DALLAS – (Dec. 17, 2015) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) encourages everyone to think about a product’s entire lifecycle when it comes to waste. We all know how important it is to reduce, reuse, and recycle. But did you also know those actions are listed in that order for a reason? Reducing what we use—and using stuff carefully—are the most effective ways to save natural resources and help create a more sustainable future for our planet.
Making smart choices about what we buy, how we use it, and how we dispose of it can make a big difference in the amount of waste we produce and the greenhouse gas emissions associated with our consumption. The manufacture, distribution and use of the goods and food we rely on in our daily lives—as well as management of the resulting waste—all require energy. This energy mostly comes from fossil fuels, which are the largest global source of heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions.
Everything we use goes through a life cycle, and each stage of the life cycle has environmental impacts, including climate change. However, reducing the use of materials in every stage of the life cycle minimizes the environmental impact associated with the stuff we use. EPA’s feature the Life Cycle of Stuff helps show the effects of our stuff at each stage of its existence, from materials extraction to end-of-life management: http://www3.epa.gov/climatechange/climate-change-waste/life-cycle-diagram.html
Reduction and reuse are the most effective ways you can save natural resources, protect the environment and save money. Reduction prevents pollution caused by processing raw materials, saves energy, reduces greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change and saves money.
More on reducing and reusing: http://www.epa.gov/recycle/reducing-and-reusing-basics