Effective source reduction strategies depend upon solid planning and the setting of reasonable goals. The paper reviews source reduction programs and outlines options that might be considered by those considering source reduction as a strategy for addressing various components in the municipal solid waste stream. 'Source reduction' is a term used to describe techniques, strategies, and technologies that eliminate or reduce the volume or toxicity of waste materials. It is the first element in the widely cited waste management hierarchy that is proposed by the EPA and others as guidance for an effective waste management system. Source reduction may occur through the design and manufacture of products and packaging with minimum volume of material and for a longer useful life. Source reduction may also be practiced at the corporate or household level through selective buying habits and reuse of products and materials. Effective source reduction slows depletion of environmental resources, prolongs the life of available waste management capacity and can make combustion and land-filling of wastes safer in the short and long term by removing toxic constituents.