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Environment, Health and Safety Division

Waste Management

Waste Minimization

Berkeley Lab Recycling Guide

The Berkeley Lab supports the philosophy that prevention is superior to remediation.  The goal of waste minimization is to incorporate pollution prevention into the decision-making process at every level throughout the Lab.  Additionally, where waste generation is unavoidable, the preference is to reuse or recycle.


Source reduction is to garbage what preventive medicine is to health: a means of eliminating a problem before it can happen.

  • Reduce the amount of paper you use.
  • Use electronic transfer of information.
  • Reduce disposal costs: By decreasing office waste you can dramatically lower the costs of garbage pick-up service.
  • Reduce pollution: The manufacturing of new paper products from recycled materials results in a 74 percent reduction in air pollution and 35 percent reduction in water pollution.
  • Make two-sided printing and copying standard practice.
  • Remove your name from junk mail lists.
  • Use bulletin boards instead of circulating documents, or route documents rather than sending individual copies.
  • Use voice mail.
  • Store data on backup disks instead of printing it.
  • Edit drafts on computer screens.
  • Purchase and use computer printers that print on both sides of the paper.


Reusing an item is an effective means of reducing waste. Keep the following suggestions in mind the next time you go to the trash can.

  • Use the back of single-sided and continuous feed paper for rough drafts, notes, or scratch paper.
  • Make scratch pads by stapling together your scrap paper.
  • Reuse envelopes.


If you cannot first reduce or reuse, then please, recycle.

  • Did you know that recycling a stack of newspaper 10 feet tall saves one whole tree?
  • Only about 10 percent of old newspapers are recycled into new newspapers. Recycled newspapers are good for making cereal boxes and other containers (if the box is gray on the inside, it's from recycled stock), the insides of automobiles (the average car contains 60 pounds of recycled paper board containing newsprint), wallboard, and insulation.