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Waste Less at Home

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The average NYC resident discards nearly four and a half pounds of waste each day, or more than three-quarters of a ton per year. Learn how everyday choices can help you waste less.

reduce
reuse
recycle

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Reduce

Paper, packaging, and food waste make up the largest sections of New York City’s trash and recyclables. Learn how to reduce paper waste and packaging waste (such as bags, drink cups, and other packaging); eliminate unwanted mail; and turn your yard and kitchen waste into compost.

Another way to reduce waste is to make sure that the products that you bring into your home are durable or long lasting. You should also bring reusable containers (such as bags and mugs) with you, while shopping.

Minimizing the number of potentially harmful products you use in your home is also important. See our shopping tips to learn about other opportunities to reduce waste.

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Reuse

Find a new home for your unwanted items. Donate or sell items in good condition to thrift stores, non-profit organizations in need, consignment shops, or through online reuse and materials exchanges.

You can also send items back to the manufacturer or retailer for resale, refurbishing, or recycling. Some product take-back programs incentivize the return of items by offering coupons, credit, or discounts.

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Recycle

Every building in New York City is required by law to recycle. The NYC Department of Sanitation leaving NYCWasteLess collects recyclables at the curb from residents, city agencies, and institutions throughout the five boroughs. If you are already recycling, consider enhancing your participation in the City’s recycling program by choosing to purchase items and packaging that can be recycled.

Buying products that are made from recycled materials also bolsters markets for the items that you place at the curb for recycling.

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