Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: 3 R’s Of Sustainability

A sustainable environment is a big challenge for us. And to have a better and sustainable future, we need a solution to make it happen.

Reduce, reuse, recycle are the three words which we hear many times. These words are not just words but rules for living a sustainable life. They are known mostly for waste management purposes, but the importance is even more than just waste management.

They are also known as “The 3R’s“. We can call it as 3R’s of sustainability. By making small changes, we can apply these rules in daily life. We will know how important the rules are and how we can use these changes to our life.


The first R is “Reduce” which is the most important one. Before practising the other two R’s, we need to care about Reducing. If we reduce what we use, then we have fewer things to recycle and reuse. So focusing on reducing can make other steps easy.

The most important thing to reduce is to stop increasing unnecessary waste. The best example would be printing paper on both sides. We often see the printed paper on one side only, and if we want to print many pages, then definitely, we will use double pages than we needed.

What we are doing here is wasting more paper for no reason and unaware of it’s past. Using more paper eventually supports cutting more trees, increasing the energy use for making paper, an increase in the water used for paper production.

All of this unnecessary extra, we can cut down it to half by just printing the page on both sides.

The other way to reduce things is not using “single-use items”. We use a single-use items, where we could use an item which we can use many times.

For example, we can use a handkerchief made of cotton clothes rather than using tissue paper. We can use cotton clothes for a longer duration which is way better than tissue( a single-use item ) when we consider a reduction of use.

Just like this, there are many things which we can do to reduce:

  1. Not purchasing things we don’t want.
  2. Purchasing more durable and long-lasting products which will delay the next purchase.
  3. Purchasing product which used fewer resources during production.
  4. Try to decrease the use of a product as much as possible.

6 Rules Of reduction


After understanding to reduce things, others can focus on the second R of sustainability which is “Reuse“. Many times when we throw it is after using it once, we don’t see the opportunity to reuse it.

Reusing refers to making reuse of items which we are already using for a longer time rather than throw it into the dustbin. It increases the life of an items and reduces the waste generation in the landfill.

To start reusing, we need to stop living with the “use and throw” mentality. Use and throw attitude is a danger to a sustainable environment. And to eliminate it, first, we need to purchase reusable products like buying a pen which we can refill. A refillable pen can decrease waste generation as we can reuse it by changing the refill.

The other way of reusing is to “make another use“. There are many itis we purchase, which we can use for another purpose when it is of no use for its original purpose. If we take a simple example of a newspaper, it will be useless for tomorrow. But we can use newspapers for various things like packaging, cleaning, etc.

Another way would be “repairing“. Often this has been seen that the people tend to buy new things instead of repairing the old one. It is not a sustainable option as this supports an increase in waste and use of energy in creating new. Repair of a product is a good option.

Purchasing things which are already used by someone rather than taking a brand new product is also one way of reusing. Using already used furniture is a good example. Already used products save efforts and energy of manufacturing a new product.

 4 rules to reduce waste



Third R’s of sustainability is Recycle. Recycling becomes most crucial when we reduce and reuse things, and they are of no use now. In this condition, recycling becomes too important, which can turn the waste into a raw product.

But we need to consider recycling before even purchasing a product. Because every product made is not a recyclable product and if the product is not recyclable, then it is going to be dumped in the landfills. So purchasing the recyclable product is very important.

But which products are recyclable?

Products made of glass, metal, wood are very recyclable. But some products like plastic are which can be recycled or cannot be recycled. Things like a takeaway coffee cup, single-use plastic, disposable nappies are not recyclable things.

Recycling the product gives new life to it as after recycling we can use it again. It keeps away the product to stay in landfills which degrades the land, pollutes the groundwater and many more.

But, if we have taken care of purchasing a recyclable product, the problem doesn’t end here. The other problem can be recycling infrastructure of the country. Recycling infrastructure varies in every country, where some countries look well prepared and some not at all.

It is the government responsibility to make recycling infrastructure of the country, and a person who wants to live a sustainable life should know that infrastructure of his country.


So, as we can see, the reduce-reuse-recycle trio can be very beneficial for a sustainable world. Applying these rules in our life can take a major step towards a more eco-friendly and happy world. Thank You !!!

Prathamesh Sardesai , 22 April 2020