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Reduce Waste (Waste Prevention)

Consumer Resources

Consumer Handbook for Reducing Solid Waste

Campaign Additional Publications
Reduce Waste: If not you, who?

Environmental Footprint Calculator


Business Resources

Waste Wise State and Local Resources
Waste Minimization Program - National Partnership for Environmental Priorities (NPEP) Waste Exchange and Re-use Programs
Additional Voluntary Programs Pollution Prevention Resources
Resource Management Contracts  

Community Resources

Pay-As-You-Throw State Waste Prevention Resources
Source Reduction Program Potential Manual  


In 1998, Americans generated 220 million tons of garbage, or about 4.5 pounds of waste per person per day. Managing this large waste stream burdens our environment and our economy. Although the amount of solid waste generated each year has been increasing since 1960, the rate of growth recently has slowed, a result of source reduction, reuse, recycling and composting.

While recycling the materials in the waste stream is a better option than disposal, preventing the waste in the first place is the best option. Waste prevention, also known as source reduction or pollution prevention, includes activities that reduce the volume and/or the toxicity of wastes that are generated. This can be as simple as doing more double-sided copying and as complex as redesigning products to use less material (i.e., less packaging) and/or less toxic material in the production process.

More on Waste Prevention (Source Reduction) can be found on the EPA National Website

Consumer Resources

Consumer Handbook for Reducing Solid Waste, This website describes how people can help solve a growing problem . . . garbage! Individual consumers can help alleviate America's mounting trash problem by making environmentally aware decisions about everyday things like shopping and caring for the lawn.

Reduce Waste: If not you, Who? Campaign Exit EPA Click for Disclaimer (Double click on the back button to return to this EPA page.)

The Minnesota Office of Environmental Assistance began this statewide education campaign in January 2000. When you avoid making garbage in the first place, you don't have to worry about disposing of waste or recycling it later. Changing your habits is the key — think about ways you can reduce your waste when you shop, work and play.

icon showing a trash can being squeezed to show reduce waste graphic stating reduce waste if not you, who?

This comprehensive website includes the sections on:

  • toxics at home;
  • reducing waste at home;
  • reducing waste when shopping;
  • reducing waste in the yard;
  • reducing waste at school;
  • reducing waste at the office;
  • reducing waste while traveling;
  • reducing waste at the holidays;
  • composting;
  • stopping junk mail.

Environmental Footprint Calculator Exit EPA Click for Disclaimer

TIPS FOR A Waste-Less School Year

Ever wondered how much "nature" your lifestyle requires? This Ecological Footprint Quiz estimates how much productive land and water you need to support what you use and what you discard. Earth Day Network and Redefining Progress have teamed up to create the most-advanced on-line Ecological Footprint Quiz yet as part of their Ecological Footprint Campaign.

Additional Publications, Learn how you can reduce, reuse, and recycle materials and consequently decrease the amount and toxicity of the waste produced in and around your home. Learn about waste management programs and opportunities to help you get involved and make a difference in your community.

Business Resources

EPA Waste Wise Logo

Award Winners
from Region 7



Jackson County Missouri - Local Government Honorable Mention


Anheuser-Busch Companies, Inc. – Hall of Fame
Spartech Plastics, Inc. - Large Business Honorable Mention


Anheuser-Busch Companies, Inc. – Very Large Business Partner of the Year

Jackson County Missouri – Local Government Program Champion

Spartech Plastics, Inc. – Large Business Honorable Mention


Anheuser-Busch Companies, Inc. – Very Large Business Program Champion

Spartech Corporation – Large Business Honorable


Anheuser-Busch Companies, Inc. – Very Large Business Partner of the Year

Jackson County Missouri – Local Government Partner of the Year

Spartech Corporation – Large Business Honorable Mention


Anheuser-Busch Companies, Inc. – Very Large Business Program Champion

WasteWise , is a voluntary partnership program that helps businesses, government agencies, institutions like schools or hospitals, and nonprofit organizations save money by reducing their waste. Partners agree to implement three waste prevention activities, one recycling collection activity, and one buy-recycled activity. WasteWise has developed case studies and an extensive library of information, which is now available online, to assist organizations and individuals implement waste prevention activities.

Waste Minimization Program - National Partnership for Environmental Priorities (NPEP)

EPA works with industrial organizations, government agencies, and communities to find ways to help individual companies reduce the amount of waste they generate, particularly if the wastes contain one or more Waste Minimization Priority Chemicals. In April of 2004, we changed the name of our program from the National Waste Minimization Partnership Program (NWMPP) to the National Partnership for Environmental Priorities (NPEP). We made this change to reflect the expansion in scope of our program to address Priority Chemicals whether they are used in products and processes or found in water, air, or waste emissions. The National Partnership for Environmental Priorities Program (NPEP) encourages public and private organizations to form voluntary partnerships with EPA that reduce the use or release of any of 31 Priority Chemicals (PCs). npep logo

More on Waste Minimization

EPA Region 7 Waste Wise Partners’
Estimated Greenhouse Gas Emission Reductions from Waste Prevention and Recycling Activities in 2001
Waste Wise Partner Source Reduction
Keep Nebraska Beautiful 0 115
Jackson County 7 409
Anheuser Bush 355,218 2,409,501
Spartech Corp 1,187 3,907

Additional Voluntary Partnership Programs

In addition EPA has established other partnership programs that focus on other environmental areas such as energy and water conservation and/or specific business sectors such as agriculture, hospitals and laboratories. Links to all these programs can be found on the Region 7 Pollution Prevention Program Pages

Resource Management Contracts

The General Motors Corporation coined the “Resource Management” (RM) term in 1997, to reflect its position on non-product output: “there are no waste streams, only wasted resources.” To date, GM has executed RM contracts at over two-thirds of its North American facilities with impressive results: plants with RM in place for a year or more have realized a 20% reduction in overall waste generation (30,000 tons), a 65% increase in recycling (from 50,000 tons to over 82,000 tons), a 60% decrease in disposal, and a 30% decrease in waste management costs.

