We all know that the term ‘3R’ is actually an abbreviation of the three ways to reduce the waste of our resources:

  • Reduce
  • Reuse
  • RecycleBut there is a new, fourth R to consider ‘refuse’. These are simple but powerful words. You can lighten your carbon footprint simply by refusing things that can produce waste and generally, there are many opportunities to refuse waste. We only have to think before acting!
  • Some examples:
  • Reducing at source means that we have to consume less or produce less waste. For example, instead of buying a vase, you could opt to use an old jam jar as a vase. Reuse means reusing a product with little or no modification (ie: using a jam jar to store your soup). Recycling is turning a material into a new product (ie: when plastic water bottles are transformed into fleece). Recycling and reuse are the most commonly used methods for recovering waste.
  • Refuse junk mail, swag-bags or promotional items;
  • Always use your cloth bags when shopping, refuse the plastic bag;
  • Only use your existing glass bottles, refuse the plastic bottle;
  • Get your news online, refuse to get those free newspapers that just end up in the recycling bin;
  • Use your own coffee cup at work or school, and refuse the Styrofoam cup. Using your own cup is simple, ecological and keeps your coffee (or other beverage of choice) warmer anyway.
  • Some techniques:
  • Think before buying. Do you really need this stuff? Think before printing. Only print what you really need or print back to back!

By Amelie Fiedler (Eco-quartier NDG language intern)