“Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” Municipalities
Wasted materials cost time, energy, and money, and can negatively impact the environment. These resources can help communities reduce waste and save money.
Tips to Make Less Waste
Simple ways to reduce the amount of waste you generate, and often save money, include:
- How to start a repair clinic [pdf] - Community repair clinics can encourage residents to repair belongings instead of disposing of them.
- Resources for repair [pdf] - These "how-to" resources detail every step needed to repair items from clothing to smartphones to vehicles.
- Borrow or rent items such as tools and equipment instead of buying. Ask your vendors to provide you with leasing options before you buy.
- Use durable, reusable items instead of disposable, such as washable cups, plates, and cutlery.
- Buy upgradable computers. If you can upgrade with a single component, you may save money.
- Go paperless – set up electronic filing systems and reclaim valuable space in your town office!
- Set printers to automatically print double-sided.
- Reduce or remove trash can liners where feasible.
- Managing and Reducing Wastes: A Guide for Commercial Buildings – The U.S. EPA has created this step-by-step guide for reducing commercial building waste
- Organics Management – organics can make up 40 percent of our waste stream, but separation and recovery puts these potential resources to good use
Reuse Building and Office Supplies
- Alltech – (Portland and Bangor) donate or shop used assistive medical equipment. Check the website to see what items are available to purchase or accepted for donation.
- Environmentally Preferable Purchasing – Maine’s guide to purchasing products without toxics, to be energy-efficient, and to be easily recycled.
- Everyone's Resource Depot - Located in Farmington, companies donate unwanted goods so they are available for reuse by the public.
- Furniture Friends (Portland) – This furniture bank in Portland distributes usable furniture that would have gone to the landfill to people in need.
- Goodwill, Salvation Army, and Threads of Hope – all operate resale stores in Maine and accept donations of used clothing and gently-used household items. Goodwill also recycles textiles that are no longer wearable such as torn clothing and single shoes and socks. Donate unwanted items to support their socially-responsible missions.
- Habitat for Humanity ReStore - ReStores sell new and lightly used building materials, fixtures, furniture, appliances, tools, and other surplus items donated by individuals, contractors, and businesses to help fund the construction of Habitat homes. The stores are in Bangor, Ellsworth, Kennebunk, Portland, Rockport and Topsham.
- Maine State Surplus Property - Surplus materials from state departments made available to state, public, and non-profit organizations.
- PC's for Maine – A non-profit program that accepts computer donations and provides computers and information to increase access to computers to individuals, families, schools and other non-profits.
- Swap, sell or buy tools, equipment, and materials through Uncle Henry’s, Maine Craigslist, and Maine Freecycle
Recycling Program Assistance
- Consider hosting a swap shop at your transfer station or recycling center so residents can trade usable items and keep them out of the trash
- Best Contracting Practices for Municipal Recycling – Guidelines developed by the Solid Waste Association of North America and the National Waste and Recycling Association.
- The Recycling Partnership offers data, information, grants, and educational resources to help improve both the quantity and quality of recyclable materials your program collects.
- Transfer Station and Recycling Center Handouts - The Northeast Waste Management Officials' Association (NEWMOA) has created handouts that promote waste reduction practices, including, reuse and recycling, and properly disposing of problem items.
- Bulky Waste Publications - NEWMOA has also created a series of publications to help rural communities deal with disposal of bulky wastes, including mattresses, large rigid plastics, carpet, and furniture.
- Maine Resource Recovery Association assists communities and businesses with marketing of recyclable and reusable materials, promotes recycling, and fosters professional practices in support of environmentally sound solid waste management in Maine.
- Northeast Recycling Council (NERC) - NERC's mission is to advance an environmentally sustainable economy by promoting source and toxicity reduction, recycling, and the purchasing of environmentally preferable products and services.
Maine DEP is providing this information as a courtesy, and does not recommend or endorse any particular organization or product.
For more information, contact Megan Pryor 207-314-3357