The EPA WasteWise program prepared a special report Finding Resource Efficiency in Solid Waste Contracts , which is available on-line and provides comprehensive information on the subject.

Building on GM’s success with RM the States of Nebraska, Iowa and Missouri has been leaders in sponsoring research and demonstration projects to evaluate Resource Management’s potential in municipal, commercial, and institutional settings. All of these projects have similar objectives: 1) stimulate demand for RM service by developing best practice RM contracting procedures; 2) to develop supplier capacity to provide RM services. Projects include:

“Advancing RM Contracting in Nebraska” was sponsored by the Nebraska Environmental Trust. RM potential was evaluated in terms of waste and cost reduction in diverse organizations throughout the state, including: ConAgra, one of the nation’s largest food processing companies; the City of Omaha; the Omaha Public Power District; and Metro Community College.

“Executing a RM Contract for the West Des Moines School District” was sponsored by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. RM bid specifications, a Request for Proposal, and contractual terms were developed.

“Demonstrating the Potential for Cost-Effective Diversion through RM Contracting in Missouri” is being sponsored by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. Existing and potential RM contracting techniques will be demonstrated in industries and institutions in the St. Louis and Kansas City metropolitan areas.
State and Local Resources

The Kansas City Environmental Excellence Business Network Exit EPA Click for Disclaimer, was launched through an EPA grant to Bridging the Gap. The network meets four to six times a year to share nonproprietary information, techniques and benefits of environmental improvements and stewardship. Throughout the year, members host workshops, seminars, and facility tours.

WasteCap of Nebraska Exit EPA Click for Disclaimer, promotes waste reduction and recycling within the State of Nebraska. It provides businesses with the technical assistance necessary to recognize and act upon opportunities for solid waste reduction and recycling. In addition, it promotes businesses helping other businesses through a voluntary network of established waste reduction specialists, who conduct free, confidential, on-site waste assessment services.

Since 1988 the Iowa Waste Reduction Center Exit EPA Click for Disclaimer, (IWRC) at the University of Northern Iowa, helps small businesses comply with federal and state environmental regulations. By incorporating on-site reviews, applied research, and hands-on training into its free and confidential assistance program, the IWRC offers complete compliance assistance that small businesses can understand and apply.

The Kansas Small Business Environmental Assistance Program Exit EPA Click for Disclaimer,
provides small businesses with technical assistance to achieve environmental regulatory compliance. The program supports companies in their effort to prevent pollution and to improve the bottom line by improving the company's environmental performance.

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources Environmental Assistance Office, is a non-regulatory program whose purpose is to inform people about environmental issues and foster compliance with environmental requirements. The program helps business, farmers, local governments and individuals control or prevent pollution.

The Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality, Environmental Assistance Division Exit EPA Click for Disclaimer, consists of several programs: Small Business Assistance, Public Advocate, One-Stop Permit Assistance, Pollution Prevention, SARA Title III – Community Right To Know, and Nebraska Environmental Partnerships.

Waste Exchange and Re-use Programs

Materials and waste exchanges are markets for buying and selling reusable and recyclable commodities. Some are physical warehouses that advertise available commodities through printed catalogs, while others are simply Websites that connect buyers and sellers. Some are coordinated by state and local governments. Others are wholly private, for-profit businesses. The exchanges also vary in terms of area of service and the types of commodities exchanged. In general, waste exchanges tend to handle hazardous materials and industrial process waste while materials’ exchanges handle nonhazardous items.

This EPA site has a national listing, of exchanges that are searchable by State. .
Nebraska Materials Exchange Exit EPA Click for Disclaimer
Iowa Waste Exchange Exit EPA Click for Disclaimer
Missouri cooperates with Illinois Industrial Materials Exchange Exit EPA Click for Disclaimer

Pollution Prevention Resources

Links to additional resources for business are found on the Region 7 Pollution Prevention pages. These links include a wide variety of programs that provided technical support to support to business, government, and institutions.

Community Resources

Pay as you Throw logo, several circles with sunflower in middle

Pay-As-You-Throw (PAYT), is a system where households pay for garbage collection by the amount of trash discarded, rather than a flat fee. This provides a financial incentive to recycle and reduce the amount of waste discarded. Under traditional solid waste collection and disposal systems, residents pay indirectly for the service through their property taxes or a flat fee attached to their water bill. With a Pay-As-You-Throw program, residents pay directly for collection services based on the amount of waste thrown away. This system provides direct financial incentives to residents to reduce the amount of waste thrown way. Some communities that have instituted PAYT systems have seen their overall waste disposal rate decline 25-45 percent. EPA has developed a number of tools that local solid waste managers can use to consider whether PAYT will work in their communities.

The Pay-As-You-Throw (PAYT) Helpline -
1-888-EPA-PAYT, (1-888-372-7298) - provides information and tools to support this ongoing effort. Several of the state agencies link below also have additional resources and support.

Source Reduction Program Potential Manual: A Planning Tool ,
This 27-page manual was written to help local solid waste planners determine the potential impact of various source reduction options. The manual examines program potential, or the portion of a waste stream category that could be addressed by a specific source reduction program.

State Waste Prevention Resources

Iowa Exit EPA Click for Disclaimer
Nebraska Exit EPA Click for Disclaimer
Kansas Exit EPA Click for Disclaimer

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