The phrase reduce, reuse, recycle refers to the recommended sequence of activities for treating materials to make better use of materials so that we create less damage to the environment. In addition to the primary advantages to our environment, these 3Rs also provide other benefits, such as financial savings.
These are also known as the environmental 3Rs. They are...
First, when possible, reduce or don't use resources you don't need. One of the easiest ways to do this is to stop using up things where you aren't making use of them. For instance, turn out the lights when you don't need them. Don't run the water when you aren't using it (turn it off while you brush your teeth). This is the best option because you not only save resources by not using them, you also leave them available for then they are used, and there are frequently other resources saved by note needing to create more. For example, if you save water usage, you have also saved the energy needed to purify and pump that water, and often, the resources that will be expended in sewage treatment.
Second, by reusing, we also reduce the amount of new resources that will be used. Reuse can be facilitated by using objects that are sturdy or built well. When you use standard dishes instead of paper plates, you reduce the amount of waste that is created.
The third category is often the one we think of first. Recycling is good for the environment, but not as good as the first two choices. Recycling takes energy.
Ideas for potential implementationEdit
More ideas about how to reduce, reuse and recycle below. Please feel free to add yours. (And follow the links to the related pages for each of the three R's for more suggestions.)
Do you need that thing you're considering buying? Maybe you'd really be better off without it? You'd probably have more money for other things (vacation?), you wouldn't have to store and take care of it? Would you be better off borrowing, renting, or sharing it? Sometimes friends or neighbors can save money and space by buying and sharing some things that they only need occasionally (perhaps a carpet cleaner or circular saw).
When you reduce in one way, it can affect other items too. For instance, if you share or rent tools, you may need less storage space. By using dishes instead of paper plates, you reduce the amount of waste that is created.
Another way to "reduce" is to purchase items that reduce the other things you'll need. For instance, by purchasing more energy efficient appliances you'll reduce the amount of energy you use. By selecting items that last longer, you reduce the number of replacements you'll need.
A related lifestyle is called minimalist.
If you can't reuse it yourself, do you know someone else who can? There are many services (some online like freecycle) that will help match up people who no longer need or want things with people who could use them.
A bit of paint or other cosmetic change can often update furniture for use in a different room or in a redecorated place.
A related term is "repurpose". Items are adjusted and sometimes used for a different purpose. For instance, cloth from old clothing can be turned into a quilt. Rubber from old tires can be woven into welcome mats or used as soling for new shoes. People come up with many creative ways to reuse old items or the materials in them.
Do you have some additional, good suggestions that you would like to add to the article on reusing?
Turn in bottles, paper, cardboard and other items into formal recycling programs. Many places have effective recycling programs.
Try to recycle old items by making them into new items. This is informal recycling -- turning old unrepairable clothing into cleaning rags or taking wood from something that is broken and using it to build new furniture.
Organize recycling activities.
Using the "3Rs" is good for the environment by using up fewer resources. It's useful for society because more people get to benefit from items that are reused and recycled. Recycling is often cheaper than finding and refining new materials. Less space must be devoted to landfills and garbage dumps.
- global stewards with a long list of ecotips "Environmental Tips (All Eco Tips in our Eco-Friendly Living Guide)"
- 5 Ways to Greenify Your Home: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
- Reduce, Reuse, Recycle article on the U.S. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) Web site
- How To Save The Planet Helpful Tips And Articles on Preserving the Environment and the Planet
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
- Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) on The 3R's Still Rule
- Wikipedia's article on Waste hierarchy
- Waste hierarchy on the Green Wikia