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Source Reduction

In the 2000 session of the Maryland General Assembly, the Senate passed a joint resolution creating a voluntary statewide waste diversion goal of 40 % by 2005. This goal consists of a 35 % recycling goal and up to 5 % credit for source reduction(SR). Source reduction is defined as "preventing waste from occurring which in turn prevents the need to manage it by recycling or disposal." Source reduction is the design, manufacture, purchase, or use of materials or products to reduce the amount of waste generated. It includes reuse, waste elimination, package reduction and substitution. Examples would include using rags instead of paper towels, packing lunches in reusable containers, buying in bulk, buying products with less packaging, composting, and donating usable items to those in need. Source reduction preempts the need to collect, process and/or dispose which results in lower costs, less traffic congestion, and less air pollution.

We encourage Garrett County Residents to practice source reduction and recycling in all their activities!
Source Reduction Facts
  • Since 1977, the weight of plastic soft drink bottles has been reduced from 68 to 51 grams each. That means that 250 million pounds of plastic per year has been prevented from becoming part of the waste stream.
  • When McDonald's reduced its napkin size by 1 inch, the company prevented 12 million pounds of paper from being thrown away each year. In 1999, McDonald's switched to lighter weight packaging for two of their sandwiches, conserving 3,200 tons of boxboard containers.
  • State Farm Mutual Insurance converted to digital cameras for their claims processing, saving more than 50 tons of instant and 35mm film.
(Source: EPA, 1996, 1999)