Reduce/Reduction: to make something smaller or use less, resulting in a smaller amount of waste.
"Source reduction" is reducing waste before you purchase it, or by purchasing products that are not wasteful in their packaging or use.
A key part of waste "reduction" is "conservation"—using natural resources wisely, and using less than usual in order avoid waste.
You can practice reduction by selecting products that do not have to be added to landfills or the waste stream in general. This is really easy to do...
Think BIG! Buying in "bulk" (a large amount that is not divided into separate containers) gives you the best "product to package" ratio. Many stores allow shoppers to scoop out the amount they need of bulk goods like nuts or coffee. This considerably reduces waste and packaging materials. Or you can buy in bulk by selecting bigger quantities in a single box or package—for example, buy the largest box of toothpaste, dishwasher detergent, or cereal, rather than a series of small boxes. This not only reduces the waste (from having to throw out the old containers) but it will also save you money. Packaging is expensive, so buying in larger volumes reduces the unit cost.
Buy concentrates rather than diluted products—the result is less waste for disposal when it is empty.
Use durable goods longer. Durable goods are sturdy things like furniture or household appliances that can (and should) be used for many years. You can save money and reduce waste by keeping these items longer and repairing them when they break, rather than buying new ones.
Use durable items rather than disposable items whenever possible. For example, select reusable razors rather than the disposable one that you can only use a few times and then have to throw away.
Say NO to junk mail! Call toll-free numbers in unwanted catalogs and ask to be removed from mailing lists. Whenever possible, use the Internet to obtain (and pay) bills, news, catalogs, stock reports and other information that usually comes to your house in a paper format. Reducing paper reduces waste.
Start a garden. Food that you grow yourself does not have to be "processed" or "packaged", and no fossil fuels are needed to get it to the store and then to your house.
Start a compost or vermiculture bin to transform your household garbage (food wastes, coffee grounds, etc.), into a rich earth-like material that can be added to a garden to help plants grow. Grass, leaves, paper, and some other types of food can naturally decay and turn into compost, and that compost can then be put to good use in your garden. Replace lawns with mulched gardens that are just as pretty, but are better for our environment.