What is reduce, reuse, recycle (R 3)?

Reuse, reduce and recycle (R 3) are the three essential components of environmentally-responsible consumer behavior.Copious amounts of garbage resulting from a consumption-driven and densely populated society have led waste managers to adopt and promote an approach to the waste problem summarized by the phrase “reduce, reuse and recycle” — the waste hierarchy. This slogan reminds consumers of the actions they can take to minimize the burdens that their waste creates: reducing waste, reusing waste when possible and recycling waste into goods for tomorrow.Students expand their understanding of solid waste management to include the idea of 3 R (reduce, reuse, recycle and compost). They look at the effects of packaging decisions (reducing) and learn about engineering advancements in packaging materials and solid waste management. Also, they observe bio-degradation in a model landfill (composting).


The best way to manage waste is to not produce it. This can be done by shopping carefully and you can reduce the amount of waste you create by choosing what rubbish you throw away.  Consumers are encouraged to reduce their waste by purchasing in bulk, buying items with less packaging and switching to reusable instead of single-use items. Businesses can adopt manufacturing methods that require fewer resources and generate less waste. In addition to benefiting the environment, these efforts often offer consumers and businesses the financial incentive of lower expenses in purchases.


Despite efforts to reduce the amount of waste generated, consumers and businesses still create substantial waste. Many items found around the home can be used for different purposes. So before you throw those items away, think about how they can be reused. Reuse products for the same purpose in different ways. Sell old clothes, appliances, toys, and furniture in garage sales or ads, or donate them to charities.


Recycling has become an increasingly popular phenomenon as more people than ever before are realizing the importance of doing their part to save the planet. With landfills becoming more and more full – and additional waste products polluting our forests, beaches, oceans and other natural environments – recycling has become a truly urgent and important matter. When you choose to recycle, you choose to be proactive about helping to protect the fragile ecosystem of Earth. Recycling is, basically, the reprocessing of used materials into new ones. This is done in order not to waste materials and to make them useful again, rather than adding them to landfills or otherwise throwing them away. People have engaged in recycling throughout human history.


Recycling is an excellent way of saving energy and conserving the environment. Did you know that:

  • 1 recycled tin can would save enough energy to power a television for 3 hours.
  • 1 recycled glass bottle would save enough energy to power a computer for 25 minutes.
  • 1 recycled plastic bottle would save enough energy to power a 60-watt light bulb for 3 hours.

70% less energy is required to recycle paper compared with making it from raw materials.

So though it’s a pain, try to learn what the recycling rules are in your own community and follow them whether they make obvious sense or not. It’s the easiest way to do your part.

_________________Soumya Sen



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