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Reduce Reuse Recycle | Tips For Recycling
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Reduce Reuse Recycle

So you have become a master recycler. You know what can be recycled, where it can be recycled and how to spot products in the store that can be recycled.  Now let’s take it one step farther.

Reduce Reuse Recycle

This is what’s referred to as the ‘Three Rs’ of waste management.  Recycling has a huge impact on reducing the municipal solid waste stream flowing into our nation’s landfills.  But the ultimate objective should be to reduce the amount of waste we generate in the first place.  Perhaps that’s why ‘Reduce’ is the first of the Three Rs.


Think about the components that make up the trash in your household.  Most of us produce large volumes of paper waste, followed by plastics, then metals and glass.  Containers and packaging make up about 30% of the municipal solid waste stream.  Much of this comes from single-use disposable items. 


Look in your refrigerator and pantry. How many convenience items are in there? Eliminating these items can significantly decrease the amount of waste produced in your household.

What can you do?

  • Purchase multi-serving or family size packages instead of single-use items. 

Instead of 12 oz. cans or 16 oz. bottles of soda, purchase 2 litre bottles.  Instead of single serving yogurt cups, purchase quart size yogurt tubs.  Buy 64 oz bottles of juice instead of juice boxes.  This may seem difficult, especially if you have children in the home, and especially if you pack lunches for them to take to school (believe me…as a mother of a grade-schooler I know). But if you try you’ll find out this is more about habits than anything else.


  • Purchase a stainless steel water bottle and fill it from your tap instead of buying bottled water

In the majority of cases your tap water is every bit as good as the bottled water, particularly if you have a filtration system or are on a municipal water supply.  As an added bonus you’ll avoid the potential toxins that may leach into the water from the degradation of the disposable plastic bottle.


  • Purchase items with less packaging.

Avoid containers within containers. This is especially important if you can’t get rid of your single-use items like juice boxes and pre-packaged snacks.


  • Invest in a set of reuseable grocery bags.

Stop using plastic at the checkout. If you look around your house you may even find that you’ve got some good tote bags hanging around that are perfect for this use.


  • Opt for cardboard or paper instead of plastic. 

Although still a waste, paper is biodegradeable and will (eventually) decompose on it’s own.


It may take some effort, but we all can find ways to reduce the amount of waste we produce in our lives.  Don’t opt for short-term convenience at the expense of long-term sustainability.



US EPA: Reduce & Reuse

Municipal Solid Waste Generation, Recycling, and Disposal in the United States: Facts and Figures for 2010

This entry was posted in Home Recycling Tips & Tricks. Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.


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    • Tips For Recycling
      Posted December 25, 2011 at 11:38 am | Permalink

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