Three Rs to Close the Loop

Reduce, reuse and recycle are the basic tools of waste prevention. When fully implemented, these steps can help to effectively and efficiently make the best use of natural resources. To learn more, contact a waste prevention and recycling specialist by email or call 503-846-3605.


By planning ahead and making careful purchases, you can significantly reduce the waste you and your family generate. Creating less waste to begin with conserves natural resources. It also reduces the demand for transportation and storage, and lessens the demand for collection services and landfill space.

  • Use both sides of paper and extend its use by two!
  • Replace disposable items like paper plates, coffee mugs and napkins with durable ones.
  • Use a shopping list to limit impulse buying.
  • Use durable bags  to tote your groceries home.
  • Choose whether to receive phone books, catalogs and more!
  • Learn more about waste prevention actions here!


The more materials we reuse, the fewer resources are used to produce new products.

  • Explore what other uses an item has before the product is discarded or recycled.
  • Carry your own reusable bag to the store to conserve resources used to develop plastic and paper bags.
  • Maintain or repair household goods rather than replacing with new.
  • Create a new purpose for old items and extend their useful life.
  • Donate, sell, or trade unwanted items. Consider joining a Freecycle network in your area or log on to Craigslist to find treasures or offer up unwanted items for cash/trade. 


By purchasing recycled-content products, you help to 'close the loop' and support a market for products made from recyclables. Manufacturers will use recyclables as feedstock to create new products and reduce the need to harvest natural resources. Through your efforts to reduce or reuse products, your waste generation will decrease! Great job!

Prepare recyclables properly to maintain their value in the marketplace.

  • Recycle paper, plastic bottles, buckets and tubs, scrap metal and cans.
  • Rinse cans and containers, and keep paper dry.
  • Recycle glass separately. Put glass in a container separate from other recyclables.
  • Use a plastic bucket or tub to collect glass and place it next to your other recyclables on collection day.
  • Keep plastic bags out of residential recycling - take these items to grocery stores or locate a recycler for this material.