We’ve all heard the environmental trifecta of the three Rs: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle…but do you know what they really mean? Furthermore, did you know they are listed in order of importance?
The choice to be environmentally aware is a lifestyle, and cannot be attained by simply recycling alone (or reducing or reusing for that matter); none of these steps work as well alone, as they do together.
In honor of American Recycles Day on November 15th, this month’s E-Newsletter will break down what each of the three Rs mean, as well as a few tips you can easily take to become more environmentally well rounded, and reduce your footprint and overall waste in the process!
Reduce: This means exactly what it sounds like. Reduce the overall products we purchase, which eventually turn into waste.
Keeping an exact shopping list of only items you NEED will help you to avoid impulse buys at the grocery store, as well as force you to keep track of the sheer number of goods you are purchasing.
Try to buy only what you know you need. Worst case scenario; you might have to take another trip to the store a bit sooner than you thought. However the vast majority of Americans buy FAR more than they need. Look at an average pantry, I’ll bet it is stocked up with items no one is eating for dinner, they are simply there, waiting to be turned to waste.
This concept can be applied to clothing, accessories and “knick knack” items as well. Try to think before EVERY purchase, “Do I REALLY need this? Or will it end up in a corner for years, only to be eventually thrown out?”….which leads me to our next R…
Reuse: This means, re-use items as many times as possible, or indefinitely. Regardless of if they were meant to be used (or reused) the way you decide to utilize them.
Obviously, we urge you to take advantage of the reusable items we hear about most, (such refillable glass containers and reusable shopping bags). But what about, say, old tee-shirts?
Could that be a car shammy? A dust rag?
Instead of driving to the store and PURCHASING a shammy or duster, why not REUSE the tee-shirt you never wore instead of adding another item to your life. You will save money on gas, as well as emissions your car emits driving to the store…not to mention the emissions caused by the trucks that deliver those shammys, or the air pollution put out by the factory that makes them.
Imagine if we all reused just a few items, instead of buying them…the environmental possibilities are inspiring!
It is important to note, when you are out shopping (for ONLY what you need, with your re-useable bag) keep an eye out for recyclable items and packaging. This ensures that whatever waste you DO produce, can be recycled and will not end up in a landfill. By doing this you are even closer to producing zero waste, and it truly closes the loop on the three Rs.
The goal of zero waste and a reduced footprint starts with Reducing (buying ONLY what you need), continues by Reusing those products you DID buy and finally, Recycling the end products of items, or those that CANT be re-used and end up at the curb.
If you can incorporate the three Rs and these simple tips into your daily life, you will be one step closer to the goal of zero waste and certainly better-rounded in your environmental efforts.
Happy America Recycles Day!