The 9 R’s of Sustainability

Most of us are doing our best to make sustainable choices, but it’s easy to get lost or overwhelmed in the process. For a bit more clarity, let’s go back to the basics with the 9 R’s of sustainability. These are meant to help you with your low-waste journey, so check them out:

  • Rethink – Start by reassessing and pinpointing areas of your life that you want to change. For example, you could do a waste audit if you’re unhappy with the amount of trash you produce.
  • Refuse – Say no to physical clutter, mental clutter, bad habits, fears, or grudges. For physical clutter, opt out of junk mail, say no to plastic straws, swag and giveaways that you won’t use, and avoid buying things in non-recyclable packaging.
  • Reduce – Live more simply and sustainably by reducing what you have, buy, and need. 
  • Reuse – Reuse items you already have rather than opting for single-use products  – try reusable coffee cups, water bottles, and shopping bags.
  • Re-gift – Give what you don’t need or want to someone else who can use them, like a friend or charity.
  • Repair – Repair items rather than throw them away. Try learning how to sew, mend, or fix things around your home.
  • Rent – Rent things you don’t need on a regular basis, like tools, camping gear, or formal wear. 
  • Recycle – Recycle everything that you can and look for special recycling programs for electronics, home goods, and other things you can’t put in your recycling bin.
  • Rot – Compost your food waste and yard waste. This reduces waste while also creating rich soil for your (or your community’s) garden.

These are meant to be helpful, not overwhelming, so don’t worry about doing all nine at once. Start with one change and add more, and before you know it you’ll have changed your entire lifestyle to be better for the planet.