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

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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!

Refuse

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.

Reduce

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.

Reuse

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.

Repurpose

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!

Recycle

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.

did_you_know2

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

Resources:

Is plastic wrap OK to put in the recycle bin?

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