California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) 

Plastic Waste Prevention

Plastic waste prevention is the practice of reducing or eliminating plastic use so that the potential for plastic to be used inefficiently or disposed is prevented in the first place. Prevention is the most environmentally preferable means to reduce plastic waste.

CalRecycle Web Sites

Waste Prevention World: This Web site is about doing more with less. It's about resource efficiency and rethinking your daily activities so that you can consume fewer materials and generate less waste. The site includes links to the following additional CalRecycle sites.

Waste Prevention Information Exchange. A unique collection of over 1,000 articles, brochures, reports, videos, posters, and other materials that focus on waste prevention. You can use the Info Exchange to learn from others and share your successes.

Shipping and Distribution Partnership (Packaging). The Shipping and Distribution Partnership is a voluntary program to encourage businesses to adopt more efficient packaging and merchandise distribution systems. The goals of the program are to prevent waste, increase recycling, and increase the manufacture and purchase of packaging with recycled content. Practices that achieve these goals can save businesses money and reduce the amount of packaging that ends up in landfills.

CalMAX (California Materials Exchange Program). CalMAX helps match businesses and individuals possessing surplus materials (including plastic) with those that can use or recycle those materials. Many of these materials would be disposed if not for the match-making function of CalMAX. A free bimonthly catalog lists materials available and materials wanted. KidMAX, a special part of CalMAX, matches school supply needs with items and materials donated by businesses. Under this program, schools may place "want ads" in CalMAX, while firms donating may receive tax benefits.

Waste Reduction Awards Program (WRAP). WRAP provides an opportunity for California businesses to gain public recognition for their outstanding waste prevention and other waste reduction achievements. Successful applicants receive a certificate from CalRecycle along with a camera-ready WRAP emblem. Winners can use the emblem as they wish--on products, advertising, and promotional materials. Many WRAP winners have won their awards for their plastic waste prevention an reduction efforts.

Other Web Sites

Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle Waste: (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) This Web site provides information about:

  • EPA's WasteWise Program--a free, voluntary, EPA partnership program through which businesses, governments, and other organizations eliminate costly municipal solid waste, benefiting their bottom line and the environment.
  • Pay as You Throw--a method of billing for solid waste disposal services in which residents pay directly based on the amount of waste they generate.
  • Source Reduction and Pollution Prevention documents.

Plastics Resource. This site is sponsored by the American Plastics Council (APC) and promotes conservation, reuse, and recycling issues as they relate to plastics. Plastics Resource contains a range of information about plastics, how they are made, their usage and their impact on the environment. The site also contains reports and fact sheets on specific types of recycled products, a database of recyclable plastics buyers and sellers, a community recycling information kit (in both English and Spanish), and more. From this site, connect to APC's portal page for a gateway to the broad range of plastics information on the Internet, visit their Automotive Learning Center to learn about the use of plastics in automobile manufacturing, or link to Plastics Info for health-related issues.

CalRecycle Publications

Business Waste Reduction Publications: This Web site indexes all of CalRecycle's business waste reduction publications. Note: not all of the business waste reduction publications focus on waste prevention, nor on plastic. All publications are available in hard copy, and many are also online, either as HTML documents or as downloadable Microsoft Word documents.

Other Resources

National Waste Prevention Forum (NWPF). The NWPF is a list serve for those interested in sharing and obtaining information about waste prevention (related to plastic and otherwise). The Forum is administered and edited by Tom Watson, a nationally recognized waste prevention advocate. To enroll on the list serve, contact Tom at

Last updated: January 11, 2011
Plastic Recycling