Action 092: Adopt the 3 ‘R’s as your mantra

Reduce Reuse RecycleDate: 02 April
Action: 092
Cost of taking action: £/$/€ NIL or SAVES MONEY

 

From our guest writer Barbara in Scotland

Action 092: Start thinking about consumption more broadly with the three R’s

Reduce, reuse, recycle

Have you heard about the ‘waste hierarchy’? If you’d like to find out more, you can check it out here, however today we’re going to focus on the 3 top steps from it – Reduce, Reuse and Recycle; the three R’s

First step – Reduce

Let’s start with reduce – first on the list, hence the most important, yet so difficult to achieve as we are so used to buying.

And generally, there’s nothing wrong with that until we start overbuying … and that’s related not only to food but many other products such as clothes, electronic gadgets and cosmetics. Therefore, before you purchase 10 pots of yogurts instead of the planned 3 just because they’re on offer, please stop for a moment and think whether you’re really going to eat them all – or will they end up in a bin!?

When you browse the internet and see that beautiful red top, or when your mobile phone provider encourages you to upgrade your phone (even if you just bought a new one not so long ago) please stop and give it a deep second thought – do you really need it now?

Change of our purchase habits will result in reduction of new items production and that will reduce our impact on the environment. We all need to learn to buy responsibly which means only when we really need something. In our consumerist society, we even buy sometimes just because we’re bored!

Second step – Reuse

Next step is reuse. So what’s that all about?

Well, if we can’t resist and buy unnecessarily, we can at least try to reuse products, instead of buying new ones every time.

This could be anything, for example a t-shirt which, if well looked after, can last for many many years. And even when it ends its life and becomes so stained or ripped that can’t be worn any more, it can still be used – for example, as a cleaning cloth.

ReuseAny type of packaging left behind when a product is used or eaten – jars, plastic trays, foil bags, paper wraps – they can be given a second life and reused again, for the same purpose or, if you’re creative enough, for something completely different. For example, a gift bag can be used again for someone else’s present or even if not in good enough state for that, cut into pieces and repurposed as a part of hand made card or a name tag.

Reuse means regrow and repair too!

Have you heard about regrowing? It’s a form of reusing as well. Many fresh herbs or vegetables such as leek or spring onions can be easily regrown, even in a glass of water. You can find more information for example here.

RepairRepairing is another form of reusing too. Years ago we all used to repair broken items when we could but unfortunately, these days, it’s too easy or we prefer to replace a damaged product with a new one. So, before you do that, next time please consider whether you (or someone in your family, or a friend) are able to fix whatever has been broken.

Third step – Recycle

And finally – recycling. We have already written several articles regarding this subject (please see #action 060 for example) so just in a few words here … Please recycle whatever you can and whenever it is possible. If we cannot re-use, think of this as being about giving the product a second life, but in other way. Recycling facilities are really easily available these days, so please use them to their full capacity.

What are the benefits of following the 3 steps of waste hierarchy?

  • by reducing our consumption we automatically reduce our carbon footprint as less production results in energy savings
  • a reduction in the need to harvest new raw materials
  • by reusing and recycling we simply reduce waste going to landfill, litter or our marine environment
  • another very practical consequence of reduction and reuse is saving money for yourself

So please, take action 092, think about the important three Rs and together we can significantly reduce our impact, as consumers, on the environment.

This article has been contributed by
Barbara Wysocka
Insta: @yourwastefreehome