Waste Reduction

Americans generate 250 million tons of garbage per year.  
What’s your impact?

Garbage isn’t something we want to think about every day, but managing waste has long-term environmental and economic consequences that can’t be ignored. Since 1960, the amount of waste generated in America has nearly tripled. Our society as a whole – consumers, corporations and governments – must think proactively about reducing our impact.

Keep Ohio Beautiful believes that every consumer makes two important choices that affect the amount of waste in America:

  • What products we choose to buy or use, and
  • How we choose to dispose of the product when finished with it.

At the point of purchase or use, consumers have the opportunity to consider a product, its packaging, how it is constructed, whether it can be reused or recycled, and whether it is made from recycled materials. By choosing recycled, recyclable or reusable products, we can extend the functional life of a product and divert it from the landfill.

Purchasing recycled products also helps by creating a market for the recycled material, “completing the loop.” Consumer demand is a powerful factor affecting the waste stream, and our decisions make a huge difference.

Once a product has reached the end of its functional life, consumers decide how it will enter the waste stream. Reusing, recycling or composting waste materials is always the ideal option.

Managing Waste
Most communities take an integrated approach to managing their waste, employing several tactics in combination for the greatest effectiveness.The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has prioritized integrated waste management options in a hierarchy in order of least-to-most environmental impact. Most communities use some or all of these options. Click to learn more about:

Extended Producer Responsibility
Community resources to grow and maintain effective waste reduction and recycling programs are increasingly and, in some cases, critically constrained.  This makes the current discussion over responsibility for the end-of-life management of products and packaging, and the allocation of that responsibility, even more urgent.  As part of our effort in advancing recycling, we endeavor to provide our stakeholders with information on Extended Producer Responsibility approaches, its evolution and implications.   Read KAB’s statement on EPR.


Waste in Place
Waste in Place is an elementary school curriculum supplement for teachers and students, focusing on litter prevention and responsible solid waste practices. The curriculum supplement for grades K-6 contains 33 lesson plans on many diverse subjects, including litter prevention, waste reduction, recycling, landfills, and much more.

Waste in Place

Waste In Place

With the support from the Wrigley Company Foundation, Keep America Beautiful completed a two-year process to transform its Waste in Place resource guide, which includes over 100 activities for pre-K to sixth-grade students. The Waste in Place kit includes multi-dimensional educational programs that encompass activities for classroom learning, as well as children’s books, a board and card games, and story cards. The materials are used nationwide by thousands of teachers to influence positive behavior, to foster social responsibility and respect for the environment, and to enrich their students’ learning experiences.
Cecile Carson
Waste in Place

Waste in the Workplace
Keep America Beautiful also has created a number of adult community education programs for businesses and others to use to encourage community environmental efforts. The Waste in the Workplace guide was first produced in 1991 to help businesses understand how and where waste is created during daily operations. Waste in the Workplace provides how-to information about conducting a waste audit, developing and implementing a waste-minimization plan, and how waste-reduction activities can actually result in cost savings.

Teacher Resources

1. Garbage Basics
2. Composting
3. Recycling
4. Waste-to-Energy
5. Landfilling