How Well Do You Know The 5 Rs?

What are the 5 Rs?

For a long time we have been taught about the 3 Rs, Reduce, Reuse Recycle - but now there's two more in the mix.

That's right, there are now 5 Rs - Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose, Recycle, in that order.

The order of the Rs is also important. The closer to the start of the list, the better the option.

Let's take it from the top!


Our lives are full of stuff we don't need, and each thing has an environmental cost.

Be thoughtful when buying, use the power of your dollar to tell companies what you want and don't want.

Just deciding not to spend $100 on stuff can save 100kg of greenhouse gas pollution!

READ MORE: How we can avoid overconsumption in our everyday lives?

READ MORE: [Interview] The Minimalists


You can reduce your overall consumption by questioning all significant purchases and resisting impulse buying. Before purchasing, give yourself at least a day or two to cool off.

A little tip I like to use is, will I use this item more than 30 times? If not, I don't buy it.

READ MORE: How to use the sharing economy to reduce waste.


Ditch disposable for reusable! Almost everything we buy and use in our daily lives ends up being thrown away at some point. It goes to landfill, becomes litter or pollutes our oceans, contributes to the emission of harmful greenhouse gases, or harms the planet in other ways. We need to cut our consumption to reduce our environmental impact. Reusing an item is how earlier generations made the most of limited resources in less wealthy and consumer-convenient times.

READ MORE: Why you should invest in a keep cup

READ MORE: Powerful environmental reasons you should switch to a menstrual cup


This one is simple and can go by many names. You may have seen it on this site under Upcycling, or DIY.

Simply take something you are no longer using and alter it for another more practical use. Think, mason jar into smoothie cup or pallet into shelving unit.

READ MORE: [DIY] Reusable make-up wipes.

READ MORE: Top 9 uses for leftover lemon peels


When you've tried everything else, it's time for the final R, recycle.

Recycle everything you can. Anything made from metal, wood, most plastics, paper and cardboard, and electronic e-waste are all likely to have a recycling option.

READ MORE: Every recycling question you have answered by a pro!

READ MORE: The dos and don'ts of recycling plastic.

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