3Rs of Waste Management

A prime solution to establish sustainable waste management is through the application of the 3r’s of waste management definition.

What are the 3 R’s of Waste Management?

The 3r’s of solid waste management occurs in the order of ranking or priority of the actions that can be taken to help cut down on wastes. The 3r’s of waste management is also called the hierarchy of waste management.

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What are the 3rs of Waste Management?

The 3r’s of waste management stands for:

  • Reduce
  • Reuse
  • Recycle

Humans produce wastes that continually result in environmental degradation. A common type of garbage is the municipal solid waste which is a general waste collected by the municipalities. It is generated mainly by households, street sweeping, commercial activities and the construction or demolition debris. This can be from farming to routine food consumption.

It may not be possible to eliminate waste disposal, but we can make a significant contribution to cut waste generation down to help preserve our environment.

Waste management involves putting into action the 3r’s waste management actions.

See Related: Important Pros and Cons of Recycling

Importance of the 3r’s of Waste Management

The importance of 3r’s of waste management elements is to help:

  • Cut down on the waste disposals.
  • Conserve natural resources, landfill spaces, and energy.
  • Save land and money that communities use to manage wastes.
  • Reduce air pollution and contribute to a healthier planet.

The 3r’s of waste management is a continuous cycle. Let’s explore further the 3r’s definition and have an in-depth look at what each R represent and actions to take to contribute to each goal.

The 3r’s of waste management means exercising measures that help reduce, reuse and recycle wastes.

  1. Reduce

The first R in the 3r’s of waste management stands for Reduce. It means taking measures that help cut down wastes. If we decline to buy items that we don’t need or purchase multi-purpose items, then we can help reduce the waste products that go into the trash bin.

The primary step towards lowering wastage is doing a thorough examination of what one needs and its purpose.

Here are three valuable steps to assess the value of each item:

–    The first step is assessing whether there is already something else in place of what we want, that can be used to accomplish the purpose we intend to do. We need to check if the items that we have can serve as multi-purpose. To reduce wastes, we need to buy things that can do more than one job.

–    Another critical consideration is assessing if what one intends to do with the item is something that is necessary. It is vital to consider whether or not what the object enables one to do, have any real meaning or purpose.

–    The final step is to assess if the items are a part of something crucial that one will need to do or may encounter in life? It is essential to create a limit to the things that we buy as a precaution, or we envision we will need to use in life. It is vital always make sure that what we consume, or keep in our lives as preparation for certain situations, matches the reality of potential opportunities in life.

Some of the practical actions that can be done to reduce wastes at home and in the workplace include:

–    Printing papers on both sides to reduce paper wastage.

–    Using electronic mail to reach out to people instead of sending paper mails.

–    Using cloth napkins instead of kitchen towels or paper napkins.

–    Borrowing things not used often.

–    Finding ways to save energy and water like buying energy star bulbs and items that consume little water while in use.

–    Reducing the environmental damage caused by cars instead use carpooling with friends, taking the bus or walking instead of self-driving. Investing in an ebike conversion kit to turn your bicycle into a motorized electric bike is another great alternative to carbon-spewing car rides.

–    Avoiding use of disposable plates, spoons, glass, cups, and napkins.

–    Avoiding the purchase of items that are over-packaged with foil, paper, and plastic since the excess packaging goes to waste.

–    Buying items in bulk to reduce the overall amount of packaging used.

–    Buying durable goods that have an extended warranty because they can generally last longer and save on landfill space.

The concept of this first r in the hierarchy of waste management is only to acquire or use what is necessary. If we buy or consume less, then the result is less wastage. We thus need to focus more on the source of the wastes that is where it is coming from and cut it.

The goal of this rule is to lessen the overall amount of waste and rubbish that humans’ produce. Here are several ways to go low waste, which will help you reduce your consumption.

See Related: How to Choose the Right Recycling Center

  1. Reuse

The second R in the 3r’s of waste management is Reuse. It means putting an item into use again or for another purpose. It is when we can use an object again or differently compared to what it is intended to do. It also means passing on things to others instead of throwing them away.

Broken pieces can be put into a different use instead of putting them in a bin.

Collecting items or trash picking to create something new is another way also essential to waste hierarchy.

Some practical actions of reusing include:

  • A good example today is the modular construction of office buildings and homes out of discarded shipping containers. The large, semi-truck sized metal containers are nowadays put up as homes and offices which mean they don’t go into the landfills and using them doesn’t require the additional expenditure of natural resources to meltdown and reconfigure the metals used to create them.
  • Using old tins and pots to store items in the kitchen or store loose items together such as computer wires.
  • Using cloth sacks instead of plastic bags.
  • Using re-usable lunch bags in place of disposable ones.
  • Donating old toys, clothes, and furniture to the needy or the poor.
  • Writing on paper can be done on both sides.
  • Making old tires into valuable items like seats and tables or in making tire-swing.
  • Using splintered woods as firewood or in woodcraft.
  • Using old newspapers to wrap and package details.
  • Donating old books on to others or public libraries.
  • Giving old or unwanted clothes to street children or charity institutions.
  • Giving old electric equipment to schools or NGO’s that can use them.
  • Using rechargeable batteries, again and again as opposed to using regular cells.
  • Building a compost bin in your backyard or getting an indoor compost container to compost in an apartment and reusing many waste items like used tea bags or wastes that degrades and turns into compost that can help grow plants.
  • Using sealable containers instead of plastic wraps.
  • Investing in some reusable shopping bags or bringing old ones with you to the store.
  • Looking into upcycling ideas from the everyday household items as many have different uses you may never have thought.
  1. Recycling

The third r in the waste hierarchy stands for Recycle. To recycle means to change or transform waste and non-useable items into raw materials that can be used to create new objects.

There is a need for recycling stations to help with the process of recycling.

Different sectors have made contributions towards this goal.

For example, governments have created agreements and incentives with industries that process waste materials. Some ISO standards related to recycling are the ISO 15270:2008 which is for plastics waste and ISO 14001:2004 that is for environmental management control concerning recycling practice.

Recycling reduces the use of energy and consumption of raw materials. It also reduces air and water pollution. Usage of recyclable materials can help conserve the environment and make it green again.

Here are some actions that can contribute to this goal:

  • Buying eco-friendly products or products that are made up of recycled materials.
  • Inventing new ways to recreate different items.
  • Avoiding buying of hazardous materials that could be difficult to reuse.
  • Buying non-toxic products, whenever possible.
  • Using recycled paper for printing or making paper handicrafts.
  • Putting cereal boxes, newspapers, and bottles into a recycling bin to make sure that less waste goes to landfill and recreating more materials into new things.
  • Checking with the local garbage company to see if they have a recycling option.
  • Checking with local recycling facilities to look at the items they accept.

Here is how to find the right recycling center.

Conclusion on the 3 R’s of Waste Management

The 3r’s of waste management is an ideal solution to the ever increasing environmental, health and economic issues caused by increased wastage and pollution.

Practicing the 3r’s of waste management will conserve the environment and allow us to reap the numerous benefits of going green.

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