Waste Prevention

Reducing waste can require some forward thinking and planning but is not difficult. Follow these steps below for future purchases to help reduce the waste you generate.


Preventing waste is one of the best ways to fight climate change, pollution, and other environmental issues. In New York, solid waste management accounts for 12% of greenhouse gas emissions. Nationally, landfills account for 15% of methane, a greenhouse gas more potent than carbon dioxide, emissions in the country.

When you recycle or throw something away, you are also throwing away the energy used to make it (called embedded energy). All of that energy is lost forever if it is sent to the landfill as plastics do not biodegrade. Much of the embedded energy can be recaptured through recycling where it is converted back into workable materials to create new objects. However, recycling requires energy and fossil fuels to sort, bale, and manufacture into new products.

Choosing to purchase durable items with minimal and/or recyclable packaging, items made from recycled or renewable materials, or a better yet CHOOSING NOT TO BUY reduces greenhouse gas emissions and reduces the amount of waste sent to landfills.


Sean Cummings
Environment Program Lead

Last updated October 26, 2023