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Follow The 3 R’s: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!

R3 reminds you to follow the 3 R’s--Reduce, Reuse and Recycle! R3 is Central Virginia Waste Management Authority’s (CVWMA) recycling mascot and CVWMA is Central Virginia’s Recycling Authority. Many communities throughout Virginia and the U.S. have recycling programs in place. But, recycling is just one part of the equation. Reducing, reusing and recycling go hand in hand to help us all improve our environment.

Watch the video to find out what you can do to follow the 3 R’s.

How many of the activities listed below do you and your family already do? Can you think of other ways you can reduce, reuse or recycle? Tell us about them - post your comments at the end of this article.

REDUCE – throw away less by buying only what you need and by buying fewer disposable and over-packaged products.
1. Use washable dishes instead of paper plates and cups.
2. Use a reusable water bottle instead of single serve water bottles.
3. Bring your own bag to the grocery store.
4. Pack a litterless lunch with only containers that can be recycled or washed.
5. Have furniture, toys and appliances repaired instead of tossing them and getting new ones.

REUSE – use items over and over or give gently used items to others.
1. Reuse containers, bags boxes, tubs, cups, bottles and jars over and over before discarding or recycling.
2. Pass down outgrown clothing, books and toys to younger brothers and sisters, donate to charity or have a yard sale.
3. Collect rain water in a rain barrel to use to water the garden.
4. Take “garbage” and make it into something new to use or to play with.
5. Take your food scraps and yard waste and start a compost bin in your back yard.

RECYCLE – as much as you can by collecting recyclable materials to be picked up at the curb or taken to a drop-off location and made into new products.
1. Collect paper and beverage containers and find the best way to recycle them in your community so they can be made into recycled paper and new beverage containers.
2. Have your school work with a recycling partner to collect and recycle ink jet cartridges, cell phones, bottle caps or aluminum tabs.
3. Collect aluminum cans and take to your local metal recycler for redemption.
4. Look for the recycling symbol and buy recycled products like recycled content paper, cards, and paper towels.
5. Encourage your parents to look for recycling centers that accept things like tires, batteries, motor oil, paints, and electronics for recycling too.

Why should we bother to reduce, reuse and recycle?

It’s easy – Most localities have curbside pick-up or drop-off locations for your recyclables. Contact your locality or visit Earth 911 to find out what you can recycle and where, and recycle more or start today.

It saves natural resources – Plastic is made from petroleum, aluminum from an ore called bauxite, tin cans from mostly steel, and paper from trees. Recycling these materials means fewer natural resources need to be mined or harvested. Glass, steel, aluminum and plastic can be recycled over and over again.

It saves money – Recycling saves fuel and transportation costs and saves on garbage disposal fees.

It saves energy – Recycling just one aluminum can instead of making it from scratch saves enough energy to run a computer for 3 hours.

It saves landfill space – Our landfills are getting full. Putting only materials that can’t be reused or recycled in the trash will make landfills last longer. Plastic, aluminum, paper, and other recyclable materials do us no good trapped in a landfill.

It reduces pollution and protects the environment – Recycling reduces air and water pollution and mining waste because it uses less energy and causes less damage to land and water than mining and harvesting.

Want to do more?  Try these activities at home from CVWMA’s Kids page:

  • Recycled Paper Making – make your own recycled paper using old scraps and a blender.
  • Recycled Craft Making – be creative, make new toys, games and other items from your trash and recycling.

Want to learn more? Visit these recycling and waste management links:

Article by: Stephanie Feaser, Public Information Assistant, Central Virginia Waste Management Authority