The 5 R’s In Action

October 12, 2021

We have found that in the war against waste, it is sometimes hard to know where to start.


One of the best guides we use is that of the “5 R’s”. Not only does it offer clear steps aimed at reducing waste, but it also offers them an order in which to follow. Anything that simplifies sustainability - we are all for it!


The 5 R’s (in order)

1. Refuse

2. Reduce

3. Reuse

4. Repurpose

5. Recycle.


So let's dive into each of these in more detail.


REFUSE

There is a reason this one sits at the top of the list. One of the simplest ways to reduce waste is to refuse it in the first place! Refusing to purchase things like single-use plastics or non-compostable and non-recyclable packaging. Some ideas to support this change would be to switch to purchasing goods from bulk bins as opposed to purchasing them pre-packaged. It could also be a matter of selecting non-packaged fruits and vegetables, possibly even taking your own reusable produce bags.


REDUCE

This step looks at our decision making when we shop. It’s all about taking a moment to question if we really need something before we purchase it. Often we find ourselves purchasing items, only to find them being discarded or donated soon after. When we start being more selective with what we bring into our homes, asking “do we actually need this?”, we automatically contribute to reducing our waste.


REUSE

In this step we look for ways that we can reuse items that may have been traditionally seen as “single-use”. Glass jars are a great example of this. We purchase products in a glass jar and once we finish the item, wash the jar out so it can be reused. Glass jars can be great for storing smoothies, salad dressings, dry goods we purchase in bulk and even things like herbs and spices.


REPURPOSE

This step is all about getting creative with how we can use what we already have. Repurpose asks us to think outside the box, looking at how we can reuse an item for a whole new purpose. Take Compostic Cling Wrap for instance. Once it has done its job keeping your leftovers fresh in the fridge, we can use that same piece of cling wrap to wrap around the base of a bouquet of flowers or seal off the stems of bananas to keep them fresher for longer. Once we have used the piece of cling wrap as much as possible, we can then add it to the compost where it will break down quicker than an orange peel and go on to do its next job of feeding the plants!


RECYCLE

Lastly, we look at recycling. Where it is not possible to refuse packaging, look for packaging that can be recycled or composted. Look for the little recycle/compostable sign on the side of the packaging and ensure your local recycling centre is able to recycle this type of material. It’s also key to remember to rinse and clean all packaging before you pop them in the recycling bin. If you are able to choose a compostable packaging option instead, even better! Composting is the best kind of recycling as it transforms the packaging into soil, from which new plants can be created, and new plant products can be brought to life - nature's very own recycling system.


We know that when it comes to reducing waste, knowing where to start can be confusing at times. Using the 5 R’s can provide a nice, easy framework that reminds us of the little things we can do each time we shop to help move us all closer toward zero waste. Compostic products are designed to make these waste reduction goals that much easier by providing an alternative to plastic packaging that allows you to refuse non-compostable alternatives, reuse and repurpose and then once you are done, compost it back into the soil using nature's very own recycling system!