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Solid Waste Management Meets Community Needs

Garbage and Recycling
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A sound solid waste management program revolves around the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) three Rs: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. Waste management programs can cover the spectrum of daily living, and put into operation in the home, the community, at businesses, and in industry. Many communities have begun programs whose goal is zero waste.

Step One: Reduce

The principle is straightforward - the less waste that is generated, the less there is to dispose. Basically, less is less and more is more. By using products to their fullest and by avoiding over packaged, unrecyclable, or environmentally toxic products, there is less to throw away, minimizing the impact on the waste stream. The EPA and your local waste management can help with designing a waste reduction plan.

Step Two: Reuse

Products can be reused in a wide variety of ways: Goods can be donated to charities, schools, and service organizations; Food and yard waste can be composted; Glass containers can be cleaned reused; Construction and industrial waste can be reprocessed into other useful materials. Have a yard sale or community swap to trade items among the members of the community. Waste exchange programs have developed to create a network business and industry for swapping – the commercial version of a yard sale. What may be waste in one place is a viable resource in another.

Step Three: Recycle

Recycling converts waste into usable products and materials thereby reducing (there’s that word again) the strain on natural resources through their conservation, reducing the amount of material headed for the landfill, and decreases the emission of greenhouse gasses. A good solid waste management plan makes use of an all-encompassing recycling program that places as little burden on its clients as possible. Mixed-use, single stream recycling allows recyclables to be collected in a single bin without the headache of sorting. Sorting of the materials is carried out at the recycling center using an array of sorting screens and other technologies.

Although it may require special handling and facilities, addressing hazardous waste recycling and disposal is also part of a complete program. Educating the community about hazardous waste – household, commercial, and industrial - and arranging for its removal entails a conscientious application of environmentally safe practices.  Local, regional, and national solid waste management services are an excellent resource for businesses, industries, and communities to access when the need for controlling and disposing of solid waste arises.

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