What are the 3Rs of Waste Management — Reduce, Reuse, Recycle


If you have ever heard of the  “reduce, reuse, and recycle technique,”  for waste management? You may be wondering what that means.  3R is a program used by nature lovers to manage environmental waste.

 The technique focuses on reducing purchases, reusing some items, and recycling certain products. There in this article, we will see what 3R is and how we can use this technique to conserve our environment by doing effective waste management.

Global Scenario About Waste Management  

The world is going towards industrialization.  The change caused severe environmental effects like air pollution, water pollution, landfills, global warming, greenhouse effect.  Improper waste management has also affected the environment.

Every year people around the world generate a waste of 1.3 billion tonnes.  Waste production is likely to increase up to 2.2 billion by 2050.  That is huge!

Types of Wastes

waste management

1) Plastic Waste

Plastic pollution occurs as a result of the plastic aggregation of objects in the environment.  In  2016, the world produced plastic wastes of 242 million tonnes.  According to statistics, the estimated global production increase is more than ever in the future.

2) Paper Waste

We can classify paper into parts like packaging paper, cardboard, and printing paper.  One of the raw materials in paper production is water.  The process emits wastewater in large quantities.

3) Glass Waste

Glass is a melted mixture of sand, limestone, and soda ash with metal oxides.

4) Food Waste

Food waste is one biggest confront of the humans have ever faced.  According to reports, people waste one-third of all food worldwide.

5) Electronic Waste

Electronic waste involves all old or discarded devices like computers, freezers, TVs, Bulbs, machines, etc.

What Are Three R’s

waste management

According to the information obtained from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, the three R’s for waste management from different sources.  They also conserve natural sources and energy.  Furthermore, they also preserve area and money and decrease landfills. 

R1: Reduce

The concept of reducing items that we produce or consume is essential to understanding waste management.  That is all about creating less waste. The logic is pretty simple- less waste means less to reuse or recycle.

What Can You Do to Reduce Waste?

        1) Print on both sides of the paper to reduce paper use

        2) Use e-mail instead of paper mail

        3) Use cloth napkins

        4) Don’t use disposable items like plastic utensils

        5) Don’t buy items that are over-packaged with paper or plastic

        6) Buy products that can perform different jobs in one

        7) buy goods that have a good warranty

The bitter reality is that we live in a culture of consumerism, which has affected our lives.  We need to realize that the lesser we consume, the easier the waste management.

R2: Reuse

Reuse is the act of using those items again that you think are of no use any longer.  For example, you may have a wooden product that you can’t use any longer. To make better use of it, you may send it to the trash department or may get any other item in replacement.

One of the best examples is the construction of homes and buildings from discarded metal containers. The metal containers are a waste. It is advisable to use them as homes and offices. This way, they prevent the consumption of your natural resources.

What Items Can You Reuse?

  • Old pots

We can use old home pots to store different items, wires, ropes, etc.

  • Old Tires

There are multiple uses for these old tires like a decorated tire swing, tire lamps, etc.

  • Old Wood

There are multiple ways of reusing old wood.  For example, you can make a bookcase, build a table, or set fire.

  • Old Newspapers

You can use your old newspapers to store or pack old items.

  • Waste Paper

The waste paper has also found a lot of uses like making sketches, notes, and shelf lining.  You can use them to set fire or send them to a nearby recycling station.

  • Old Clothes

 Old clothes can serve many other purposes like turning them into bags or cleaning rags.

Donate These Items:

  • Old books
  • Old clothes
  • Old electronic devices
  • Old batteries
  • Old furniture
  • Old pots and jars

R3: Recycle

waste management

The third R means recycle. Recycling means transforming a product into a new product for different use. You must know that there are a lot of materials on the earth that you can recycle and play an effective role in waste management.

The recycling industry has many challenges like chemical exposure, contamination, safety problems, etc. We are making progress toward improving the recycling processes. For this purpose, processing materials according to the standards is essential.

Before processing, one needs to know what products are recyclable and which are not. By choosing them, you can have efficient recycling.

What Items Can You Recycle?

  • Paper which includes newspapers, journals, magazines, etc
  • Cardboard and paperboard
  • Glass bottles and other containers
  • Metal containers made up of tin, aluminium, steel cans
  • Plastic shopping bags
  • Polystyrene foam containers
  • Old jeans or shirts
  • Electronic devices like batteries, TV, LED, etc

You may Add a Fourth R- Recover.

The fourth R-Recover is also to the hierarchy.  After applying 3R, it is likely to recover energy from waste materials, which we can’t reduce, reuse, or recycle.  Therefore, we can do it by:

  • Sending wastes to a landfill
  • Burning solid wastes and converting them into gaseous products
  • Converting non-recyclable waste into usable energy


The reduce, reuse, and recycle technique is about waste management.  And we do it by using only necessary items, reusing products as much as possible, and recycling products for a new purpose. The current need is to adopt policies at both the personal and levels.

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