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Waste Reduction
You are likely familiar with the three R’s: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. How about the other two: Refuse and Rot? This page provides an overview of how you can use the five R’s to reduce waste and your impact on the environment. 

The best way to reduce waste is to Refuse. Avoid products designed for one use that can last for years in a landfill such as straws; plastic lids and bags (including produce and snack bags); beverage containers; coffee cups, sleeves, and pods. Either skip these single-use items or use your own reusable version.

When you cannot Refuse, then simply Reduce. Choose items with minimal or no packaging, such as bar soap or bulk food. Use reusable water bottles and shopping bags to avoid plastic pollution of our creeks and ocean. Reusing products will help you save money, reduce waste, and preserve valuable resources.

When you cannot Refuse, Reduce or Reuse, make sure to Recycle. Take care that the right items go in the recycling. Buy products made from recycled content. Look for items with “post-consumer” material to save the natural resources — trees, water, and energy — used to produce new products.

The final “R” — Rot — means creating a valuable resource from food waste and organics such as newspaper. Recycle your fruit, vegetables, and yard trimmings into nutrients for your soil by home composting.

By using the five R’s you can decrease the waste that can end up in our landfills where it can produce greenhouse gases and other pollution. Keep valuable items out of the landfill and help San José achieve its Zero Waste goal.

Share how you reduce waste by posting a photo on social media with the hashtag, #keepSJclean.

Refuse, Reduce, Reuse

  • Many coffee shops will give you a discount for bringing your own cup.  
  • Purchase rechargeable batteries, such as camera batteries that can be recharged through a USB. 
  • Follow these tips to reduce food waste at home and beyond
  • Donate and shop at thrift stores.
  • Give the gift of an experience. Purchase restaurant gift cards; tickets to a play, concert, sporting event, Happy Hollow Park & Zoo, or the movies. You can also donate to a charity on someone's behalf. 
  • Use "share" programs for cars, bicycles, equipment, clothing, and more and avoid storing things you rarely use. 
  • Opt out of junk and paper mail by signing up for Catalog Choice, e-billing, and e-statements. 
  • For meals you take with you such as your lunch, use reusable plates cups, utensils, napkins, snack bags, etc. San José's Bring Your Own Bag and Foam Food Container ordinances have helped reduce Waste and litter.