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What Does Reduce Reuse Recycle Mean?

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The phrase Reduce, Reuse, Recycle is often used when we talk about how to be more environmentally friendly, how to be greener, how to be ecologically sound and how to live sustainably.

But what does it really mean?

The Three R’s of Recycling

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle is sometimes referred to as the ‘Three Rs’ of recycling. These three terms all refer to ways that we can minimise the amount of materials that we use, the amount of the Earth’s resources that we use, the energy that we use and the amount of waste which we produce in our everyday life.

Let’s take a look at the three R's one at a time.

What Does Reduce Reuse Recycle Mean?


Minimalist plants

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The first of the three R’s is Reduce.

Reduce is first on the list because it is the best and most important way of minimising your impact on the Earth’s environment. It means that you try to reduce the amount of materials that you use and also the resources such as fuel and water that you use.

Here are some examples of ways that you can reduce:-


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The second of the three R’s is Reuse

If you have an item that you can no longer use or simply do not want, but is still in perfectly usable condition, you should try to find a way that it can continue to be used rather than throwing it away.

Here are some examples of ways that you can reuse:-


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The third of the three R’s is Recycle.

When we say recycling, it means to break down an item and to make something new from the materials.

Processing these materials still requires time, energy and cost, 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 last term on the list because it is in fact the least useful of the three ways of reducing your impact on the planet, however it is still vastly better than sending waste to landfill.

Some examples of recycling are:-

How you dispose of an item depends what local recycling facilities there are where you live. Here is how to recycle many common household items.

So if you want to minimise the impact that your lifestyle has on the planet, you can do this by considering all of the ‘Three R’s’. Reduce the amount of materials that you consume, reuse items that can still be used and then ensure that any item that is recyclable is sent for recycling when it’s useful life is over.

Now that you know what each of these terms means, try our fun How Green Am I Quiz? to find out just how much you understand about living a sustainable lifestyle.

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