Americans generate about 251.3 million tons of garbage per year.  What’s your impact?

Garbage isn’t always pleasant to think about, but how we manage waste has long-term environmental and economic consequences that can’t be ignored. Did you know that since 1960, the amount of waste generated in America has nearly tripled? Our society as a whole – consumers, corporations and governments – must think proactively about reducing our impact.You can make a difference! You, as a consumer, make two important choices every day that affect the amount of waste that we produce in Durham!

First you decide what products to buy or use.

By choosing recycled, recyclable or resuable products you can extend the life of a product and keep it out of the landfill. By purchasing a product with less packaging or a different kind of packaging you are reducing the amount of waste you produce every day! By purchasing recycled products you help create a market for the recycled material, “completing the loop.” Consumer demand is a powerful factor affecting the waste stream, and your decisions make a difference.

Second you decide what happens to the product when you are finished with it.

  • Can you reuse it? Can you recycle it?
    • Reducing consumption and reusing materials reduces pollution and greenhouse gas emission by lessening the need for factory production of new materials
    • Recycling lowers the amount of waste sent to landfills, and also lowers the amount of new materials being creating
  • Is it compostable?
  • Can someone else use it?

How it enters the waste stream is up to you, but by extending the amount of time it can be useful, you are reducing how much garbage Durham has to deal with.  Your decisions affect all of us.

Education: The vital link

At the core of Keep Durham Beautiful’s mission to reduce waste is our dedication to education. People need to know what choices they have.  They need to know which choices support sensible and sustainable ways of dealing with our waste. Knowing what our choices are gives us all the knowledge we need to take action on our own to improve the quality of life in Durham and beyond.