October is Ireland’s National Reuse Month.
We are all (hopefully) aware of the slogan Reduce, reuse, and recycle —the “three R’s” of waste management.
The slogan lists the three dimensions in order of importance. Even if Recycling gets most of the attention, it really is the Reduce and Reuse parts that are important.
- The first “R,” reduce, means eliminating or decreasing the amount of waste we produce (or reducing the toxicity of the materials).
- The second “R,” reuse, means taking products that would otherwise be discarded and using them again, either in their current form, or with a few repairs or changes.
- The third “R,” recycling, involves collecting used materials, processing them, and turning them into new products.
“Reuse” is about valuing our “stuff”.
By using and reusing materials we have been using for as long and as often as possible, we avoid the need to extract raw materials, manufacture and distribute new stuff, avoid waste, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.