Waste Reduction

Randolph County Solid Waste Authority

Whether at home in Mill Creek, on the go in Elkins, working on a job in Beverly, or attending school in Randolph County, WV, the little choices you make every day can have a big impact. There are things you can do to help make a difference. Read on to learn more.

How To Reduce Waste

Reducing Waste at Home

Making a difference starts at home. From learning how to compost waste and practicing source reduction to going green all the way, there are many opportunities to reduce waste in your house. Whether recycling a used food container, upgrading your home to be more eco-friendly, or reusing and repurposing worn items, you can feel good knowing that your efforts truly matter.

Set Up Online Billing & Payments

You can save a hefty amount of paper by managing household expenses online. If you must maintain records, consider whether these can be stored in digital form, then printed as needed.

Step Away from that Mower

Allowing lawn grass to grow a little higher than usual from time to time can help improve root strength and overall grass health, keep your lawn cooler, reduce weed growth, and lower watering demands.

Unplug Lights & Electronics

Electronic devices continue to consume electricity when they’re plugged in – even when you aren’t using them. When retiring for the night, leaving for work, and going away for more than a few hours, get in the habit of unplugging all unnecessary electronic equipment.

Dispose of Household Hazardous Waste Properly

Make a hazardous waste sweep of your home and garage each year. Gather up any old cleaning agents, chemicals, paints, and hazardous items and plan to drop them off at your next community hazardous waste collection event.

“Green Up” Your Cleaning Cabinet

Most cleaners sold at commercial retailers contain some level of hazardous or unknown chemical components. Consider replacing commercial cleaners with safer natural cleaning products such as castile soap, lemon juice, vinegar, and baking soda, or learn more about cleaner, less toxic prepared cleaners, scrubs, and disinfection products. They work just as well but pose less threat to your health.

Reducing Waste on the Go

When traveling, plan ahead to minimize waste with these helpful tips.

Adjust Travel Routes

Look over your travel route in advance. Adjust as needed to access the shortest route and avoid letting your vehicle run idle in busy, congested areas.

Pack a Lunch

Prepare and pack healthy sandwiches, cut veggies, fruit, cheeses, and other easy-to-eat finger foods in reusable containers. Store in a small cooler with ice and take along to avoid relying on commercial fast food restaurants.

Reducing Waste at Work

Make your office more eco-friendly to save time and money.

Stop Printing Docs “Just In Case”

Carefully consider whether or not you actually need to print documents and work files before doing so. In many cases, a file can be saved on an internal or external drive, backed up to a cloud server, or emailed to yourself for later review. You can always print later when you’re certain that it is required.

“Ecofy” Computer & Printer Settings

Look through your computer and printer or multifunction machine’s settings and adjust as needed to limit excessive tasks, minimize resource hungry applications, and improve the system’s energy efficiency. Program machines to automatically hibernate and shutdown. Set up dual-sided printing and lower ink usage by setting “draft” quality on non-critical print jobs, and resize fonts on your private documents to the smallest visible setting you can read.

Reusable Whiteboards

Business offices create one of the world’s largest demands for paper manufactured from forest products. When possible, use whiteboards, projectors, and digital media to analyze logs, transmit communications, and perform similar tasks.

Reducing Waste at School

Compost Waste

Ask your school administrators if a composting program is in place for paper, cafeteria waste, and other eligible items. If not, consider volunteering to help get a program established.

Shop Smart

Before buying new materials, consider whether existing supplies have useful life remaining. When shopping for supplies, chose high-quality items that are built to last and packaged with minimal packing.

Buy Recycled Products

Many types of school and office supplies are now available made with recycled materials. These products are safe, clean, and made to perform as well or better than those made with raw or virgin materials. Your purchase helps ensure manufacturers know consumers support their efforts.

How To Compost

Compost is a valuable, nutrient-rich addition to the soil of your lawn and garden. It helps soil hold moisture, resist erosion, and keeps valuable organic material out of our landfills.

Composting can be as easy as tossing the correct ratio of green and brown kitchen, lawn and garden waste into a pit and turning with a pitchfork periodically until it mellows and matures enough for garden usage (typically about one year). If you’d like to try composting, you can make it easier on your family by providing a covered kitchen bin lined with biodegradable bags. Outdoors, you can mature your compost in a pit, build a structure to hold your compost as it matures, or purchase a commercially available composting unit. The choice is yours, as all work equally well with proper maintenance.

Composting Tips

Although there is a wide range of ratios that will work just fine, you can initially aim for a compost mixture which consist of about four parts BROWN organic material to one GREEN organic material. You can adjust later as needed.

