Ways to Reduce Waste

SMART Shopping
Before entering a store remember to be a SMART shopper. SMART stands for Saving Money and Reducing Trash. According to the Minnesota Office of Environmental Assistance, each person in Minnesota generates about 4 pounds of garbage a day. Almost half of our household waste comes from the packaging we buy. While packaging is sometimes necessary for health and shelf life reasons, packaging can be excessive. If you consider the alternatives before you buy, you can save money and reduce waste.
  • Buy milk and water in refillable bottles
  • Pack your lunch in reusable food containers
  • Repair and maintain items instead of replacing them
  • Reuse items such as bags, jars and plastic tubs
  • Use cloth bags for shopping
  • Use rechargeable batteries
  • Use refillable, pump-spray bottles
  • Buy readily recyclable products and participate in the Otter Tail County Recycling Program
  • Buy recycled products - the recycling loop is not closed until we purchase products made from recycled materials.
  • At checkout, don't take a bag if you can do without
  • Avoid aerosol cans
  • Avoid disposable, single-use items
  • Buy concentrates
  • Buy in bulk, when practical
  • Buy long-lasting products that can be repaired
  • Buy non-hazardous products
  • Buy only what you need
  • Look for least-waste packaging
  • Rent or borrow instead of buying, this works great when you may only use the item a few times
Reducing Unwanted Mail
There are 3 easy steps to reduce unwanted mail. Be aware that most of these steps take 6 - 8 weeks to go into effect.

Mail Preference Service
Households can significantly reduce their advertising mail by registering with the Direct Marketing Association's Mail Preference Service. For more information, go online at DMA Consumers or call 1 212-768-7277.

Individual Mailers
Call, write, email, or use web sites. Sample language: "Please remove my name from your marketing database. In addition, please do not pass along my name to others through mail list sales or trades. Thank you for your cooperation."

Credit Offers
The nation's major consumer credit bureaus - Equifax, Experian, Innovis and Trans Union - have established a toll free number to get off lists for preapproved credit card offers. The recording will ask for your social security number, full name,
address and telephone number. 1-888-5-OPTOUT or 1-888-567-8688

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