We have all heard of the three R’s: reduce, reuse and recycle. Now we can opt to use the Five R’s: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose, and Recycle.
Understanding the five R’s
Refusing to buy certain products can be the most effective way to minimize waste. You can refuse to purchase wasteful or non-recyclable products and instead buy items you can reuse multiple times. Some common examples are Ziplock bags and paper towels.
Reduce the use of harmful, wasteful, and non-recyclable products. Reducing dependency on these kinds of products can result in less waste materials ending up in the landfill. For example, if you have to print a multiple-page document, print double-sided to cut your waste output in half.
Reuse items instead of buying new ones. The rate at which we consume plastics has become unimaginable, and the plastic crisis has become one of the world’s most significant environmental challenges. Begin by focusing on one area of your life at a time. Replace all of the single-use or reusable alternatives. Opt for bringing your own mug when you get coffee to go or use cloth hand towels in the kitchen.
Repurposing or up-cycling items is the process of transforming by-products, waste materials, and useless, or unwanted products with a new purpose. Everyday items you can save from the trash and instill with new life are glass jars, containers, gallon jugs, clothes, and towels.
Recycling is a great option if you cannot do any of the above R’s first. Recycling is one activity that allows everyone to do their part in bettering the environment. Some items that can be recycled are rigid plastics bottles, paper, cardboard, and glass. Some things that can not be recycled are loose plastic bags, foam cups or containers, and soiled food items. Read more about what can and can’t be recycled.