Pappy Port’s Black Gold Compost Recipe

4 Parts Brown Material

Source of carbon, adds bulk & improves air flow

Acceptable Brown Materials Include:

  • Dried Leaves
  • Paper Towels
  • Clean Cardboard
  • Wood Chips
  • Straw
  • Sawdust
  • Cleaned Eggshells
  • Corn Stalks
  • Newspaper
  • Human Hair & Pet Fur
  • Stale Bread

1 Part Green Material

Source of nitrogen, adds nutrients

Acceptable Green Materials Include:

  • Grass Clippings
  • Food Scraps
  • Potato, Vegetable & Fruit Peelings
  • Fresh, Expired, and Moldy Produce
  • Coffee Grounds
  • Pasta, Rice & Grains
  • Livestock Manure
  • Vegetation

Do Not Use:

  • Meat, Fish & Bones
  • Fats, Oils, Milk & Dairy
  • Vegetation Treated with Pesticides
  • Diseased, Infected, or Insect-laden Plants
  • Pet & Human Waste
  • Coal & Charcoal Ash
  • Treated Sawdust
  • Vinegar & Highly Acidic Foods
  • Oily & Greasy Foods
  • Black Walnut Tree Leaves, Bark, Nuts & Debris
  • Feminine Hygiene Products
  • Weeds

Your compost pile should be placed in a warm location where it will receive several hours of sun exposure per day. It should be watered and mixed or turned with a pitchfork or shovel every 3 to 7 days, weather permitting.

Ideally, you will want to cover your compost to help retain the heat and moisture that work to mature your compost and help prevent rodents, flies, maggots, and pests from accessing your material. Proper drainage should be provided at the base of your compost structure.

When the compost takes on a uniform dark brown color and exhibits a fresh, earthy smell, it is ready to be tilled into your garden soil.

Breathe New Life Into Household Items

15 Household “Hacks” from RCSWA

You can go green by repurposing everyday household items and replacing environmentally harmful items with eco-friendly products. We have listed some of our favorite tips and ideas that are excellent in helping you live healthier, happier, and greener. There are many more tips and household hacks available online that you can find to help you and your family save money and keep materials out of landfills.

  1. Stop purchasing plastic water bottles and invest in reusable water bottles.
  2. Repurpose old toothbrushes to clean cracks & crevices.
  3. Replace toxic dryer sheets with 100% all natural sheep wool dryer balls, designed to naturally soften clothes and reduce dry time use after use.
  4. Repurpose old boxes, boots, and other containers as outdoor planters.
  5. Shop for 100% recycled products.
  6. Donate unwanted clothes and shoes to your community.
  7. Buy used clothing from thrift stores to look just as fabulous at a fraction of the cost.
  8. Purchase a composting bin and compost your food scraps to fertilize your garden and indoor plants.
  9. Stop printing your documents. Save all your written projects digitally.
  10. Choose package free snacks to reduce plastic waste and eat healthier.
  11. Shop with reusable shopping bags.
  12. Use shoe boxes for storage.
  13. Take the time to cancel your junk mail to help stop 96 million trees harvested for junk mail production every year in the US.
  14. Invest in cloth napkins to help reduce the 13 billion pounds (3,000 tons) of paper towels usage every year in the US.
  15. Pay your bills digitally.

Source Reduction vs. Planned Obsolescence

What Is “Source Reduction?”

AT RCSWA, an important part of what we do is promoting the common-sense practice of source reduction (also known as waste prevention and waste reduction). When it comes to waste management, source reduction is the most preferable action we can take. When we decrease or eliminate waste before it is created, we simply have less waste to manage.

Source Reduction – Minimizing waste and pollution at its source; Reducing the amount of materials that enter the waste stream

Techniques to Achieve Source Reduction

Source reduction practices can include:
– Consumers choosing to opt-out of unnecessary shopping and carefully consider the necessity of new product purchases
– Consumers choosing reusable cloth bags instead of disposable single-use plastic bags
– Manufacturers reducing the volume and/or mass of consumer products
– Manufacturers decreasing the toxicity load of their products
-Manufacturers using clean materials to produce high-quality products designed and manufactured to last

What Is “Planned Obsolescence?”

They Don’t Built ‘Em Like They Used to

Over time, many product manufactures began building larger, more valuable items such as appliances, vacuums, radios, TVs, telephones, vehicles, luxury consumer goods, and even homes with low-quality, inferior materials. These products were intentionally designed to fail or become obsolete with corporate policies of planned obsolescence. If you have felt that the quality of the products that makes up your world is falling fast, you would be correct. Unfortunately, the practice of creating inferior-grade products that are designed to fail so that you will have to keep buying them is, for the most part, absolutely legal with few exceptions such as infant cribs.