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Water: Marine Debris

What You Can Do at Home

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Assessing and Monitoring Floatable Debris Basic Information Interagency Marine Debris Coordinating Committee International Coastal Cleanup Laws and Regulations Marine Debris Factsheet Marine Debris Home Marine Debris Impacts Marine Debris Sources Monitoring and Research National Marine Debris Monitoring Program Marine Debris Prevention Toolkit Prevention, Control, and Reduction What You Can Do Other Resources

At Home

No matter where your home is located, whether it is in Topeka or Tampa, small changes at your home can help reduce the amount of marine debris. The list below offers some simple tips that you can use in your home, yard, or neighborhood to reduce waste and decrease marine debris.

Reduce, reuse, recycle

Look for opportunities to reduce, reuse, and recycle. Reduce the amount of waste you produce by using products that have recyclable or reusable containers. Avoid purchasing products with excessive packaging. Find out what your town recycles (Earth911 Exit EPA Disclaimer ), and make sure you recycle it. This can include newspapers, plastic containers, plastic beverage bottles, paper, aluminum cans, and other goods. Support recycling markets by buying products made from recycled materials (Buy Recycled). Find opportunities to replace disposable goods with reusable items; for example, use reusable plates rather than disposable plates at your next barbeque. Reducing, reusing, and recycling in your home reduces pollution from resource extraction, manufacturing, and disposal; conserves energy; and reduces marine debris. For more information and tips on waste reduction and recycling visit the EPA's Office of Resource Conservation and Recovery Consumers Handbook for Reducing Solid Waste.

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What Materials Can Be Recycled?
Plastic bottles and bags can be recycled. Find out what other materials can be recovered for recycling (Common Wastes and Materials).

Dispose of trash properly

Dispose of trash properly, using the appropriate garbage and recycling receptacles. These containers should have lids and be big enough to contain your trash and recycling so nothing sits outside of the container. Recycle as much of your trash as you can, following your neighborhoods guidelines. Don't litter - anything you throw on the ground can end up in our waterways. Pick-up trash from the sidewalks and streets around your home. Both proper disposal and picking up loose trash will reduce the amount of trash that ends up in your neighborhood's streets and finds its way into storm drains, sewers, and waterways.

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Secure receptacles

Ensure trash and recyclable receptacles outside the home are appropriately maintained and secured. Proper maintenance helps to prevent accidental loss of trash or other items which can be blown or carried into storm drains, sewers, and waterways.

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Did You Know?
Recycling 85 million tons of municipal solid waste, or trash, saved the energy equivalent of 10.7 billion gallons of gasoline (EPA 2007).

Spread the word

Tell family, friends, and neighbors about ways to prevent trash from becoming marine debris. Find out more ideas and information on educating others on source reduction and recycling practices. If your town or municipality does not have a recycling program, encourage them to start one and direct them to EPA's Tools For Local Government Recycling Programs.

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