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 - How to Reduce
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How to Reduce Waste

Paper
Packaging
Inventory and Purchasing
Equipment
Organic Waste
General

Writing and printing paper

  • Make two-sided photocopies to save paper, cut mailing costs, reduce the need for new filing cabinets, and permit smaller mailing envelopes to be used.
  • Use paper with post-consumer recycled content; the quality of recycled paper has improved.
  • Keep mailing lists current.
  • Ask companies to eliminate duplicate or unwanted catalogues.
  • Circulate (rather than copy) memos, documents, periodicals, and reports.
  • Use the unprinted side of used paper for notes.
  • Use central files to reduce the number of hard copies the department retains.
  • Proof documents on the computer screen before printing them out.
  • Use email instead of sending memos and minimize email printouts.
  • Save documents on thumb drives and hard drives instead of paper.
  • Post departmental bulletins or use email rather than circulating multiple copies.
  • Donate old magazines and journals to hospitals, clinics, or libraries.
  • Reduce the amount of advertising received at home by writing to:
  • Direct Marketing Association Mail Preference Service
    P.O. Box 9008
    Farmingdale, NY 11735-900

Packaging

  • Order merchandise in bulk.
  • Purchase products with minimal packaging and in concentrated form.
  • Reuse foam packing peanuts, bubble wrap, and cardboard boxes or use newspaper and shredded paper for packaging.
  • Don't throw away pallets. Arrange for pallets to be returned to the supplier or arrange to recycle them.
  • Ask suppliers to use post-consumer recycled and/or recyclable material in packaging to give them an incentive to change.

Inventory and Purchasing

  • Avoid ordering excess supplies that may never be used.
  • Order supplies in bulk to reduce excess packaging.
  • Substitute less toxic or non-toxic products for inks, paints, cleaning solvents, etc.
  • Use products that are durable, high quality, recyclable, or reusable to reduce waste.

Equipment

  • Use rechargeable batteries when practical.
  • Install reusable furnace and air conditioner filters.
  • Sell or give old furniture and equipment to other businesses, local charitable organizations, or employees.
  • Rent equipment that is used only occasionally.
  • Return printer cartridges to the supplier for re-manufacture.
  • Establish a regular maintenance routine to prolong the life of equipment.

Organic Waste

  • Choose a landscape design that needs low maintenance.
  • Use a mulching lawnmower and leave grass clippings on the lawn.
  • Compost.

General

Commonly purchased disposable items that should be replaced by reusable items to reduce solid waste:

  • Cups
  • Eating utensils
  • Dishes
  • Copier and printer cartridges
  • Typewriter printer ribbon
  • Pens
  • Baby diapers
  • Disposable shavers
  • Batteries for appliances
  • Restroom hand towels
  • Filters for forced air furnaces and air conditioners

Compiled from the EPA Business Guide for Reducing Solid Waste, Forty Ways to Make Government Purchasing Green and other sources.

 RELATED LINKS
 Order Recycling Services
 INFORMATIONAL FLYERS (PDFs)
 Single Day Waste Audit
 CONTACT INFO

Facilities

Department Directory

Recycling and Solid Waste Management

Ruth T. Davis
Manager

Jarrod Jones
Recycling and Solid Waste Management
Supervisor

Customer Service Center

Office Hours: Mon - Fri 7 AM 4:30 PM
Phone: 617-253-4948
Building: 7-019
Email: dof-csc@mit.edu

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