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Personal Conservation:  Waste Reduction

REFUSE to use single-use plastics

      RETHINK your choices

            REDUCE consumption

                   RECYCLE is the last choice



  • How to reduce use of plastic kitchen trash bags:

Use bread bags or other plastic bags from retail purchases, deliveries, etc. to bag your “wet” items for the trash can. Place the bag(s) in the kitchen trash can, add the “dry” trash to it. No mess, and you’ve saved a virgin, single-use trash bag from the landfill, plus you have reused plastic bag packaging.


  • Use insulated and refillable water bottles instead of buying plastic water bottles


  • Use beeswax wraps instead of plastic wrap


  • Use Stasher Bags or glass containers with lids for storing leftovers in the refrigerator


  • Use a safety razor like Bulldog razor - it’s refillable, has bamboo handle, and uses paper packaging. No more tossing a plastic razor or its plastic packaging


  • Use alternative mechanics in floral arrangements to floral foam like chicken wire, greenery or Holly Chappel’s reusable “pillow” sold here


  • Use bar soap instead of liquid body wash or hand soap packaged in plastic bottles


  • Just say NO to the plastic trash bag from the grocery. Use reusable/washable tote bags for shopping



  • Quit using disposable Keurig pods and start using refillable, reusable pods, found on Amazon.



  • Begin at the end. Look inside your trash can and see what you throw away. Evaluate your family’s consumption.

  • Talk with your family about steps you can take.


For example, are cloth napkins the right choice for you?

  • Where possible, let packaging influence your buying decisions.


For example, buy ground or whole bean coffee in a recyclable paper bag (available at Fresh Market) instead of a vacuum-sealed, non-recyclable bag, or buy in an aluminum can and repurpose the can after the coffee runs out. Likewise, purchase eggs in the cardboard container instead of plastic or styrofoam and repurpose or recycle it when done.



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Ask yourself if you really need a new product!

Can you find a suitable used version or rent?

Or do without? 

When you make a purchase, pretend that nothing gets recycled and ask yourself, what can you do to prevent more packaging or used products from going to the landfill? Consider buying products in bulk instead of individual servings to minimize packaging


  • REUSE what you have on hand

Adopt a few Depression-era practices like washing out plastic zip top bags and reusing them; the same goes for aluminum foil.

  • REFURBISH old stuff

Look around and see if you can update an old product to make new again. Paint provides an inexpensive facelift to almost anything.


  • REPAIR before you replace

YouTube is chock full of how-to-repair videos. Think how satisfied you will be knowing you repaired an item instead of beating a hasty path to a one-click fix. Perhaps ask a family member who is mechanically inclined to make the repair.


  • REPURPOSE be creative and reinvent

Necessity is the mother of invention. Before you toss something in the trash or recycling bin, consider a new life for the item. Pinterest is loaded with ideas. Examples of this include:  Saving marinara (or other glass) jars to use for food storage or casual floral arrangements, using newspaper for weed suppression in the garden, turning paper egg cartons into seed pots


  • REGIFT a new item

With today’s emphasis on reduced waste, regifting is socially acceptable if you do it with discretion and thought.

  • REFILL when possible

Seek products whose containers are refillable, like this cat litter (pictured on left) from Petco.




Click here for a word from GCV on the importance of Clean Recycling

Don’t practice wishful recycling. Know the do’s and don’ts (these are from Central Virginia Waste Management Authority)

Notable DON’TS 🚫🚫🚫

  • Aluminum foil (wash and reuse)

  • Plastic bags (reuse or recycle at grocery store). Also, don’t bag your recyclables in plastic bags.

  • Metal lids from glass jars. Throw these out or get crafty with them.

  • Glassware, like broken wine glasses, drinking glasses, Pyrex, floral vases

  • Receipts from cash registers. They contain harmful chemicals. Refuse them or opt for an emailed receipt.

  • Shredded paper

  • Plastic garden pots (these can be recycled at Lowes)

  • Plastic tabs from bread bags

  • Plastic children’s toys

  • 6-pack plastic rings

  • Tin cans (check label when in doubt)

Notable DO’s

  • All kinds of plastic jugs, bottles and tubs including prescription bottles, but rinse and reattach lids before placing them in the recycling bin.

  • Glass bottles and jars (throw away the lids). We are fortunate! Many localities don’t recycle glass at all.


Recycle Properly! 

  • Rinse your items before placing them in the recycling bin. For more information from Central Virginia Waste Management Authority, click here


  • If you’re curious about how recycling works, click here to watch this video from our local recycling facility.  Watch this 5-minute video (MRF stands for material recovery facility).



Look for Product-Specific Recycling

  • Electronics Recycling. Best Buy electronics retailer offers a comprehensive electronics recycling program. Click here to find out how to recycle your unrepairable and unusable electronics at your local Best Buy. This is a vital community service from Best Buy; being able to drop off on your schedule versus waiting for a community electronics recycling drive allows you to manage your recycling on your terms.



  • Plastic bag recycling - all kinds of bags - many grocery stores including Kroger have collection bins for the following:

Dry cleaner bags

Retail “T” bags

Produce bags

Plastic packaging from online orders

Plastic packaging from toilet paper and paper towel rolls


  • Recycle CFL bulbs and rechargeable batteries at Home Depot 


  • Check with your dry cleaner to see if used coat hangers can be recycled through them. Locally, Puritan cleaners provides an appropriate box and picks them up for you with your dry cleaning.

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