Minnesota State Statute (115A.02) dictates that source reduction is the preferred waste management method – the top of the waste management hierarchy. Source reduction, also known as waste prevention, means not using a material or item in the first place. Reduction can lead to significant cost savings, as you pay for that material multiple times – the cost to purchase the material, handle and store it, process it, and ultimately dispose of it.
Examples of source reduction include:
- Strategic packaging protection
- Eliminating cosmetic painting
- Light-weighting products
- Using compost and mulch instead of mined fertilizer
- Using e-communications instead of paper
- Reducing toxicity in formulations
Reduce waste at the source by changing:
Examples of changing the process:
Examples of changing the procedure:
Examples of changing the product:
Learn more about identifying waste reduction opportunities on our Waste Assessments, Sorts, and Tools page.
The following companies have reduced their waste and emissions and are enjoying the benefits of lower costs and fewer regulations.
- K-Bar Industries (2002). This company manufactures metal outdoor-maintenance power equipment, shop equipment and parts and paints over paints over 3,000 parts/year using powder coating system. Through improved inspection of reject parts, increased operator awareness, process changes, and an upgraded paint system, the company saved $44,000 annually and reduced reject parts by 50%.
- Marathon Ashland (1998). Through an intern project, the company minimized solvent-based cleaning by installing new cabinet aqueous spray washer and eight new parts washers with filtration, using terpene first followed by solvent-based cleaner for final cleaning, and substituting foam cleaner with greater contact time and less water clean-up. In all, 40 gallons of chlorinated solvents were eliminated annually and the company is saving $39,000 a year.
- Medtronic (2001). By implementing Design for the Environment strategies into their product design, Medtronic is able to reduce waste and be more efficient.
- Cutting Wastes, Compliance Costs (MnTAP Source, 2002)
- Pollution Prevention Resource Exchange (P2Rx)
- Waste Reduction (MPCA)
- Waste Reduction Resources and Support (US EPA)
- Source Reduction Now!(MPCA)
- Business Guide for Reducing Solid Waste (US EPA)
- Waste Prevention and Sustainability: Case Studies for Local Governments
- Five ways to reduce waste and costs on your company's campus
Purchasing and Supply Chain
- Environmentally Preferable Purchasing (US EPA)
- Greening your supply chain (MnTAP)
- Environmentally preferable purchasing (MnTAP)
- Buying Green Case Studies
- Office paper reduction (MPCA)
- Paper Calculator: Determines environmental impact of use of paper, with options for different types of paper and recycled content percentages (Environmental Defense)
- Reduce your junk mail (MPCA)
- Steps for purchasing environmentally preferable paper
- Toxics Use Reduction Institute
- Safer Choice (US EPA)
- OECD Substitution and Alternatives Assessment Toolbox
- Transitioning to Safer Chemicals: A Toolkit for Employers and Workers (OSHA)
- Green Alternatives Wizard: database that provides information on alternatives to hazardous chemicals or processes
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