Don't let your garbage go to waste
With you as our partner, we can convert waste into valuable resources.
Here is what you help us to create:
- Waste Management 2015 Sustainability Report (to your right).
- Waste Management Puget Sound 2015 RSA Report (here)
- Pacific Northwest recycling, clean energy, and habitat facilities (here)
Learn more about how you can help to create value from waste:
- THINK GREEN© Learning Center (here)
- Recycling education materials: Recycle often. Recycle right. (here)
- View fun facts on the contributions you make when you choose to recycle, compost, and reduce your waste (on this page, below).
Please contact us to get started with your recycling or compost program (details in contact box, above right).
For assistance with an education program, please contact us (details in contact box, above right). To learn more, visit our Pacific Northwest Education Team page here.
To view your recycling or compost guidelines, see your city or county page here.
When you recycle, you save energy, reduce water pollution, reduce water consumption, preserve natural resources, and create jobs.
- Recycling old aluminum saves 95% of the energy needed to produce new aluminum from raw materials.
- Recycling one glass container saves enough energy to light a 100-watt bulb for four hours. (EPA)
- Recycling one ton of aluminum saves the amount of energy equal to electricity the average home uses over ten years. (Keep America Beautiful)
- Recycling one ton of paper saves 17 mature trees, 7,000 gallons of water, three cubic yards of landfill space, two barrels of oil, and 4,100 kilowatt-hours of electricity (enough energy to power the average American home for five months). (EPA)
- Recycling one ton of plastic milk jugs saves enough energy to light a home for a year. (EPA)
- Recycling creates jobs. Incinerating 10,000 tons of waste creates one job. Landfilling 10,000 tons of waste creates six jobs. Recycling 10,000 tons of waste creates 36 jobs. (EPA)
When you compost yard or food waste, you reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve soil quality, reduce the need for chemicals and fertilizers, and save water.
- Composting reduces greenhouse gas emissions. When organic material breaks down in a landfill, methane gas is released. Methane has 23 times the heat trapping power of CO2. Although many of our local landfills have methane collection systems, not all of the methane is captured in these systems. By composting, you are helping to decrease the release of greenhouse gases.
- Composting improves soil quality. Composting breaks down the nutrients that are in the foods, papers and plant materials that are composted. These nutrients are incorporated into the soil when compost is applied.
- Composting reduces the need for chemicals and fertilizers. When the nutrients from compost are added to soil, there is less of a need to use chemicals and fertilizers. Chemicals and fertilizers disrupt waterways and ecosystems by adding toxic substances and excess nutrients.
- Composting saves water. When compost is applied, it acts like a sponge and helps increase the soil's ability to retain moisture. Compost is an important part of farming and gardening in a drought.
Reduce, reuse, and recycle.
The materials that we consume and dispose of everyday are all made of finite natural resources. Managing waste effectively requires us to think about all three "R's", reduce, reuse, and recycle.
- Reduce. To reduce your waste, buy or use less. Purchasing an item with less packaging, checking books out at the library instead of buying books and sharing tools with a neighbor instead of buying your own are all ways to reduce consumption.
- Reuse. To reuse your waste, use an item again, rather than disposing it. Common types of reuse include using plastic grocery bags as garbage bags, making crafts out of waste materials, or buying milk in refillable jars.
- Recycle. To recycle your waste, help discarded material to become a new product. Recycling is the process of turning a waste product into something new, making newspaper out of old junk mail, turning plastic grocery bags into park benches or using old aluminum cans to make bike frames. Recycling is a great alternative to landfilling waste, but still utilizes large amounts of energy and water relative to reducing, and reusing.
Close the loop. Choose recycled products.
If we recycle all of our waste materials without purchasing products made with recycled content, we cannot utilize the materials we put in our recycling bins. They have nothing to be made into.
Local recycling programs depend on consumers purchasing products made from recycled content. This completes the recycling process. That's why we call it closing the loop.