? It’s a handy slogan to remind you to cut down on the waste that you generate. So, although you might be recycling your printer paper at work, you can do more!

Here are some suggestions to step up your game. Moreover, they are good for both the environment AND your wallet!


Very simply, reduce the amount of trash you generate. Buy only what you need, not what you want because, eventually, you’ll only have to throw away those “I want” things. Here are some other things you can do:

  • Don’t buy bottled water. Use a water filter or pitcher instead. Plastic bottles add up to a big pile in the landfill!
  • Drive fuel-efficient cars to reduce the amount of gasoline you use. And, you will be reducing carbon emissions to boot.
  • Buy in bulk to reduce the amount of packaging you throw away. Generally, individually wrapped items cost more because there is more packaging.
  • Cook meals at home – it’s often healthier for you and it cuts down on plastic take-home containers. It’s good for the environment and your waistline!
  • Print double-sided instead of single-sided. And, don’t forget to use old printouts for scrap paper.
  • Opt-in for electronic bank statements in lieu of paper copies.
  • Buy energy-efficient light bulbs for a longer lifespan and savings on your electricity bills.
  • Don’t buy food you won’t eat or cook! Plan your meals before you shop since this will keep you from buying excess food.


  • Take your mug or reusable bottle on the go instead of using disposable cups.
  • Shop at consignment shops for gently used items.
  • Donate unwanted items to Goodwill, or have a garage sale (bonus: extra cash in your pocket).
  • Take a reusable grocery bag to the store instead of using plastic bags. It can save you money too. For example, some places like Washington, DC, will charge you 5 cents for every plastic bag that you use.
  • Borrow books and movies from the library or your friends, instead of always buying new.
  • Buy rechargeable batteries.


  • Toss glass, aluminum, plastic, and paper items into recycling bins.
  • Compost food scraps and yard clippings. In some cities, you can participate in a curbside compost collection. In other cities, drop off food scraps at farmer’s markets, and even at subway stops!
  • Try to buy items made from recycled materials; for example, paper towels made from recycled paper.
  • Recycle batteries, electronic devices, or cell phones. Just be sure to delete all personal information off of your device beforehand.

Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. These are all positive ways to minimize waste. And remember, less trash going to the landfill means less money spent on transporting it, fewer carbon emissions generated, and less space taken up at the landfill. Win-win-win.


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