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Waste Not

Ordering information for Making Less Garbage by Bette K. Fishbein and Caroline Gelb, and tips on reducing waste.

The federal deficit isn't the only national component that's out of hand. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that America's solid-waste output will weigh 250 million tons by 2010, compared with 87.8 million tons in 1960. Let's at least try to stem the tide, pleads Making Less Garbage (Inform, 212-689-4040, 1993; $30), whose authors, Bette K. Fishbein and Caroline Gelb, detail the waste-prevention efforts that have already been undertaken by municipalities, institutions, and businesses, in the hope that others will copy them. From the strategies surveyed, here are a few paper savers that even small businesses can adopt:

Setting a goal to reduce office-paper waste by 15%, AT&T is promoting two-sided copying by programming copiers with two-sided copying as the default mode. At the first location to use this strategy, two-sided copying rose from 10% to 79%.

A waste-prevention team at Herman Miller determined that 80% of the furniture maker's products did not require complete cardboard and plastic packaging, since they were hauled by truck. The company now drapes chairs and desks in ordinary movers' blankets. The result: expenditures for corrugated cardboard are down by 20%.

By using two-way envelopes to bill its 250,000 customers, Central Hudson Gas & Electric keeps 3 million envelopes a year out of the waste stream.

Two supermarket chains pay cash for each grocery bag returned for reuse: Kroger's rebates 2¢; Giant Food, 3¢.

-- Robert A. Mamis

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Last updated: May 1, 1993

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