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You probably feel pretty confident with the three R's of sustainability. It seems like everyone knows ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ like the back of their hand - and we love to see it!
Believe it or not, there are three more R's to take part in when it comes to sustainability. It turns out that ‘Rethink’, Refuse’, and ‘Repair’ are also important pillars for reducing your waste and living in a more sustainable way. But they’re a lot less familiar than the other three to most people, so what do they mean? And how can we work together to make all six of equal importance?
We’ve got your back - in this blog, we’ll break down each of the six R's, and how you can use them as cornerstones for a waste-conscious, sustainable lifestyle.
We’ve all been tempted by treats in the supermarket, or a bargain online that’s only a few clicks away from being in transit to you. Re-thinking is about looking at your buying and consumption habits and making healthier choices - for the planet and your bank account!
To apply “rethink” in practical terms let’s look at our clothes shopping habits. Your favourite brand has just released its new season. Ordinarily, you might splurge and buy it all, but this time, think about whether you need more clothes. Spend time going through your wardrobe, creating some seasonal outfits, and assessing if you need to buy anything at all.
Here in the UK, we send 700,000 tonnes of clothing to recycling centres, textile banks, clothes collections and charity each year, so it’s time to rethink our clothes shopping habits.
Re-thinking about your choices here at EcoVibe? Your choices have never been easier with our Green Guide - you can see exactly what benefits every one of our products has based on which badges it has. It’s a great tool to see your positive impact at a glance!
This ‘R’ is about refusing to pay money for something that would end up generating a lot of waste or has a big carbon footprint. This can be done by refusing to buy from a company for ethical reasons, or by turning down things that are free or cheap. Freebies are often made of plastic, and end up in the bin without us getting any use out of them whatsoever.
You’ve re-thought your habits thanks to the previous ‘R’ - this step puts your new ideologies to the test, and it feels great to start saying ‘no’ to things that you know would be harmful. Go put your thoughts into action!
Next time you’re at a work event or conference, start refusing the freebies you’re being offered on each stand.
Almost everything we buy has a price for the environment, and so much of what we use ends up in landfills. Reducing is about cutting down the amount of stuff you have, Marie Kondo style. If you break the habits of harmful consumerism and consume less on the whole, then you’ll generally waste less too.
Take your hair for example. Studies have shown that we only need to wash our hair 2-3 times a week, yet most of us do it every day. You can save on product, water, and time by investing in higher quality products which keep your hair fresher for longer!
Investing in reusable alternatives to single-use products is a habit which you can keep throughout your life. This can be as simple as getting reusable shopping bags or swapping to refillable cleaning products rather than ones in plastic packaging. This saves plastic from being thrown straight into the landfill - plus the glass containers that we offer at Ecovibe look nice enough to display rather than hiding under your kitchen sink!
You can get super creative and crafty with how you reuse things you already own - don’t forget that when you pay for a product, you’re also paying for the packaging.
Re-using jars is a great way of showing the environment some extra love. They might not be super aesthetic mason jars, but pasta sauce jars can make great candle holders, or can even be used as refillable containers to take to your nearest refill shop.
Everyone has days where they feel particularly accident-prone, and breakages happen! It’s super tempting to just replace your broken goods with brand new ones, but why not try a little DIY and have a go at repairing it yourself? YouTube is your best friend for repair tutorials, and even if it can’t be totally fixed, you can always offer it to someone who could salvage its parts.
In Japan, there’s a practice called Kintsugi which encourages people to repair their own pottery and highlights the repair with gold lacquer. Repairs are part of the history of something so why not make it into a piece of art!
Your neighbourhood might have a community repair centre, where you can take your broken goods in the hopes that an expert can help you fix them. Take your bike for example. New bikes are really pricey, and for free or a small fee you may be able to get them repaired by local volunteers.
Got a skill to share? Whether you’re a dab hand at darning or pretty amazing with electricals, give back to your local community by offering free repairs.
When all else has failed, disposing of something sometimes has to be done. That’s why this ‘R’ is the last on the list!
Make sure, you’re recycling effectively and you know what can be recycled and how by having a look at your local council guidelines. Our guide to what can be recycled should give you a good place to start.
There are also smaller acts of recycling that you can do around your home which help more immediately. Recycling water from boiling pasta or rice to water your plants, or starting a compost heap, are some really easy ways of doing some more hands-on recycling.
Feeling ready to rule the 6 R's of sustainability?
So, we’ve talked about the six Rs of sustainability, what they mean, and how you can incorporate them into your routine. Together, they help you to be more responsible with your waste, reduce your carbon footprint, and get more use out of everything that you do buy, saving you money!
Now you can rest, relax, and recuperate knowing that you have all the tools you need to be your best sustainable self.
We love seeing our Vibers tell us about their sustainable lifestyles - no matter which ‘r’ you're focusing on! If you want to share your latest ‘r’ revelation, tag us on social media or leave us a comment below.