Reduce and Reuse | City of Boise

Often, we think of recycling as the best option for disposing of our waste. But, recycling is not a perfect system. Many common waste items aren’t recyclable locally, for example, frozen food boxes and plastic clamshells, and the markets that accept certain items for recycling can change quickly making participating in recycling sometimes confusing.

Many of us are familiar with the “three Rs” – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – and how important each practice is in managing our waste and caring for our natural resources. What we may not remember is that the order of those “Rs” is intentional. One of the most environmentally responsible actions we can take as an individual is to reduce our consumption of materials and resources whenever possible, for example saying “No, thank you” when offered a plastic straw or stack of napkins you don’t really need. When that’s not possible, we can consider “Reuse” or reusing items we already have, like a reusable water bottle or grocery bag, or buying items used. When we can’t “Reduce” or “Reuse”, then we utilize our other Curb It Programs to responsibly manage our waste.

The Curb It Programs look toward the Waste Management Hierarchy when planning our current and future programs and initiatives. This hierarchy ranks waste management strategies and keeps us working towards the goal of sending less material to landfill.

Pyramid chart of most preferred and least preferred ways to dispose of waste

As the Ada County Landfill continues to fill and our recycling markets continue to be volatile, the City of Boise is moving toward a “Reduce and Reuse” mindset and hopes our community will join us in doing what we can, when we can, to not generate waste in the first place. Reducing the total waste generated in our community is a primary focus of the Climate Action Roadmap. With a strong commitment from our community, Boise aims to see real results in achieving our goals now and for future generations.

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