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Originally published Tuesday, July 31, 2012 at 7:52 PM

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Tips to reduce household waste during strike

Here are some tips to help you reduce the amount of waste your household produces during the Waste Management strike.

Special to The Seattle Times

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Tip 1. Cute down on consumption. Yes I know it will hurt the economy but be kind to... MORE
I suspect the Amish don't have this type of problem... MORE
Those plastic bags sure do come in handy at a time like this. Oh. Wait. Never mind. MORE

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Though certainly annoying at times, a garbage strike like the one affecting parts of Seattle and the surrounding area provides a green opportunity to consider how much trash your household generates, and how you can reduce it. Try these waste-prevention tips:

Recyclables

• If you need to buy a large item with lots of packaging, ask a store employee if you can leave some of the packaging there (especially if the store's garbage is getting picked up).

• Choose products with less packaging. Purchase products in bulk, but only if you know you will use up the entire contents.

• Instead of buying single-use water bottles by the case, pull out that lonely, seldom-used reusable water bottle from the cupboard and fill it from your tap.

Garbage

• For households with small children: If you use a combination of disposable diapers and washable cloth diapers, now is a great time to lean heavier on the cloth.

• If you don't want to wash your own diapers, sign up for a cloth-diaper service such as Baby Diaper Service, covering much of the Puget Sound area, or Sunflower Diaper Service, serving part of North Seattle.

• To reduce odors in the garbage cart, consider triple-bagging potentially smelly items such as pet waste. Reuse old plastic bags such as grocery-store produce bags or newspaper bags (Seattle's new plastic-bag ban does not include either of those).

Food scraps, yard waste

• Use up leftovers before they turn into science projects that you have to toss. The BigOven website (bigoven.com/recipes/leftovers) offers bountiful recipe ideas, and when you choose three leftover ingredients it provides suggestions on what you can make.

• To temporarily reduce the amount of food scraps going into your yard-waste cart, store them in the freezer or a spare refrigerator. Use compostable bags for food scraps.

• Leave grass clippings on the lawn when you mow or stop watering and mowing the lawn for a while. Grass clippings in the yard-waste cart get stinky in a hurry this time of year.

Tom Watson, with King County's Recycling and Environmental Services, writes the EcoConsumer column for The Seattle Times. Reach him at tom.watson@kingcounty.gov or 206-296-4481. On Twitter: @ecoconsumer

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