What can you do to reduce waste?

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
There is a reason "reduce" is the first of the three Rs. The easiest way to manage waste is to not create it in the first place.
The links on this page are here to get you started with ideas for waste reduction. They are not meant to be endorsements for any specific websites or products.
Post your projects and successes and ask questions on Facebook or Twitter @PierceCo #lesswaste
Tips to Reduce Waste
Think reusable! Bags, coffee cups, lunches, etc. | Look for products made with recycled content. | Buy things that will last.
Get Crafty
Shimmering Stacked Paper Trees
Make this project
Homemade Holiday Food Gifts
Edible gift ideas
Felt Tree Wine Bottle Covers
Make this project
What's For Dinner?
Plan your meals to help reduce the amount of edible food thrown in the garbage.

Each week, the average Pierce County household throws away three pounds of edible food. Multiply that by all of the households in the county and it quickly adds up to 15,000 tons of wasted food going to the landfill every year.

A simple way to waste less food is to plan meals ahead of time and shop for groceries with a list. If that's easier said than done, we can help you get started.

Learn more and find meal planning tips

Request a free meal planning note pad
Experiences = Waste-Free Gifts
The holidays can be stressful (and wasteful). This year, try giving the gift of an experience to someone you love. Here are just a few suggestions for things to do in Pierce County:

Ice Skating at SprinkerChoose Your Own Adventure
Spend a day together! Go to a movie, bake cookies, go fishing, make crafts, play games or visit a park. The possibilities are endless.

Children's Museum of Tacoma
LeMay Family Collection at Marymount
Meeker Mansion

Performing Arts
Tacoma Arts Live
Tacoma Musical Playhouse
Lakewood Playhouse
Tacoma Little Theatre
Puyallup Children's Theater
Northwest Trek
Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium

Sports and Outdoor Attractions
Tacoma Rainiers
Ice Skating at Sprinker Recreation Center
Scenic Mt. Rainier Gondola Ride
Fantasy Lights at Spanaway Park
DIY Holiday Gift Wrap
chalkboard gift wrap Sparkly presents look oh so pretty but metallic, foil and glitter wrapping paper is not recyclable. Try the ideas below and find many more ideas online!
Recyclable Gift Wrap
Non-metallic printed gift wrap + reusable sparkly ribbons, bows and tags
Chalkboard Gift Wrap
Colored Kraft paper or grocery bags + white paint pen
Love Your Leftovers
Use these tips to avoid wasted food this Thanksgiving.

forkUse leftovers as ingredients for future meals.
The internet abounds with recipes that use leftovers. And it’s not just turkey. Make waffles out of leftover stuffing, add cranberry sauce to a grilled cheese sandwich or to replace the jelly in a PB&J. You can also use up extra vegetables by tucking them into a turkey pot pie.

Send your guests home with a snack for later.
If you think you have more than you can eat over the next few days, pack up leftovers for your guests in reusable containers like empty yogurt and dairy tubs.
upcycleReuse items you would normally recycle or throw away by making fun garden art.

DIY projects to get you started.
Understanding Food Package Dates
datesWhen you make a decision based on the date on a package, you are likely to throw away food that is safe to eat.
Learn about package dates (savethefood.com)
Herbs That Stay Fresh for Weeks
how to store fresh herbsCooking with fresh herbs like parsley and cilantro enhances a meal, but how do you make them last longer?

Try these tips from Serious Eats to keep herbs fresh.
Green Cleaning
green cleanOur favorite recipe for all-purpose cleaner. You'll save money and you'll know exactly what's in it. Have fun experimenting with different combinations of essential oils.
Mason Jar Magic
plant in a jarIs there anything a glass canning jar can't be reused for?
Herb Garden
Soap Dispenser
Portable Meals
LEGO pencil holder
DIY Project
snack bags Reducing waste shouldn't be a chore. Have fun making your own reusable items. If you are handy with a sewing machine try making your own reusable sandwich and snack bags.
Compost Your Food Waste
worm binIt's easy to compost your food waste at home with a worm bin. You don't need a lot of space and the compost makes a great fertilizer for your plants. Take a free class to learn how to get started.