Preventing waste is one of the most important parts of sustainable materials management. We can stop waste before creating it, which helps reduce the environmental impacts associated with the full life-cycle of those materials. Materials have carbon footprints before they make it to their “end-of-life” disposal.
Oregon's consumption-based greenhouse gas emissions in 2015 show that 98.6% of the greenhouse gas emissions resulting from the consumption of materials in Oregon occur during the production and supply chain, transportation, wholesale and retail, and use life-cycle phases. This leaves 1.4% of emissions occurring in the post-consumer disposal life-cycle stage. While material recycling, recovery, and proper disposal are important parts of reducing the impacts of materials, these strategies on their own do not adequately address the vast majority of emissions. Waste prevention can yield a more significant reduction in the impacts of materials, which can be achieved through reduced material consumption, the continued reuse of materials, and repair of materials to aid in their reusability.
Here are some waste prevention tips:
- Before buying, think “do I need this item?”
- Rent or borrow items that you might not need often.
- Prioritize shopping for pre-owned products whenever possible.
- Shop locally, reducing shipping and packaging waste.
- Buy high quality products which will last a long time and can be repaired.
- Look for package-free or reduced packaging options.
- Repair and re-use items instead of discarding.
- Donate usable items instead of discarding.
Benton County’s Materials Management program aims to help our communities prevent waste before it occurs. Watch this video from DEQ to learn more:
Waste Prevention Resources:
Business Waste Prevention
For more information on local Waste Prevention go to:
- Oregon’s Waste Prevention & Management Program
- Corvallis Sustainability Coalition
- Oregon Single-Use Bag Ban
- DEQ Waste Prevention
- Clothing Care: Make Every Thread Count
- DEQ: Materials Management in Oregon
- City of Corvallis – Waste Prevention
Image Source: Oregon DEQ
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