What are the 5 R’s of Zero Waste?

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The 5 R’s is a concept that people can utlilize in order to govern their own lives and reduce daily waste, in turn acheiving a net zero output.


These are:

  • Refuse:
    Say no to the things in life that you don’t need!
  • Reduce:
    Anything that is no longer useful should be donated or sold. Choosing to focus on necessary purchases only.
  • Reuse:
    Utilise reusables and move away from disposable items.
  • Recycle:
    Recycling is extremely important for tackling and reducing waste in our lives.
  • Rot:
    Compost your entire household waste, i.e. as much as possible.

The 5 R’s of Zero Waste Living

  • Refuse

Refusing products is the first step to reducing unnecessary products in your own household. Eradicating products such as single-use shopping bags may be a good place to start!

As stated by the Biological Diversity, “Americans use 100 billion plastic bags a year”, if not more, which has a drastic impact on our environment. According to Daily Sabah, “It can take up to 1,000 years for plastic to decompose in landfills”.

  • Reduce

Give your house a deep cleanse of everything that has no purpose. Give unwanted belongings to charities instead of throwing them away. Having a clutter free home helps to highlight the most necessary items in your life.

This also helps to reduce the number of redundant products you purchase, helping you to focus only on the products used the most often.

  • Reuse

Reusable products make up the essential tool kit for a zero waste lifestyle – Some people refer to this as a Zero Waste Kit.

The zero waste kit helps to reduce waste in every aspect of your life. From reusable shopping bags, to package free bathroom products.


  • Recycle

As reported by Recycle Across America, “Recycling a single aluminium can saves enough energy to power a TV for three hours.” Find out the local recycling policies in your local community and integrate these best practices into your waste mangement routine at home.


  • Rot

According to Greener Kirkaldy, “When thrown into landfill, food waste produces a large amount of methane. As food rots and degrades, it emits these harmful gases which are 25 times more harmful than carbon dioxide in terms of trapping heat in the atmosphere.”

Compost as much as possible at home and try to only purchase food that you really need. This helps to reduce the amount of waste produced and reduces the amount that travels to landfills.

Use your composted waste around the household to provide your plants with a rich source of nutrition. This is a much better way to utilise your organic food waste!


Why are the 5 R’s important?

As stated by Meow Meow Tweet, “The Five Rs give us a new framework for dealing with waste in our lives, in part by helping us acknowledge the habits that lead to more waste and more trash.” By understanding the waste we produce it can help us become more sustainable as an individual & as a community.

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