The three R’s rule, which stands for Reduce, Reuse and Recycle, is a way to take care of the environment by generating less waste, saving money and being a more responsible consumer.
Much emphasis has been placed on recycling, and it is true that it is very important, but it is also important to generate less rubbish and waste, and that is what the first two R’s help us to do: reduce and reuse.
A lot of rubbish is still incinerated or goes to landfill and this is a source of pollution and environmental degradation that we can all work together to stop.
The first R: Reduce
Reducing over-consumption and the waste we produce is fundamental to sustainable development. Reducing means buying less when it is not necessary, reducing the amount of packaging whenever possible, and planning consumption to improve the carbon footprint we leave in our wake.
Sometimes we buy products that we do not need, as a simple form of leisure or because they are cheap. That is why, before buying something, it is worth assessing whether we need it, as well as considering how the products reach our homes and how far they have travelled, that is why we recommend buying local (a campaign known in some countries as ‘kilometre 0′).
But even if the product is manufactured or grown next door, if we have a single unit or small quantities brought home, the carbon footprint will be huge because of the travel and packaging, as our cities have become full of transport vans that produce a lot of pollution.
The second R: Reuse
Reusing has always been done: younger siblings receiving clothes from older ones, saving glass containers to make preserves, cooking jam with plentiful and cheap seasonal fruits and vegetables.
Giving a second or third use to what is still useful is the logical thing to do. But we don’t have to reuse it ourselves, we can give it to someone else so that they can take advantage of it.
For example, now that Marie Kondo’s methods have become fashionable, many of us want to empty our homes and closets of everything superfluous. But what do we do with everything we no longer want? Please don’t throw it in the bin. There is always someone who is interested in what you no longer want, and who can put it to good use. What if we put it in the family, friends or work Whatsapp group to see if anyone wants it?
In addition, there are many organizations that collect, fix and give a second life to used toys, books, clothes or furniture that we no longer want. And that’s good not only for society but also for the planet.
The third R: Recycle
The three R’s are important, and very important, but the third one is fundamental: separating waste correctly and recycling it is the only option we have if we care about the future of the planet.
Recycling is a beautiful word that implies returning something to the cycle of life, usefulness and productivity. But to recycle, it’s important to learn how to separate your waste: check out our basic guide to recycling to find out how and where to dispose of the rubbish we generate.
But we can do more, as there is highly polluting household waste that should not be thrown into the grey bin: cooking oils, light bulbs and fluorescent bulbs, leftover paint cans, batteries, batteries, printer cartridges, etc. Taking everything to the recycling point of our municipality (known in Spain as ‘green points’) to be recycled correctly will make us true heroes of recycling – and the truth is that the environment needs all the heroes it can get.
In addition, there are also wonderful initiatives such as collecting plastic caps and donating the proceeds from their recycling to help people in need.
Burning or burying rubbish is not an option, and it has a high price that is paid by ecosystems, our health and our descendants. That’s why it’s important that we all collaborate in the task of recycling.
Thank you for making the three Rs part of your life!