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Prevent and Reduce Waste

By reducing what we buy and use, and choosing reusable items over disposable, we can prevent waste from happening in the first place.

Buy Less
Reducing the amount of items that we buy is the number one way to prevent waste.

Choose Reusable Over Single-Use Items
What you choose to buy directly influences the waste you produce. Many products designed for our convenience are disposed after a single use, but you can avoid much of that waste with a bit of preparation.

Even recyclable and compostable single-use items (like coffee cups and straws) are wasteful in comparison to reusable versions because washing and reusing things takes a lot less energy than re-manufacturing or composting and growing new materials.

  • Use rechargeable AA and AAA batteries (many can be reused 1000+ timeslinks to external site, and have a significantly lower environmental impactlinks to external site than single-use batteries)
  • Ask for your drink without a straw, or bring your own
  • Bring your reusable bag whenever you shop, not just at the grocery store
  • Refill ink cartridges instead of buying new
  • Buy food in bulk and repack into single servings using reusable containers (e.g. yogurt, crackers)
  • Replace paper towels with cloth for some or all of your home uses

Refuse Unwanted Items
It's easy to accumulate things you don't even want, because they are given or mailed to you.

  • phone-books-stacked Opt out of phone book deliverylinks to external site to reduce wasted paper. (Each year the phone book industry uses up an estimated 4.68 million trees worth of wood fiber, or14 football fields’ worth of forest per day.)
    1. Visit yellowpagesoptout.comlinks to external site
    2. Enter your zip code and create an account
    3. After completing registration, click "opt out of or order directories"
    4. Choose "opt out of all" option, then "save changes" and hit CONFIRM
  • Opt out of junk maillinks to external site 
  • Say no to SWAG: before you take free goodies at events, think about whether you'll use the item and whether it's a quality that you'll like

Reduce Your Waste from Holidays and Special Events
When we are thoughtful about our choices at the holidays and special events, we can celebrate without producing a lot of waste.

  • ​Plan weddingslinks to external site and other big celebrations to minimize waste
  • Make Halloween greenlinks to external site with reusable treats and secondhand costumes (come to our annual Costume Swap!)
  • Make the right amount of food for Thanksgiving and other big meals using the "Guest-imator" toollinks to external site
  • Hosting a Superbowl party? See our tips to go green on game daylinks to external site
  • Choose alternative gifts that aren't "stuff"
  • Use an alternative gift registry like SoKindlinks to external site for weddings and baby showers
  • Create a zero waste Easter basketlinks to external site for your kids
  • Give presents in reusable gift bags or furoshikilinks to external site wrappings instead of wrapping paper and plastic ribbons

Our email course will help you waste less food at home
Get more tips delivered to your inbox about grocery shopping, food storage, sharing food, and more. Sign uplinks to external site for the 7-email series.

Waste Less Food
The average American family throws out about a quarter of the food they buy – worth about $1000 a year! Food waste contributes to climate changelinks to external site when it's thrown away. Composting uneaten food is better, but still wastes the water and energy that went into growing and shipping it, so preventing food waste is one of the best things you can do to reduce your environmental impact.

Buy Only What You Will Eat

Store Your Food to Last Longer

Minimize Wasted Food

Public Works
123 5th Avenue, Kirkland WA 98033
T. 425-587-3800 | F. 425-587-3807
Mon-Fri, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Operations & Maintenance
915 8th St, Kirkland WA 98033
T. 425-587-3900 24/7 | F. 425-587-3902
Mon-Fri, 6:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.

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