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The 5 R’s (Plus)

So we have taken Bea Johnson’s fabulous 5 R’s and expanded on them! It’s become a bit of a game around here to make an R out of everything zero waste related, and it is remarkably easy to do! For the sake of not being… ridiculous (see what we did there?) we have narrowed it down to the Rs that help us the most


Refocus: The zero waste journey both requires & enables a shift in focus. Creating experiences rather than giving material gifts shifts the focus to people and away from things. Prioritizing environment over immediate gratification can be humbling. Spending the time to prepare a meal from scratch rather than popping in a pre-packaged dinner can cultivate a new found respect for food and the farmer and enliven the senses. It’s also a great way to spend time with loved ones.

*Refuse: Kindly refuse things you don’t need. Giveaways, freebies, the bag from the dentist office, birthday goodie bags and advertising swag often end up as clutter or are quickly broken.  Simply say “no thank you.” You don’t have to accept things into your house just because they are given.

*Reduce: Become a conscious consumer; ask yourself “do I really need this?” Practice delayed gratification. In many cases you will find you didn’t really need the item in the first place.

*Reuse: Ditch, I mean for good, throw aways like paper napkins, plastic plates, paper towels and move to reusable items. Shop with reusable produce bags and bulk bags or jars in the bulk bin aisle to reduce packaging.

*Recycle: If you simply can’t avoid packaging, choose recyclables. Become familiar with what is really recyclable and actually recycled in your municipality.

*Rot aka Compost: Start a backyard compost bin and start collecting food scraps from your kitchen. Not into it or just don’t have room? Compost pickup businesses are popping up all over. Check our cities guides for links to one in your area.  Another option is a worm bin. Check out our “Resources” page for links to some websites to help you get started. 

Repair: Fix it rather than toss it. This sends a message to manufactures that we want high quality items that we can repair rather than tossing a broken item into a landfill.

Request: Ask your local shops, restaurants, food trucks and online businesses to move toward more ecofriendly options. 

Remember: Bring your own shopping bags, water bottles, cutlery, coffee cup, take out containers to use when you are out and about.   

*Part of the original 5 Rs introduced by the queen of the zero waste movement, Bea Johnson, in her book, Zero Waste Home.

2017-12-24T15:43:42+00:00