The US Environmental Protection Agency provides a quick look below at the 3 Rs Reducing, Reusing and Recycling materials you use everyday in your home! If everyone does their part, we can all have a positive impact on the amount of waste that is produced in our homes. which provides a guide for residents to start taking conservation into their own hands. Do your part by:

Reduce the amount and toxicity of trash you discard.

Reuse containers and products; repair what is broken or give it to someone who can repair it.

Recycle as much as possible, which includes buying products with recycled content.

To find out where to recycle items, click here: The World’s Shortest Comprehensive Recycling Guide


Source reduction, often called waste prevention, means consuming and throwing away less. Source reduction includes purchasing durable, long-lasting goods and seeking products and packaging that are as free of toxins as possible. Because source reduction actually prevents the generation of waste in the first place, it is the most preferable method of waste management and goes a long way toward protecting the environment.


Reusing items by repairing them, donating them to charity and community groups, or selling them also reduces waste. Use a product more than once, either for the same purpose or for a different purpose. Reusing, when possible, is preferable to recycling because the item does not need to be reprocessed before it can be used again.


Recycling turns materials that would otherwise become waste into valuable resources and generates a host of environmental, financial, and social benefits. After collection, materials (e.g., glass, metal, plastics, cardboard, and paper) are separated and sent to facilities that can process them into new materials or products. Recycling is one of the best environmental success stories of the late 20th century.

In order to make recycling economically feasible, we must buy recycled products and packaging. When we buy recycled products we create an economic incentive for recycleable materials to be collected, manufactured, and marketed as new products. Buying recycled has both economic and environmental benefits. Purchasing products made from or packaged in recycled materials saves resources for future generations.

Simple Ways to Reuse

  • Use durable coffee mugs, glasses, plates and silverware.
  • Use cloth napkins, towels and diapers.
  • Wash and refill plastic and glass bottles and cartons.
  • Donate old magazines or surplus equipment.
  • Reuse boxes, plastic and paper bags.
  • Save and reuse gift wrap paper, bows and ribbon.
  • Purchase refillable pens and pencils.
  • Purchase previous-used building supplies from a recycled materials supplier.
  • Participate in a paint collection and reuse program.
  • Use the back side of printed paper by cutting into 4s and reusing as scratch pads.
  • Reuse lumber products and windows for other projects.
  • Use film canisters for storing coins, paper clips, etc.
  • Turn print cartridges in at office supply stores (often you can get store credit!)
  • Use refillable razors, lighters and cameras.
  • Use rechargeable batteries.

Benefits of Recycling

  • Conserves resources for our children’s futures.
  • Prevents emissions of many greenhouse gases and water pollutants.
  • Saves energy and reduces garbage rates.
  • Supplies valuable raw materials to industry.
  • Creates jobs.
  • Stimulates the development of greener technologies.
  • Reduces the need for new landfills and incinerators.

For more information on recycling, please visit Thurston County Solid Waste.