The 3 R’s of being Environmentally Friendly

Becoming “greener” is not that hard if you understand how pollution works. Battling pollution is a task we engage in every day, but it’s not a random set of actions that we take to preserve nature, but a system of priorities to be taken to reduce the amount of harm we cause to the Earth. Such system is the “Waste Hierarchy”, which is crucial for improving overall waste management.

The Waste Hierarchy consists of three essential components, also known as the three R’s- Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. They are the guidelines of creating sustainable life. This system is not only for factories and organizations, but for ordinary people as well. All it takes to be a little greener are some small changes in your everyday life. Using the 3 R’s in your everyday life will help you reduce both your waste and carbon footprint.

Reduce

The first R stands for Reduce.The concept here goes against the very nature of our economic system, based on ever growing consumption. Nevertheless by reducing the amounts of products you use you contribute directly to the amount that are going to be produced, thus there will be less to recycle or reuse. All you need to do is to determine what are you using and what it is used for. After that there are three steps you must take to reduce your use of this product. First you must determine if there is something else that can be used for the same purpose. Using multi-use items is essential for beginning reduction. Whenever it’s possible buy one product that can do several things, instead of several things that can do just on thing.

Do you really need this product is another question you should be asking yourself whenever you are about to buy a product or a service. A lot of waste comes from products that have been used not more than once. There is a significant amount of waste from products that have never been used.

Don’t over prepare yourself. Waste comes from products that were taken as a precaution (for example supplies for storm shelters and so on) and never used before their expiration date. Of course your safety should come first, but over preparing yourself and buying supplies for weeks when there is no warning about oncoming storms or hurricanes is wasteful to say the least. Even if you don’t care about the environment you should worry about your finances and how this is threatening them.

Some of the things you can do to achieve this step are to always send e-mail instead of paper mail, print only when absolutely needed and on both sides of the paper, use regular plates, not plastic ones, and that same goes for all utensils, cups and  napkins, try to avoid plastic bags and wear a bag with you at all times in case you need one, and buy quality products that run longer and have longer warranty.

Reuse

The second R is for Reuse. This is one of the easiest steps since almost all of you probably already do it. If you have a box in the basement, filled with broken stuff that you probably will never use, but you hold on to them just in case you can use them for something else – well you are already reusing. If you are buying your furniture or taking it out from the sidewalk just to clean it up and use it, you are reusing again. This step is essential to the Waste Hierarchy and it’s the easiest one of all. All it takes is a bit of thinking how you can use an item once they have expired or at least how can you re-purpose them to do stuff they were not intended to do. Finally if you don’t have think of any use for those items you are willing to get rid of, go to the internet and you will certainly find someone that needs them. Donate them to this person and he will do the re-purposing for you. This way you can get rid of old electronic equipments, rechargeable batteries, clothes and books. For everything organic you can build a compost bin, where you can reuse all food that has not been eaten or gone bad.

Recycle

The third R is for the last stage of waste hierarchy- Recycling. Recycling means that the product will be decomposed and it will again be transformed to its raw state. This way it may be shaped into a new product. There are very few products on our planets that can’t be recycled, yet the biggest problem is that many people still don’t care and don’t have the initiative to recycle.

If you want to implement this R in your life there are several small changes you can make to do it. For example you can buy products that had been made up by recycled materials or at least buy products that can be easily recycled like glass jars and so on.

Following the three R’s won’t save the planet by itself, but it sure is a good start for you to become a more considerate and environmentally friendly person.