We’ve all heard them – the 4 R’s: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rot. But did you know that the 4 R’s are actually a hierarchy?
Recycle and Rot are a part of the solution, but they are not THE solution. Reducing and reusing are far more impactful when it comes to how much waste we generate. After all, if we never used that plastic container in the first place, then we wouldn’t have to worry about where it goes after we use it!
Here are a few easy ways YOU can reduce the amount of waste you are producing and how to reuse the things you already have.
Make your reusables easily accessible. Store your reusable container, cup, utensils, produce bag, and/or grocery bags in a location that you can easily access on the go. In your backpack, purse, your desk drawer at work, the trunk of your car, wherever is most convenient for you. That way, you’ll always be ready whether you’re eating out, grabbing some coffee, or perusing the bulk section at the grocery store.
Learn how to repair.
If you have a broken item, consider if it’s repairable first. There are local repair and fix clinics where you can bring your items to be brought back to life and many resources online. Fixing items reduces what goes to the landfill, plus you may learn a new skill or two. It’s a win-win!
Although we all try our best to reduce the number of containers we get, it happens. Containers are sometimes hard to avoid when picking up your favorite pasta sauce or ordering in for take-out. The good news is that you’re still in control of what you throw away! Consider reusing containers to hold household items or keep using it to store your food.
Borrow, rent, or refill.
Going on a snowboarding or camping trip but don’t have gear? Have no fear! Borrowing is here! Asking your friends or family if you could borrow gear is a great option to avoid buying something you’ll only use seasonally. Just make sure to take good care of their gear, so you can return it in pristine condition. There are also local sporting goods retail stores that have renting and refilling programs for sporting gear and propane tanks.
Taking a minute to rethink your options before immediately buying or throwing something away is all you need to come up with another solution that is better for the environment.
It definitely calls for some creativity and thinking outside the box to make something new from something old, or reusing something that could’ve been thrown away. But it also empowers you as an individual to be innovative, to learn how to fix, and to tap into and strengthen your community relationships when you borrow and lend your belongings.
Remember that you have the power to contribute to a healthy environment by making simple changes to reduce your waste and to reuse what you have! Share your ideas with us and we’ll share them with our community!