Tips on how to rethink waste by reducing consumption, repairing items, repurposing, and recycling.

In the United States, each person generates 4.4 pounds of waste per day. In 2013, on average we recycled and composted 1.51 pounds of that waste. Recycling is great, but the best ways to reduce waste are to buy less and repair, reuse, or repurpose items.


Buying fewer products is the best way to reduce waste. There are several other things you can do.

  • Buy products that can be reused like rechargeable batteries, microfiber cloths for cleaning, and a cloth lunch bag.
  • Switch from paper towels and napkins to cloth.
  • Make your own home cleaning products.
  • Avoid buying products with excessive packaging. Opt for larger or refillable containers.
  • Go paperless. Subscribe to receive magazines, newspapers, and bills online.
  • For more information read the UGA publication Rethink Waste: Reduce.


When something breaks and wears out, spend time revitalizing or mending items instead of throwing them out. This reduces both waste and consumption.


Give old items a new use. These may be items you have in your home or used items you purchase at thrift or consignment stores. When purchasing and repurposing items there are some things to keep in mind to keep you and your household health.

For more information on buying used furniture and repurposing items, visit the UGA GreenWay Pinterest pages.


Recycle when you cannot repair an item or you no longer have a use for it.  Below are some suggestions for how to share items with others. If that doesn't work then compost or recycle them.  Your goal should be to reduce your trash to a one gallon bucket or less.

  • Donate clothing and items to charitable organizations.
  • Pass along books and puzzles.
  • Organize a community swap and share with others the partial containers of paint and varnish.
  • Share magazines with community organizations, libraries, hospitals, or others with waiting rooms.
  • Learn where you can recycle items in your community, including electronics and packing materials at Earth911.
  • Compost your food and yard waste. Learn more about composting from UGA Extension and the University of Florida.
  • For more on recycling read the UGA publication - Rethink Waste: Recycle.

Video: Reduce Waste: Changes You Can Make