What are the “3R’s”?

This week is the European Week for Waste Reduction, which is a European initiative aiming to promote awareness-raising actions about sustainability and waste management. At TerraCycle, we are very supportive of this initiative and on this occasion, we are writing about the “3R’s”!

What are the “3R’s”? They stand for Reduce, Reuse and Recycle and are all meant to help you cut down the waste you generate. In today’s blog post, we give you some ideas on how to implement them in your daily life!


The first step to generate less waste is to reduce what you consume, and therefore what you throw away. Before you buy something, ask yourself if you need it or if it could be replaced it by something you already have, or borrowed from someone.

When you still need to buy new products, try to choose good quality items, that have a guarantee when possible. Those might be more expensive than their less durable counterparts but you won’t need to replace them as often, so in the long run, it will save you some time and money.

This first step also includes refuse (another “R”!) which basically means refusing what you don’t need: plastic bags, plastic straws, plastic cutlery and any other kind of disposable items. Most people will assume that you want them and will just give them to you before you even have the time to say anything. Politely turn them down, and maybe give some nice and smiley explanations on why you are doing so: a good opportunity to raise awareness and encourage everyone to help the turtles and the oceans.


The second “R” stands for reuse, meaning in first place switching to reusable items instead of disposable ones. For example, carry a water bottle that can be refilled instead of plastic bottle, a trendy reusable coffee cup or a tote bag – those simple and affordable alternatives will help you cut down on your waste.


Reuse can also include repairing: rather than getting rid of something that does not work anymore, try to see if it can be fixed – some electronics or fabric items for example can easily be repaired. If you can’t fix them, give them a second life by upcycling them! Check our guide for upcycling with TerraCycle for inspiration.

Reuse also mean that your discarded items can be used by someone else and find a second home. Ask your friends and family if they would be interested in adopting what you don’t need anymore, or simply give them to charity shops or second hand bookstores.



Finally, when you have to get rid of something, make sure everything that is recyclable finds its way to the recycling bin. Check out what can be recycled in your local council, if you are unsure, take a look at the Recycle Now website.

For anything that is not recyclable through your kerbside municipal system, we are here to help! From cigarette butts to coffee capsules, pens, baby food pouches or toothbrushes, TerraCycle recycle a wide range of hard to recycle waste through our free recycling programmes. Take a look at our website to find out more.

For anything that is not on that list, we also have a paid for solution called Zero Waste Boxes, which will enable you to give a second life to pretty much anything you are dying to recycle. This month there is 20% discount on the All-in-One Zero Waste Box with the code NOVEMBRE20.


We hope that these tips are useful! If you have other tips to be more eco-friendly and reduce your waste (even if they don’t start with an “R”!), please share them in the comment section, we would love to hear from you!

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