Category: 

What does "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle" Mean?

Plastics, glass bottles, paper and cans can all be recycled into new items, saving energy and materials and reducing the amount of trash in landfills.
Aluminum food cans are recyclable.
Plastic water bottles can usually be recycled.
Old bath towels can becut and re purposed into kitchen towels.
When a community recycles, the amount of waste it generates is reduced.
Glass bottles can be recycled.
Recycling can be put in bins for later disposal.
Newspapers can be recycled into a variety of products.
Plastic plates made out of recycled plastic.
Recycling allows discarded materials to be repurposed and made into something new.
Adhering to the recycle trilogy means using more items made from recycled materials.
Using reusable canvas tote bags for shopping is better for the environment than using wasteful plastic shopping bags.
Article Details
  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 18 November 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
  • Print this Article
Free Widgets for your Site/Blog
General George Patton failed math and had to repeat his first year at the US Military Academy.  more...

November 21 ,  1969 :  The first Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPNET) link was permanently established for the first time.  more...

Sometimes referred to as the “New Three R’s”, the phrase “reduce, reuse, recycle” is a simple formula that encourages people, businesses, and municipalities to utilize goods that are already manufactured rather than continue to use only limited raw materials to produce replacement goods. While simplistic in nature, this formula is one that can easily be implemented in the home as well as in the wider community.

There are a number of different ways to engage in the process of reducing waste. One approach is to take a long look at the amount of disposable products we consume each year. Often, the task requires making a few simple lifestyle changes. For example, we discontinue the use of plastic plates, cutlery and cups in favor of a sturdy set of dinnerware. While they do require washing, these pieces can be used again and again as opposed to paper and plastic items that we toss into the trash after one use. Preventing waste involves modifying our habits so we only use what we need and no more.

Ad

Along with reducing the amount of disposable items we consume each year, there is also the task of reusing products we already own. In some instances, this means passing on an item to someone who can use it. Rather than discarding good clothing that no longer fits, the clothes are passed on to someone who can wear them. At other times, it means finding another use for an item. For example, old bath towels can be cut down into kitchen towels that will be ideal for drying dishes and wiping countertops.

The third key component in the reduce, reuse, recycle trilogy is recycling. This is where we gather up items we no longer need and allow the material to be used in the creation of new items. Many communities actively support recycling by providing citizens with color-coded plastic bags for items such as plastic jugs, glass jars, and old newspapers. The municipality picks up these filled bags and forwards the collected items to recycling centers. There, the materials are sorted, broken down, and submitted for use in manufacturing new items. In order to facilitate this process, many municipalities offer their citizens information on ways to recycle unwanted products effectively.

There are a number of advantages to adopting a lifestyle incorporating the concept of reduce, reuse, recycle. By minimizing the amount of disposable items consumed each year, valuable resources are redirected to manufacture products that are of more benefit to the community. On the home front, consumers become more self-sufficient and less dependent on the quick fix of using disposable items.

Next, consumers save money and time by repurposing older items. Doing so eliminates the need to schedule time for shopping or to spend money on new products. This translates into more time and money to do things with family and loved ones.

With recycling, everyone wins. Usable materials that would otherwise end up in a landfill go back into the manufacturing process, making it possible to manufacture products for less cost while lessening the drain on limited resources at the same time.

People of all ages and backgrounds can participate in this process of reduce, reuse, recycle in some manner. Take a look around your home today. There is a good chance you can identify at least a half dozen ways you can employ this strategy to good advantage.

Ad

More from Wisegeek

You might also Like

Discuss this Article

SteamLouis
Post 4

I really admire these efforts in the U.S. and Europe. But at the same time, I see other countries in the world, where poverty is rampant and people are so worried about taking food home to their families that something like recycling or reducing car emissions seems insignificant.

It's great that Americans are worried about resources and pollution but I think that these steps are not enough. The world belongs to all of us and unless everyone does their share, we will not get too far.

I also don't blame people in other countries. We cannot expect them to worry about these things when they have so many other problems. Every country needs to develop and have wealth and opportunities so that they can take some steps towards reducing, reusing and recycling.

What do you guys think?

discographer
Post 3

To follow the reduce, reuse and recycle principles needs knowledge but care too!

I always tell my family and friends what a difference we can make by changing some basic habits, like using re-usable shopping bags, sharing rides and donating old clothes. I think that everyone cares about the earth and anyone who reads the papers know that the earth's resources are not going to last us forever.

But people are a little lazy! Somehow, separating plastics, cans, paper and glass for the recycle box is too difficult. And people love those plastic grocery bags because they fit perfectly in the small trash bins at home. They don't realize that those plastic bags are going to remain in the earth for millions of years.

Thanks to conscious consumers and suppliers, many markets now have paper bags and reusable grocery bags available for shopping. Some cities take care of the recycling portion by separating recyclables and non-recyclables in the city's facilities. It's so easy to make a difference- if only everyone cared!

Post your comments

Post Anonymously

Login

username
password
forgot password?

Register

username
password
confirm
email