Have you been following me and my green sisters along on instagram this week? There have been some fabulous refuse, reduce, reuse, repurpose and (tomorrow) recycle ideas out there. So what are some simple ways to start living the 5 R’s? What do the 5 R’s mean?
What!? There are 5 R’s now! Yes a couple have been added in recent years. There are subtle but noticeable differences in the 2 additions – Refuse and Repurpose – but the basic jist is the same. Use less! Use what you have!
Again, have to point out that the R’s are in this order for a reason. The closer the the beginning of this option list, the better. So start at the top and see which one you can do.
At first I had a difficult time understanding the difference between refuse and reduce, honestly. But then I got it! Refuse is to say no to things people offer you that you don’t need, that you never even asked for. Refuse to buy products that can harm you, your family and the environment. Use the power of your dollar to tell companies what you want and don’t want.
- Think freebies that companies give away. Now if you are going to use that pen or reusable grocery bag, by all means take it. But if it will end up in the trash eventually, just say no thanks!
- Say no to plastic grocery bags, especially if you only have a couple of items that you could easily carry.
- Refuse to buy harmful products, like cleaners. Buy more eco-friendly options or make your own.
- Refuse to buy GMOs
- Say no to single use plastic
Reduce, to use less. Think about what you use and buy. Could you use less?
- Reduce your junk mail
- Do you really need the latest smart phone? Could you make due with the one you have for a bit longer?
- Reduce the amount of energy you use to heat your home by getting an energy audit (a lot times for free) and save MONEY in the process.
Reuse something you already have instead of buying something. Replace needing a single use item, with something you can use over and over again. Both of these options will save you money as well.
- Slowly replace any single use items with reusable ones – like reusable grocery and produce bags, reusable water bottles, travel mugs.
- Instead of tossing those return envelopes you get but don’t need, reuse them for permission slips to school or other things that need to be sealed but don’t need a fresh envelop.
- Reuse those cereal bag liners
- Reuse glass jars such as the ones from pickles, jellies, and salsa as new containers for leftovers or pantry storage instead of buying something else.
- Make your own reusable mop head instead of buying disposables.
Repurpose – to take something and use it for something else. This requires a bit of thinking and crafty-ness, but doesn’t have to be gorgeous.
- Pretty up a regular old cardboard box to use as storage
- Save rubber bands, veggie scraps and more to use in interesting ways.
- Reuse an old yoga mat as foot pads for furniture, a tent “door mat” and more.
And last but not least, if the above 4 options won’t work, recycle. I don’t mean this in a negative way either. Recycling is important. When you are just starting to use the 5 R’s, it can be difficult to use the first few options. Maybe you missed the opportunity to refuse or reduce because you just weren’t there in your green journey when these purchases were made. Maybe there is no alternative. Recycling is a great way to open your eyes to all that you toss and a chance to rethink your future purchases.
- Recycle all the basics you can – paper, plastic, metal, and glass
- Recycle ALL fabric – even stained or ripped clothing.
- Recycle all electronics
- For a huge list of other things you can recycle, check here
This post is part of Green Sisterhood’s Earth Month Blog Party. For more great ideas, take a look at these other posts:
Almost All The Truth – The 5 R’s
ecokaren – How Much Waste Do American’s Generate?
Green 4 U – We Should Teach the 5 R’s from Refuse to Recycle
Green Talk – 15 Ways to Recycle or Repurpose Underwear
Jen and Joey goes Green
The Soft Landing – 4 Simple Ways To Reduce Waste that Will Impress Even Your Most Skeptical Friends
Eco-Novice: Going Green Gradually – Reduce Your Spending, Toxic Exposure and Waste By Ditching Disposables
Can you think of others?