We’ve all heard about the Three R’s countless times. ‘Reduce, Reuse and Recycle’.

Its informational posters are probably hung on the walls of most public spaces, and serve as an important reminder of the everyday steps we need to take to save our environment.

What isn’t so heavily discussed is how to approach these concepts. What should one choose first – to reduce, to reuse, or to recycle? What are the practical caveats to consider when doing all of the above? We’ve got all you need to know.

Recycling

To recycle or to not recycle? That is the question. Firstly, check your local council’s recycling rules to make sure you’re not throwing something in your bin that shouldn’t be there! A common misconception is that bottle caps can be recycled nation-wide. In certain council regions, this is not the case. The entire contents of a recycling bin can simply be put in landfill if it is found to contain non-recyclable waste.

Secondly, out of the Three R’s, recycling should be the last on your list of priorities. If you successfully reduce your intake, or reuse existing items, then the need to recycle becomes redundant.

Reusing

Instead of throwing used materials away, even into your recycling, change your outlook. Use the excess cardboard from your recent online shop, or the spare paper from an old envelope; to create art, reuse as present wrapping, or even for something so little as shredded paper, which has many uses.

You can also use biodegradable packaging to help you want to reheat excess food instead of throwing it away. We recommend WoolCool, who provide thermal insulated packaging for food and pharmaceuticals, along with the Plastic Free Shop who sell (you guessed it!) plastic free products.

Reducing

The most effective way to reduce waste is to simply not create it in the first place! Our power as consumers, to reduce or reuse, is one of the most effective ways you can save natural resources, protect the environment, and save money. Mass amounts of material and energy are needed to make a new product; raw materials need to be extracted from the earth, the product must then be crafted, and transported through the supply chain. Let’s save all this wasted energy by using what we already have.

Here are some simple ideas to adopt in your everyday…

  • ‘Thrift flipping’ – this is what the kids call up-cycling old clothes to keep them wearable and on trend, it’s a fun and fulfilling pursuit!
  • Reusable bags – hold onto the plastic bags you already have, and invest in a tote bag you can use daily!
  • Plastic free products – metal straws, portable lunch set; knives, forks, spoons and lunch box, and glass water bottles – all look cute, and save the environment too!

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