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How Well Do You Know the 5 R’s

How Well Do You Know the 5 R's


It’s So Easy Being Green!

Many of us grew up learning about the 3 R’s of waste reduction—Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

But did you know there are actually 5 R’s that promote sustainability?

It’s true!

Introducing The 5 R’s


Understanding these eco-friendly concepts and putting them into practice is a great way to help eliminate waste and create a brighter future for generations to come.

With that in mind, let’s explore the 5 R’s of sustainability!


Sometimes, when I see a SALE sign at a storefront window, something primal takes over: I immediately begin to feel the urge to “save” on all of the things I could purchase at such a reduced cost!

But lately, I’ve tried to be more mindful of my purchases, because I’ve realized that there are things I need, and then there are things I simply want.

Cutting down on the things you want (but don’t really need) not only helps you keep your home free of excess clutter, it can actually help the environment!

1_refuseYou can start by saying “No!” to things like plastic bags, plastic water bottles and disposable coffee cups as well as other single-use items.

By eliminating unnecessary items like these from your life, you are helping the environment by refusing to create more waste—waste that often ends up in overcrowded landfills and pollutes our oceans.


When I think about the things I use and buy regularly, I ask myself, “Could I use less?”

Most of the time, the answer is a resounding “YES,” which has inspired me to cut down on frivolous spending.

2_reduceIf there’s anything you could cut down on, making that change could not only help the environment, it could also help your wallet!

In addition to reducing what you buy, there are other things you can do such as reducing the amount of water and electricity you use on a daily basis. This could help your budget and even shrink your carbon footprint, as detailed here in shrinkthatfootprint.com.


Many of the things we purchase and use every day are single-use and end up being thrown away eventually.

Whether it goes to an overcrowded landfill, becomes litter on the street or pollutes our beautiful oceans, our waste has the potential to harm our planet.

3_reuseIn addition to reducing our intake of unnecessary items, finding ways to reuse things or buying longer-lasting items is a great way to promote sustainability.

So, ditch the disposables and start investing in things like reusable water bottles, grocery bags and cleaning cloths (no more paper towels!) and try to find ways to reuse or repurpose old objects instead of simply throwing them out.


Speaking of repurposing, here’s where it gets fun!

Transforming, upcycling, DIY projects—whatever you call it, these are great ways to reduce waste while giving new life to objects that would likely end up in the trash.

You can keep it simple or get as intricate as you want with repurposing!

4_repurposeCreate something as simple as a cup from your old mason jar, or for a challenge, try your hand at one of these obscure, weird and crazy upcycling ideas from cubesmart.com.

For more information on upcycling, check out this helpful blog from UpcycleThat.com that will give you some upcycling ideas and inspiration!


Last but certainly not least, there’s recycling!

Did you know that the EPA estimates that 75% of the American waste stream is recyclable, but that we recycle only about 30% of it?

That’s a whole lot of waste that does not get recycled!

5_recycleIf it can’t be refused, reduced, reused or repurposed, then recycling may be the answer.

It’s not always easy to know what can be recycled, however, especially when it comes to the various types of plastics that many things are made of. Check out these Dos and Don’ts of Plastic Recycling from 1millionwomen.com.au.

Some Benefits of Recycling:

bullet By recycling, you can turn waste into useful products.

bullet Recycling saves money, and in turn reduces the amount of trash going to the landfills.

bullet It’s great for the environment!

comment_2Do you and your family follow the 5 R’s of sustainability? We’d love to hear about it! Just leave us a comment below.


The average person generates over 4 pounds of trash every day and about 1.5 tons of solid waste per year.


Is plastic wrap OK to put in the recycle bin?

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Amy Hepfner
Amy Hepfner(@amylmh)
5 years ago

I never thought of refuse as part of the green R’s!! That’s a great one. My parents were refusers as well as reduce, reuse, recycle and repurpose. When I was in grade school, snack packs had first come out. I wanted them so badly in my lunch, but my mom refused because it was wasteful. She said there’s much less waste for her to make pudding (not instant either) and put it in little reusable cups. I will admit, the pudding tasted much better too.

5 years ago
Reply to  Amy Hepfner

What a wise woman! Way to go, Amy’s mom!

Jacqueline Murgatroyd
Jacqueline Murgatroyd(@jmurg16)
5 years ago

I love this. I have always adhered to the 3R’s, but adding another 2R’s make me think about how I can further adjust my habits to protect the impact on the environment.

Joan Lyons
Joan Lyons(@jmullerlyons)
5 years ago

Love this! Just saw another “R” to add to this list: Repair!

5 years ago
Reply to  Joan Lyons

Good one, Joan! Thanks for sharing!

valerie Smith
valerie Smith(@smithv1969)
5 years ago

Refuse – I have been working on that on 🙂

Melissa Short
Melissa Short(@schoolmomx5)
5 years ago

Refusing has become a huge theme with our family. Why take a bag of any kind if you only have a few items? You can carry them out and put them in your vehicle. We have reusable bags for all of our grocery needs. Reusable water bottles are a staple in our home as well. We recycle our garbage too. What a huge positive change in the last 18 months for our whole family.

Carrie Minturn
Carrie Minturn(@lattegirl89)
5 years ago

I love adding refuse and reduce! It does take awareness to resist our consumer ways as Americans, but there’s actually so much joy all around when we do!

Elizabeth Johnson
Elizabeth Johnson(@elizabeth-johnson)
5 years ago

I love the “Refuse” idea! What better way to save than by not buying it in the first place?

Julie Steadman
Julie Steadman(@jstead3)
5 years ago

Makes you stop and think… Refuse was new to me!

Felicia Torchia
Felicia Torchia(@fel)
5 years ago

Refreshing! 🙂

Cheyanne Dumbleton
Cheyanne Dumbleton(@shiney)
5 years ago

Another R = Really needed? I have often been asking myself if I really need it before purchasing, especially Impulse buyig

5 years ago

Great point, Cheyanne! Thanks for sharing!

Sharon Campese
Sharon Campese(@sharon313)
4 years ago

I especially like REFUSE and REPURPOSE! Great thoughts to always keep in mind.

Gingi Freeman
Gingi Freeman(@domesticgeekgirl)
4 years ago

GREAT POST!!! I am trying to get better at recycling! (Oddly enough, that is the one I often do the least of.. *blush*)

Juliana DeWeerd
Juliana DeWeerd(@julianadeweerd)
3 years ago

Refuse, has been my challenger this year. I have been trying to be more minimlist, mostly to reduce stress, and since I started I have not enjoyed shopping, not even 2nd hand stores or garage sales. I used to really enjoy garage/ yard sales but now I imagine all that stuff in my house and how I would have to get rid of more stuff to make it fit.

Catherine Levair
Catherine Levair
2 years ago

About a year ago or so, I’ve been implementing the refuse. I ask myself do I want this or need this? If it’s a need then it stays in the cart, but if it’s a want, I think about it more and purchase way less as a result

2 years ago

Catherine, thanks for sharing. You’re probably saving some money in the process too!