Buy in bulk: Large "family size" containers require less packaging per pound than small "single serving" packages. In addition to conserving resources, buying in bulk will also generally save you money!
Look for items with little or no packaging: Many items come in a variety of packaging styles. Choose unpackaged items and concentrates whenever possible.
Buy durable products: You may spend a little more to purchase good quality products, but you won't need to replace them as often.
Buy reusable products: Disposable products generate more waste than reusable products. Disposables often cost more in the long run! Look for reusable cameras, razors, lunch bags, cloth diapers, cloth napkins and towels, rechargable batteries, and returnable beverage bottles.
Reuse containers: Rinsed out glass and plastic containers make great storage containers for leftovers, hardware, etc.
Reuse bags: Whether cloth, plastic, or paper, reuse grocery bags when you shop. Try keeping a stash in your car so you will always be prepared. Also try reusing produce bags.
Give away or obtain stuff for free:
The Reuse Marketplace is a free regional network to find, sell, trade, or give away reusable and surplus items that would otherwise be disposed as trash. Businesses, institutions, governments, and organizations in the states of Connecticut, Delaware, Massachussetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont are eligible to create accounts and to post listings. Anyone is welcome to search or browse the posted items.
The Freecycle Network is made up of many individual groups across the globe. It's a grassroots and entirely nonprofit movement of people who are giving (and getting) stuff for free in their own towns. Freecycling, an internet-based exchange, is open to all who want to "recycle" that special something rather than throw it away. Whether it's a chair, a fax machine, piano or an old door, feel free to post it... or to look for it! Nonprofit groups are also welcome to participate. Everything posted must be free.
You can list items you're willing to give away for free on craigslist Western Mass free stuff.
Donate reusable household items: Reuse can mean reusing materials such as containers and bags for another purpose. It can also mean donating usable goods such as clothing, furniture, and other household items. Many non-profit organizations, such as Goodwill and the Salvation Army, have been accepting household items and clothing for years. This helps us to reduce the amount of trash thrown out and conserves disposal space. There are many local charitable organizations in our area that help people going through a transition. If you have something that is still usable, you may be able to help someone in this area by calling one of the organizations listed below and asking if they can match you up with someone that may need the item. Please consider if the item is in good enough shape to be reused. Junk and broken items do not qualify for donations.
Donate and purchase reusable building materials: The reuse of construction and home improvement materials is an excellent way to keep good quality, usable items from being disposed in a landfill or incinerator. It also helps to conserve our natural resources by reducing the amount of building products being produced from raw materials. Construction and demolition materials such as doors, windows, cabinets, and plumbing fixtures are great candidates for reuse.
Some used building materials in good, reusable condition may be donated to EcoBuilding Bargains in Springfield, Massachusetts.This store helps manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, contractors, and homeowners find alternatives to throwing out quality, surplus, and used construction materials. Donating materials helps to reduce your disposal costs, and helps others find quality materials at affordable prices. This helps the local community, our economy, and the environment.
Buy products or packages made from recycled materials: Many recycled paper products are currently on the market, including toilet tissue, paper towels, and writing paper. Some products are packaged in containers made with recycled content. Read product labels! Purchasing recycled content products helps support the recycling industry by providing a demand for the materials we place in our recycling bins.
Buy recyclable packaging: Many products are offered in a variety of packaging styles. Packaging made from multiple materials are not recyclable. Whenever possible, choose packaging made from a single type of material that is accepted for recycling.
* Some information provided by Chittenden Solid Waste District, Burlington, Vermont