First on the list, and the most important of the three, Reduce is the most important way of minimising your impact on the Earth. It entails reducing the volume of materials that you use and also the resources such as the amount of fuel and water that you use.
How can I reduce the amount of waste that I produce?
- Only buy what you need, replacing items only when they can no longer be used or are beyond repair.
- Choose products with less packaging, for example individually wrapped fruits or items that are sold in an unnecessarily large container.
- Buy in bulk; foods such as grains, nuts and pasta can all be bought in large quantities which will keep for a long time.
- Walk, cycle or take public transport rather than using a car.
Going forward, what MORE can you do to reduce your impact?
Try to sell, recycle, compost and donate as many things that you don't need as possible.
Reducing the amount of waste that you generate is a great way to help improve the environment.
This looks at how you can use items again as many times as possible before replacing them. This can apply to items that you can no longer use or simply do not want, but are still in a useable condition
How can I reuse what I have?
- Use a refillable water bottle instead of buying plastic single-use bottles
- Donate unwanted items to charity shops or sell them online on platforms such as eBay or Facebook.
- Ditch plastic bags and choose reusable, environmentally-friendly bags instead
Another addition to Reuse is repair. Try to fix damaged items, and make sure that they are truly beyond repair before throwing them away.
The final 'R' refers to the process of breaking down an item and to make something new from the materials. Processing these materials still requires energy and has an associated cost and therefore an item should ideally only be sent for recycling if there is no other way that it can be reused or repaired.
It is the least useful way of reducing your impact on the planet of the three R's , however it is still vastly better than sending waste to landfill.
How can I recycle the products that I use?
- Waste paper can be pulped and used to make new pieces of paper.
- Glass can be melted down and made into new glass items.
- Textiles and fabrics that are beyond repair can be used to make cleaning rags, or for filling furniture.
How you dispose of an item will depend upon what local recycling facilities there are where you live. Make sure that you separate items that can be recycled, generally into glass, paper and metal categories.
This step is all about recycling what we cannot refuse, reduce, or reuse.
If you are looking to minimise the impact that you have on the planet, you can do this by considering all of the ‘Three R’s’. Reduce the amount that you consume, reuse items that can still be used and then ensure that any item that is recyclable is sent for recycling at the end of it's life.