Reduce, reuse and recycle. These are the three R’s of resource management. Each is an important step in lessening our environmental impact by conserving natural resources, landfill space and energy, plus preventing pollution associated with extracting raw materials from the earth. But to come full circle and close the recycling loop, we must also buy products made from recycled materials.
REDUCE is the first R of the 3 R’s of waste reduction. It means using less from the start to make less waste in the first place. Reducing is one of the easiest and most effective ways you can prevent pollution, save money, conserve natural resources and help your community!
REUSE is the second R in the 3 R’s of waste reduction. You can reuse by using things again in another way. Choosing reusable items rather than disposable ones saves you money and significantly lowers your carbon footprint (the impact you have on your environment). One man’s trash is another man’s treasure!
RECYCLE is the third R in the 3 R’s of waste reduction. Recycling allows us to remake discarded materials into new products. This conserves our finite natural resources. Find out what to recycle in your Blue Bin.
BUY RECYCLED PRODUCTS — The last step to closing the loop. By choosing to purchase products made from recycled materials we create a market for the materials we put in our recycling bins.
“The real economic and environmental benefits of recycling are realized when products made from post-consumer recycled materials are purchased instead of products made from “virgin” materials. You’ll be surprised at the wide variety and high quality of materials that are available for your home, business or institution.”
— Missouri Recycling Association, www.mora.org
12 Easy Ways to Close the Loop
Use a reusable water bottle and fill from the tap rather than buying bottled water.
Use a ceramic mug for coffee and avoid disposable cups, like styrofoam or paper. Some coffee shops may let you bring in your own refillable thermos for coffee.
Bring your own reusable shopping bag to the grocery store. If you’re only picking up one or two items say, “No, thank you.” to a plastic bag.
Avoid continuously buying and using disposable dinnerware and utensils. Buy reusable cups, plates, napkins and utensils just once, then wash them and use them again and again!
Purchase fewer single-serving beverages and foods. Buying in bulk saves money per amount purchased and is made with less packaging material.
Store food in tupperware rather than disposable plastic bags or saran wrap.
Use only what is needed. Especially with paper towels, toilet paper and napkins.
Instead of buying something you’re not going to use very often, see if you can borrow it from someone you know. In the reverse, share excess with family, friends and neighbors.
If unwanted items are still in good, working condition donate or sell them to charities, shelters, group homes, senior centers, nonprofits, schools, youth programs, libraries, hospitals, used equipment dealers, family, friends or neighbors. Find places to donate your goods.
Buy CFL bulbs. They last 10x longer and use less energy than cheap incandescent bulbs. Many home improvement stores accept them for recycling.
Think twice before you print something, most documents can be saved and shared electronically. If you do print, be sure to print on both sides of the paper. Purchase paper made from recycled paper.
Power electronics with rechargeable batteries. They can be recycled easily at many home improvement stores.