Precycling is equally if not more important than recycling when addressing waste disposal issues. It is waste prevention. Precycling encompasses the other R's—reduce, reuse, and rethink.
- Reduce the amount of "stuff," especially disposable items, that you buy.
- Reuse items you already have, and buy products that are reusable.
- Rethink your daily consumption habits. Are you leaving behind a trail of trash and junk?
By precycling, you:
- reduce costs for waste collection, transportation, and disposal.
- enjoy lower product costs.
- save natural resources.
- extend the life of our landfills.
At the Store
Pay attention to packaging
- Look for products with minimal or no packaging.
- Avoid packaging that bonds two or more materials together; neither material is recyclable in this form.
- Choose packaging that is recyclable locally. Refer to the recycling center guidelines or check with your curbside service provider.
- Look for packaging made from recycled materials. This information will be listed as a % post-consumer content. Check out the Buy Recycled page.
Buy in bulk
- Larger or bulk quantities usually have less packaging per unit of the product.
- If your grocery does not have a bulk buying section for cereals, grains, pasta and other dry goods, suggest that one is introduced.
- Avoid samples and single serving sizes; these are often more expensive anyway.
Choose reusable or refillable products, or products with a long life span.
Buy local products, especially produce, whenever possible. Less packaging and transportation is required.
Refuse unnecessary bags and double bagging
- Keep your own reusable bags in the trunk of your car for unplanned purchases.
- Politely communicate with the clerk to not over-bag your items.
- Many items come with their own handle.
- Do you need a bag for one or two items?
|Frozen juice concentrate||Jug of juice||More packaging|
|Can of coffee||Vacuum pack coffee||Not recyclable|
|Permanent coffee filter||Disposable coffee filter||Avoid disposables|
|Toothpaste tube||Toothpaste pump||More packaging|
|Bar soap||Liquid soap||More packaging|
|Shaving mug and brush||Aerosol shaving cream||Not recyclable|
|Refillable or electric razor||Disposable razor||Avoid disposables|
|Cloth napkin||Paper napkin||Avoid disposables|
|Sponge||Paper towel||Avoid disposables|
|Reusable container||Plastic wrap/tin foil||Avoid disposables|
|Powdered detergent||Liquid detergent||More packaging|
Consider this...other Yes choices
Attention Coffee Drinkers! If you don't already have one, get a reusable travel mug. Coffee shops will make your favorite coffee drink in your mug. Just ask. Some even offer a discount on coffee refills if you use your own mug.
Support Farmer's Markets or your local produce stand. Packaging is minimal if any and shorter transport means less cost to the environment. Above all, the produce is likely better quality, and was grown by your neighbors.
Avoid purchasing products that contain hazardous materials or generate hazardous byproducts during manufacturing. These materials are difficult to dispose of safely. See the hazardous materials page for safe alternatives.