Reduce Reuse Recycle & Other Rs

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Reduce Reuse RecycleIf you practice the 3 Rs of reduce reuse recycle, you know that reduce is arguably the first and most important R. When your strategy is to reduce, you save an amount of energy and materials. As a consequence, less stuff needs to be manufactured. This reduces the need for recycling, but also for packaging, transportation, cleaning, disposal, and a bunch other costs, and is often considered the most sustainable option. There are a number of lesser known Rs besides the Big 3, and if you’ve spent any amount of time on our site, you’ll know there’s more ways to recycle than you thought! Here’s a look at some of those other Rs. Use them throughout your day and we’ll be on our way to…

Reclaim. Usable materials are gleaned from waste or by-products. Fabric, such as sweaters and any kind of wool, is often reclaimed and then made into other cool, upcycled things like scarves and pot holders.

Refurbish. Most of the time, we think of electronics are being refurbished, as an old or used device can be wiped of its memory or personal data and sold again as though it were new. Tons of computers, cell phones and are given second lives through this process, and the sector of the economy that supports it.

Refuse. When you’re at the checkout counter, simply say that you don’t need a bag because you remembered to bring a reusable one instead. Or, another opportunity to practice Refuse is if you get takeout from a restaurant. If you have items at home, skip the plastic silverware, napkins, and other utensils by letting them know you don’t need them. This saves usable stuff from going into the garbage.

Repair. Explore around our tag to get more ideas on how to fix your stuff instead of getting rid of it. Items like umbrellas, garden hoses, outdoor gear, sunglasses, and even some types of shoes are just a sampling of what can be stitched, patched, and generally repaired.

Renew. This concept applies to your outlook too. When it comes to being creative, anything old or worn out can be refreshed and renewed into something useful again. Check out 1000 Ideas for Creative Reuse: Remake, Restyle, Recycle, RenewCreative Reuse.

Renovate. It’s always refreshing to watch an old house or piece of furniture undergoing renovation. Start with something run down, add a bit of fresh paint or new fixtures, and you’re back in business!

Repurpose. When you repurpose an item, that means you’re using it for something other than what it was originally intended. For example, we talk about repurposing old cosmetics or film containers to carry or store small items or knickknacks.

If you are so inclined, just about any object is able to be repurposed. Look at what this artist made from a garden hose!

Rethink. This is an important step we all must take if we want to live in a cleaner, healthier world. We must rethink waste and rethink ways we interact and use the earth’s resources. Visit at least three other pages on our site to continue learning about ways to reduce, reuse, recycle, and a whole bunch of other Rs.

Photo top right: edkohler

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