For a long time we have been taught about the 3 Rs, Reduce, Reuse Recycle - but now there's two more in the mix. That's right, there are now 5 Rs - Refuse, Reduce, Reuse/ Re purpose, Recycle and Rot and the order of the Rs is important. The closer to the start of the list, the better the option.
The 5 R's are pretty simple. To begin with, it’s important to know how to say no to everything that’s not essential or that’s of no use in daily life. Refusing will eliminate most of your trash. Learn to say no! Say no to produce wrapped in plastic! Say no to freebies and bargains! Say no to disposables! Say no to participating in unsustainable practices!
The more we accept all those things that will inevitably end up in landfills, the more demand we generate for those unsustainable things. Easily disposable items of low quality are cheap and we buy them because we didn’t have to spend a lot of money. But cheap things are cheap for a reason. To cut the costs, they were produced using chemicals and materials from questionable sourcing, which means very often they leech toxins! And they couldn’t be sold at such low prices if workers – very often children – weren’t exploited along the production process.
We all have a lot of things at home we never use. Some of them we haven’t even ever unpacked! Why? Because we buy on impulse. We see something, in that specific moment we like it, and bam, we bought it. However, the novelty and joy of having it wears out very quickly and then it’s just another item we have at home that doesn’t add any value to our life.
Disposables are, well, disposable. Which means you have to buy them over and over. Which in turn means you keep spending money on things that you will throw away. Another way to reuse is to up cycle or re purpose.
After you have refused, reduced, and reused there shouldn’t be much left to recycle. Still, make sure to separate your trash so that those resources can be reused instead of filling our landfills:
Don’t just throw your kitchen scraps away! Get a worm bin and let those little fellows turn your waste into high-quality fertilizer! It’s the most efficient and local form of recycling where the trash doesn’t even need to be transported. You will find a ton of videos on YouTube showing you how you can set up a worm bin (also try searching for “worm composting system” or “vermicomposting system”).
Here’s a wiki on it.
We've put together a few resources to help you get started on the 5 R's!
1: Why not buy a stylish Mazenod KeepCup? Young Vinnies will give 30% off the price of hot chocolates when a student purchases a hot chocolate with their KeepCup. Part of the proceeds of the sale will also go to Oblate missionary work in India, Sri Lanka and China.
2: Use the Plastic Free Action Picker to help you get started and stay on track with better choices for our environment.
Together we can all take action and make a difference to help protect this beautiful planet earth, our home and create a sustainable life for future generations.
Thank you for your support!
The Mazenod College Sustainability Team