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Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

By following the three R’s (reduce, reuse, and recycle) you can help create a more sustainable future for our planet.

What can you do

Reduce what you buy. Before you make a purchase, ask yourself if you truly need it, or if you can repurpose other items that you already have. Shopping for secondhand clothing and products helps contribute to less waste. Avoid products that are wrapped in plastic, and seek more sustainable alternatives.

Reuse plastic items as much as possible or take to a secondhand store where possible so they don’t end up in landfill.

Recycle correctly, and choose to buy recycled products to close the loop.

Learn about the process and impacts of our production and consumption patterns, and the role of recycling, at the Story of Stuff (20 minutes).

How you can do it

Before you make a purchase, ask yourself 3 simple questions:

  • Do I actually need this?
  • Is there an option with less plastic packaging?
  • Is there an alternative made from recycled materials?

Be aware that recycling rules may change, and aren’t necessarily always the ‘best’ option. In other words, ‘reduce’ should still be your top priority. In saying that, you can still work towards becoming an expert recycler using these tips:

  • Find out what’s recyclable in your area
  • Check the rules for recycling in your area (e.g. which items to separate, rinse or take to a specialist collection point)
  • Ask what can and can’t go in your recycling bins (for example, many recycling systems can’t take old toys, clothing, scrap metal or some types of plastic)

Taking the next steps

If you can’t recycle items in your municipal system, search for special recycling companies near you such as TerraCycle or REDcycle.

You can also support campaigns for:

  • Local and on-shore recycling facilities, to reduce the pollution caused by transporting goods
  • Governments to regulate manufacturers to minimise packaging and use sustainable materials
  • Governments holding manufacturers accountable by implementing extended producer responsibility schemes

The impact

  • All of the oil, water and other resources used to make products is wasted if those products aren’t recycled
  • By reducing, reusing, and recycling, you can help minimise landfill waste

More ideas

What others do

Glass of lemonade, bunch of straws and a plastic juice bottle

To find plastic free ideas, take the Plastic Free July challenge

Reusable carry bag, keep cups and bamboo cutlery
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