Waste Reduction, Reuse and Repair

Waste Reduction for Residents

One of the most impactful ways to conserve resources and protect the quality of Shasta County’s natural environment is to reduce waste by not creating it in the first place. Explore the categories below and find ways to help reduce the amount of waste you generate.

Hazardous Waste
Hazardous Waste
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Motor Oil
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Paint Waste
Junk Mail

Simple Steps toward Reducing Waste

Take the steps toward reducing waste by following the Five Rs of Zero Waste. The first three Rs are the same three we’ve known for years, Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. Add two more, Refuse and Rot, and you get a series of actions that will help you to decrease your consumption and create as little waste as possible.

Refuse - If you don’t need it, don’t take it. Think about restaurant takeout. If you are heading home, you can say “no thank you” to the plastic utensils. The same goes for sauce packets, napkins, drinking straws, and the bag. If you aren’t eating at home, you can keep a set of utensils and a cloth napkin with you, just in case. You can even refuse junk mail, learn how here.

Reduce - Decrease the amount you consume. Do you need to upgrade your phone, or can you make do with an older model? Or, what about laundry detergent in plastic bottles? Can you find an alternative that uses little to no packaging? Try buying used and refurbished items. The overall idea is to shop with purpose; only buy when you need. This also goes for food. About 40% of the food we produce in the United States is thrown away. Visit Save The Food or Stop Food Waste for household tips on meal planning, recipes, and storage of leftovers to help reduce food waste.

Reuse - Instead of using disposable products, try reusable alternatives. Carry a refillable metal water flask, put your lunch in reusable containers, switch to cloth “paper” towels in the kitchen. For larger items consider sharing, renting, or borrowing items. Also, ask yourself, “can it be fixed?” when something around the house breaks. This way, there will be no need to replace it.

Recycle - If you’ve exhausted the previous Rs, it might be time to recycle. We sometimes think of recycling as the first step in waste disposal, but as you can see, there is much more you can do to make sure you don’t have anything left over.

Rot - What do you do with food scraps? After all, that’s likely what you’ll have left over once you’ve made it this far. Consider composting. A backyard compost pile can turn food scraps and other organic waste (grass and leaves) into a nutrient-rich soil additive for your garden. Visit our  home composting page for information on how to get started.