This month, the Otter Tail County Solid Waste Department kicks off a year-long campaign to increase awareness of the benefits of reducing and reusing. Research shows that people often think of recycling as the primary way to reduce waste, but reducing waste before it happens and focusing on reuse have a more positive environmental impact, said a news release from Otter Tail County.

Reuse doesn’t require the extraction and processing of virgin resources, and it also doesn’t require the energy and infrastructure that comes along with recycling. Recycling does help to reduce waste, but people often stop there.

“While we still want people to recycle everything they can, we also want people to approach purchasing as if nothing gets recycled. Recycling still uses resources, like energy and water resources – to turn waste into new stuff. If you can choose a refillable or reusable option over a recyclable one, that is the best choice.” said Otter Tail County Recycling Manager Rena Simon.

The Choose To Reuse campaign will focus on different reuse topics through the year including:

  • Easy swaps to move from disposable to reusable
  • Project ideas for creative ways to reuse
  • Reuse business highlights
  • A thrift store challenge
  • Showings of a documentary about reuse
  • Stickers reminding shoppers to "Bring Your Own Bag"
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Watch out for more information throughout 2021 tagged with #ChooseToReuseOTC, and make this the year choose to reuse, not just recycle. For a list of reuse resources in Otter Tail County, visit, and make sure to follow the county on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, and subscribe to our seasonal e-newsletter News You Can Reuse to stay up to date on waste reduction and disposal topics.