3R`s are the essential components of environmentally – responsible consumer behavior “Reduce – Reuse – Recycle”. 3R`s are the most effective options to protect, conserve and promote the nature and built environment for the benefit of the present and future generations.
Nowadays many of the problems created by waste can be solved by reducing the amount of waste we produce. Making a new product requires a lot of energy and materials, but less energy is used in recycling products. It prevents waste from being sent to landfill, hence reduces our impact on climate change.
The other thing is waste minimization, which reduces what we use and therefore the amount of waste we discard. It is worth noting that waste minimization is not recycling. It is all about reducing waste at source (not creating in the first place). For instance, using disposable or buying food we do not need on impulse or because there is a special offer and then wasting it. In terms of waste management, it is the best option.
Many things have a second or even a third life, if you do not want to use them, there are people who will reuse it. At specialized reuse centers and consignment shops you can find everything from books to building materials. Usually they are less expensive and just as good as new.
There are many reasons why we should all reduce our waste – reuse and recycle our resources, some of them are: It saves energy
It prevents pollution
Helps sustain the environment for future generations Reduces GHG that contribute to global climate change
When kids see the trash from their home being taken away by a garbage collector, it can be hard for them to grasp that this garbage actually ends up somewhere else, like in a landfill, and doesn't just disappear. But when you adopt environmentally responsible practices in your home, you teach your children not only about where trash ends up, but also how they can work with you to produce less garbage and thereby protect the environment.
Here are some ways to put the four R's, reduce, reuse, recycle, and rebuy, into practice in your home.
Earth Day Every Day: Reduce
There are many ways you can reduce the amount of waste you create. Take your kids shopping with you and lead by example as you take the following steps to cut down on waste:
- Say no to disposable shopping bags. Bring your own reusable ones instead.
- Choose products that have the least amount of packaging.
- Buy in bulk when purchasing items like laundry detergent, shampoo, pet food, cat litter, and other household items.
- Buy unpackaged items in loose bins when available, such as tools and produce.
- Use what you already have instead of buying something new whenever possible.
- Buy liquid products that are concentrated.
- Avoid single serving foods that require extra packaging.
Earth Day Every Day: Reuse
To reuse means to continue using the products you have, instead of disposing of them and buying new ones. You can teach your kids to get in the habit of reusing by adopting these policies in your home:
- Purchase reusable, rather than disposable, products such as mugs, dishes, cloth napkins, and metal flatware instead of paper cups, plates, and napkins, and plastic utensils.
- Use refillable containers, like water bottles and soap containers, whenever possible.
- When you must use them, show your kids how to take only as many single-use items, like paper napkins, as they need.
- Mend clothing and repair appliances and other products so that they can be reused, and have your kids help you sell or donate their used clothing and toys instead of throwing them out.
- Find creative ways to reuse items you might otherwise throw away. For example, find craft projects for used paper towel rolls, linens, boxes, packaging, and/or empty containers. Or donate them to your child's school to use.
- Use both sides of paper when printing from your computer.
Earth Day Every Day: Recycle
Many products are recyclable, meaning they can be made into other products. The environmental officials in your community can tell you about the recycling programs in your area. Teach your kids to place all recyclable items, such as glass, aluminum, steel, paper, and plastic, in the appropriate containers around your home. Sign up for home pickup of your recyclable items or find a local recycling center to drop off these items. Be sure to take your kids along when you do the drop-off. Other ways to teach your kids about the importance of recycling are to:
- Participate in local environmental initiatives, such as recycling drives.
- Work with your local environmental officials to establish a recycling program in your area if you don’t already have one.
- Find local retailers that accept products like used batteries, antifreeze, motor oil, paint cans, plastic bags, and cell phones, and take these items there when you are finished using them.
And to help your kids understand where the trash does go, the Environmental Protection Agency has a Web site for kids called Recycle City.
Earth Day Every Day: Rebuy
Rebuying means purchasing products that have already been used or were recycled. You can show your kids this concept by:
- Shopping with them for clothing and other products at consignment or thrift stores.
- Purchasing products that contain recycled materials, like some bottles, cans, bags, paper, glass and dishware, wrapping paper, and other household items.
By adopting the four R's in your home, your kids will begin to understand the importance of cutting down on the amount of waste they create. Teaching your kids about environmental initiatives, starting with the four R's, can help them learn lifelong lessons about environmental responsibility.