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The 5 R’s of ConservationThe 5 R’s of Conservation


What Are the 5 R’s of Conservation?

Recycling is one of the best ways to conserve natural resources. By utilizing materials again and again, we can help save trees, water, energy, and even space!

Most people have heard of the three Rs—Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. However, the five R’s of conservation go beyond just reducing and reusing.

Refuse

When a business refuses the use of harmful, wasteful and non-recyclable products it saves money and prevents negative environmental impacts. This stage can take some practice but is the best way to minimize your waste production. This can be as simple as refusing plastic retail bags or bringing your own reusable bag, or as complex as talking to your procurement team about refusing unnecessary product packaging and requesting reusable or returnable containers.

It is also a good idea to refuse freebies like swag bags, flyers, and magazines unless you actually need them. If you must accept these items, try to keep them as small and lightweight as possible. Say no to straws (bioplastic or not) and disposable utensils and bring your own reusable cup, and don’t print out store receipts – they contain BPA. Refusing products also goes hand-in-hand with reducing the amount of them you use in general by printing double-sided, buying large bottles, and using your phone to snap photos of pamphlets.

Reuse

Reusing products is a great way to help the environment. It reduces the amount of energy, natural resources and greenhouse gases that go into making new items. It also saves landfill space.

For example, instead of purchasing a new mug when yours gets cracked, you can reuse it as a planter or for storage. This process can be extended to repairing your clothing, shoes, furniture and even electronics. It’s also a good idea to donate unwanted items rather than throwing them away.

Finally, recycling is the last step in this eco-friendly waste disposal process. It involves taking cardboard, paper products, plastics and glass and turning them into something new. It helps to reduce landfill space, as well as the number of products that end up in the oceans and land masses. This is an important step that all businesses should take to protect the planet and its resources. It’s also a good idea for individuals to start using reusable bags and jars when shopping.

Reduce

If you’re an environmentally conscious business, you may be familiar with the three R’s: reduce, reuse, recycle. These were coined in the 1970’s to help curb North Americans’ proclivity for creating waste and limiting our impact on the environment.

Refusing is the first step in the 5 R’s and can take some practice. However, refusing to use single-use plastics and non-recyclable products will ultimately lead to a lower level of waste production for businesses. When working with vendors or suppliers, try to avoid unnecessary product packaging and opt for reusable or returnable containers.

Reducing harmful and non-recyclable materials will cut down on the amount of garbage that ends up in landfills which leads to negative environmental impacts. It also saves energy and money for businesses. Recycling is the last R in the process and should be the final option for any products that can’t be avoided. Businesses can begin by gathering all recyclable products such as cardboard, paper, plastics and organics.

Recycle

If you’re a business, providing recycling bins for paper products, plastics, glass and organic waste is the best way to go. Recycled materials can be turned into new products without the need to extract and manufacture raw materials. This conserves our natural resources, reduces air and water pollution, and keeps land from becoming overdeveloped.

The first of the five R’s, refuse, is an easy one for businesses to implement. Simply refusing to use single-use products or nonrecyclable product packaging can significantly reduce the amount of waste your business produces. For example, use reusable water bottles and cups, take a reusable bag on shopping trips, print double-sided to cut your printing waste by half, and choose a reusable mug for coffee or tea instead of a disposable Styrofoam cup.

Reusing is a self-empowering practice that can help reduce waste and save money on the costs of purchasing new items. Repurposing can be as simple as using a broken mug for holding pens or as complex as refashioning an old T-shirt into a dust cloth.

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