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Source Reduction - Multi-Family Properties



What is Source Reduction?
Eliminating waste before it is created. It involves the design, manufacture, and purchase of materials and production to reduce the amount or toxicity of what is thrown away. Best of all, practicing source reduction can save you money!
Source Reduction Tips


  • Purchase items in bulk or economy sizes 
  • Purchase products which are available in concentrated form 
  • Purchase items in reusable containers 
  • Purchase only those items you need. 
  • Purchase products with the least amount of packaging. More of your dollar goes towards the product instead of packaging. 
  • Purchase high-quality, long-lasting products 
  • Repair older items rather than purchasing new ones 
  • Reuse plastic or paper grocery bags when shopping. Better yet, use cloth or mesh bags to hold your purchases. 
  • Use cloth towels, napkins and rags instead of disposable paper products which cannot be recycled 
  • Avoid using disposable cups, plates and cutlery 
  • Save bows, tissue paper, Styrofoam peanuts and gift boxes to wrap gifts in the future 
  • Use rechargeable batteries whenever possible 
  • Donate back issues of magazines to schools for use in school projects or offer them to a doctor's office for patients to read while waiting 
  • Purchase non-toxic items whenever possible 
  • Donate unwanted items (food, clothing, equipment, furniture, appliances) to charitable organizations which support your community 
  • Reupholster furniture instead of purchasing new pieces
  • Rent infrequently used tools or equipment 
  • Use the backs of old envelopes for store lists or phone messages 
  • Leave grass trimmings on your lawn to add nutrients back into the soil 
  • Plant perennials instead of annuals which will have to be disposed of at the end of the year 
  • Start a backyard compost pile, or use a compost bin to process organic wastes from your kitchen and yard. Finished compost can be used as a soil amendment to improve soil quality in gardens or flower beds, or as a top-dressing for lawn areas. Be sure to check with your property manager first to be sure that composting is allowed. 
  • Start an indoor redworm composter to process organic wastes from your kitchen. Finished compost can be used to pot or fertilize houseplants. 
  • Urge your property manager to add a recycling component to your trash collection if one does not already exist


Contact the Anne Arundel County Department of Public Works, Recycling and Waste Reduction Division for more information at (410) 222-7951


  • EPA, Waste Prevention Pays Off, (EPA/530-K-92-004), (800) 424-9346
  • EPA, Business Guide for Reducing Solid Waste, (EPA/530-K-92-004), (800) 424-9346
  • EPA, Reusable News, quarterly newsletter, (800) 424-9346

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Anne Arundel County, Maryland. 44 Calvert Street, Annapolis, Maryland 21401 | Tele: (410) 222-7000