Waste Prevention

Photo of fresh berries

Recycling and composting are great. But not creating waste in the first place is even better!

When you throw something away, even when recycled or composted, you are tossing all the resources that went into making it. And you are contributing to climate change in the process.

To save money and do the greatest good for the planet, prevent waste first at home and at work

Why waste prevention matters

Materials are central to our economy, our environment, and our communities.

Everything you buy or use starts by taking resources from the land, making them into a product, transporting it, using it, and then recycling, composting, or landfilling it. All this has big impacts on the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the soil where we grow food.
By taking action to prevent waste, you…

  • Save money by buying and using less.
  • Help our community by donating and sharing materials.
  • Reduce air and water pollution that hurt wildlife and human health.
  • Conserve natural resources, such as water, energy, land, and fuel.
  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change.

Waste prevention and climate change

The EPA estimates about 42% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions are caused by making, transporting, and disposing of materials. (Source: US EPA, Opportunities to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions through Materials and Land Management Practices, 2009)
That means that the everyday choices you make about what you buy and use don’t just impact you. They also impact your community and people all over the world.
We are already seeing climate change impacts in Seattle with hotter summers, smoke from regional wildfires, and shoreline changes due to rising sea levels. We are also thinking towards the future to protect our water supply from droughts as temperatures continue to increase.

Your choices matter. Choose to prevent waste!

Waste-Free Communities Matching Grant

SPU has an annual fund of $100,000 to support community-initiated and led waste prevention projects in Seattle. Businesses, nonprofits, community and neighborhood groups, schools, colleges and universities, health care and housing institutions, and youth and children's programs are eligible to apply. Learn more about the grant opportunity.