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Pacific Southwest, Region 9

Serving: Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Pacific Islands, Tribal Nations

Solid Waste Management on Tribal Lands

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Reduction, Reuse, Recycling and Buying Recycled

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Waste prevention; also known as "source reduction," is the practice of designing, manufacturing, purchasing, or using materials (such as products and packaging) in ways that reduce the amount or toxicity of trash created. Waste prevention helps create less waste in the first place— even before reuse or recycling.

Reusing items by repairing them, donating them to charity and community groups, or selling them also reduces waste. Reusing products, when possible, is even better than recycling because the item does not need to be reprocessed before it can be used again.

Recycling is defined as the collecting, manufacturing, and selling/buying of new products made from what once was thought of as waste.

When you buy recycled products, you save vital natural resources and help stimulate economic growth through environmentally preferable, or greener, technologies.

Final Report: Increasing Recycling and Related Green Business Opportunities for Northern Nevada Tribes (PDF) (75 pp, 1.2M)

The goal of this project is to identify mechanisms to increase recycling on the northern Nevada tribal lands and improve financial profitability. The diversity of locations and populations poses operational challenges to any kind of business, let alone one focused on recycling. At the same time, expanding and launching recycling-based businesses in Nevada (even given the allowances for tribal sovereignty) is made more onerous since there is no statewide mandate that creates a recycling market.

Tribal Environmental Directors from northern Nevada met with US EPA and Environmental Finance Center 9 (EFC) Exiting EPA (disclaimer) staff in July of 2008 to explore strategies for increasing recycling on the reservations. To see minutes from that meeting visit our Tribal Interagency Solid Waste Workgroup Web site. Some of the tribes are located near urban areas while others are miles from the nearest community. They have diverse populations and varying infrastructures in place to deal with discarded materials. Recycling programs range from curbside pick-up of paper, plastic, glass and metal to individual tribal members collecting material from family and neighbors and driving it to a recycling facility. Some tribes are interested in expanding existing programs and others in starting recycling programs. This study looks at the conditions for recycling to identify opportunities that would be relevant for tribes in northern Nevada.

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