Waste Prevention – The 4 R’s

Posted by on September 3, 2018
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We all have a responsibility to take care of the planet, as it is the only home we have. Today more than ever, it is pertinent that everyone is an active participant in waste prevention. Being sustainable means keeping our communities, homes, and green spaces vibrant, healthy, and safe places to live, dream, and explore.

If you have never heard of the 4 R’s of waste prevention, then today marks your opportunity to begin your stainable life journey.

What are the 4 R’s?

  1. Reduce: Create less waste, save energy, and avoid harming the environment.

  2. Reuse: Reuse, repair, or extend the life of the products you purchase. This way, you will save money and live a more sustainable life.

  3. Recycle: Recycling keeps waste out of landfills and stops manufacturing companies from extracting raw products to create their products. Not only does recycling end resource depletion, but it creates jobs and reduces water and air pollution.

  4. Rot: Yes, rot literally refers to rotting food. Instead of throwing away lawn clippings, food scraps, or other organic materials, try composting them. Since many neighbourhoods provide collection services or bins for residents and businesses to dispose of their biodegradables, keeping organics out of landfills is easy.

Tips to Help You Reduce Unnecessary Waste

  • Get on board the reusable shopping back train! Keep a couple of bags in your car, bike bag, or backpack so that no matter when you go to the store, you never have an excuse not to have a reusable bag with you.
  • Buy recycled materials! An increasing number of stores and manufacturing companies offer post-consumer products to customers. Next time you buy paper or toilet paper, think about opting for a recycled brand instead of a product using entirely new materials.
  • Buy local
  • Opt for electronic bills, newspapers, anything you can get electronically.
  • Focus on purchasing products that are built to last and take care of them.
  • Instead of buying new tools every time you can’t find something, ask your neighbours. Share what you have, and you won’t just be reducing your waste, but enriching your life as well.
  • Use a reusable water bottle or ceramic mug for beverages.
  • Only make paper copies that you absolutely need and set your computer to double-sided printing. Make sure that your documents are exactly what you want before printing, so you don’t have to worry about having to reprint anything. This method will cut down on work and waste.

Tips to Help you Reuse the Things you Already Have

  • Life is not a fashion trend. Before you get rid of something, try and consider whether it has value and if it can still be used or repurposed. For instance, use empty spaghetti jars as cups or cookie tins as tea organizers.
  • Rent, borrow, or share items you use infrequently.
  • Frequently service electronic items and appliances to keep them in pristine condition and to increase product life. If they do break, save money by having the items repaired instead of buying a new one. Things like cars, fridges, phones, televisions, and ovens can last years if you clean them regularly, have them repaired when broken, and conduct routine services them.
  • Repurpose broken items into garden ordainments. Make a wind-chime or mosaic out of old bottles, broken plates, and other odds and ends.
  • Hold a regular garage sale or donate unwanted items to Goodwill locations instead of tossing them in the garbage.
  • Check out a book from the library or use an online e-book option instead of purchasing it. Rent a movie online, go to the theatre, or subscribe to a site like Netflix instead of buying a Blu-ray or DVD.
  • Use refillable pens and pencils instead of tossing them out.
  • Compost organics instead of throwing them in the garbage and use the dirt you make in your garden


There is a severe problem with organic materials that are dumped into landfills. Yes, natural materials are biodegradable, but when these items are mixed with and become trapped under the non-organic material, methane gas isn’t able to escape and the food can’t decompose properly. The result is that landfills are filling up quickly and dangerous gases are not being absorbed at the rate they should be.

If you didn’t already know, methane is a dangerous greenhouse gas that is a significant reason for climate change. According to recent statistics, 40% of landfills are filled with organic materials. But there is something simple that you can do to change this staggering number. You can compost.

If you live in the Toronto area, then composting is a realistic habit to adopt. The cities in the region have been particularly accommodating in developing pick-up services and bins in neighbourhoods to easily drop-off and dispose of organic waste. The best thing you can do is visit the web page of your local waste management company and find out what services are available to you.

Other resources to check out to help you reduce the amount of organic waste entering your garbage include:

  • Visit the website of your city or local garbage disposal services to find information on dates for putting out organic yard waste for pick up.
  • Home composting can be a valuable part of sustainable living. To learn how to begin your composting journey by visiting “Waste Management World.”

By following the 4 R’s of waste prevention, you can make a conscious and active difference in your community.

For more information on the 4 R’s of Waste Prevention, reach out Red Bins at 416-733-2467 or contact us here.

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