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Waste Prevention

Preventing waste is one of the most important parts of sustainable materials management. We can stop waste before creating it, which helps reduce the environmental impacts associated with the full life-cycle of those materials. Materials have carbon footprints before they make it to their “end-of-life” disposal.

Waste Prevention Pyramid. From most preferred to least preferred: rReduce, Reuse, Recycle, Compost, Energy Recovery, Landfill

Oregon’s consumption-based greenhouse gas emissions in 2015 show that 98.6% of the greenhouse gas emissions resulting from the consumption of materials in Oregon occur during the production and supply chain, transportation, wholesale and retail, and use life-cycle phases. This leaves 1.4% of emissions occurring in the post-consumer disposal life-cycle stage. While material recycling, recovery, and proper disposal are important parts of reducing the impacts of materials, these strategies on their own do not adequately address the vast majority of emissions. Waste prevention can yield a more significant reduction in the impacts of materials, which can be achieved through reduced material consumption, the continued reuse of materials, and repair of materials to aid in their reusability.

Here are some waste prevention tips:

  • Before buying, think “do I need this item?”
  • Rent or borrow items that you might not need often.
  • Prioritize shopping for pre-owned products whenever possible.
  • Shop locally, reducing shipping and packaging waste.
  • Buy high quality products which will last a long time and can be repaired.
  • Look for package-free or reduced packaging options.
  • Repair and re-use items instead of discarding.
  • Donate usable items instead of discarding.

Benton County’s Materials Management program aims to help our communities prevent waste before it occurs. Watch this video from DEQ to learn more:

Waste Prevention Resources:



  • Check out Useful Items from Corvallis-Benton County Public Library – Library of Things
  • Refillable Glass Bottles – Support refillable products when you shop
  • Choose reusable cups and takeout containers instead of single-use packaging
  • Use reusable bags for grocery store trips
  • Choose reusable water bottles instead of plastic water bottles


Business Waste Prevention

Food Waste Prevention – Wasted Food Wasted Money

More information on local Waste Prevention

Flyer on reducing waste over the Thanksgiving holiday. Source: Oregon DEQ

Supporting Documents

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