5 R's is the New 3 R's
You are likely familiar with the three R’s: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. How about the other two: Refuse and Rot? Use the five R’s to reduce waste, simplify your life, and lessen your impact on the environment.
The best way to reduce waste is to Refuse. Avoid products designed for one use that can last for centuries in a landfill, such as straws, plastic lids, plastic bags (including produce and snack bags), beverage containers, coffee cups, sleeves, and pods.
Skip these single-use items or use your own reusable version. Tips:
- Many coffee shops will give you a discount for bringing your own cup.
- For meals you take with you, such as your lunch, use reusable plates cups, utensils, napkins, snack bags, food containers, etc.
When you cannot Refuse, then Reduce. Choose items with minimal or no packaging, such as bar soap or bulk food. Use reusable water bottles and shopping bags to avoid plastic pollution of our creeks and ocean. Tips:
- Did you know? San José Bring Your Own Bag and Foam Food Container ordinances have helped reduce waste, litter and plastic pollution in our creeks and ocean.
- Follow these tips to reduce food waste at home and beyond.
- Opt out of junk and paper mail by signing up for Catalog Choice, e-billing, and e-statements.
- Give the gift of an experience. Purchase restaurant gift cards; tickets to a play, concert, sporting event, Happy Hollow Park & Zoo, or the movies. You can also donate to a charity on someone's behalf.
Reusing products will help you save money, reduce waste, and preserve valuable resources. Tips:
- Purchase rechargeable batteries, such as camera batteries that can be recharged through a USB.
- Donate and shop at thrift stores.
- Mend clothing with holes or tears and resole well-worn shoes instead of buying new ones.
- Use "share" programs for cars, bicycles, equipment, clothing, and more and avoid buying things you rarely use.
When you cannot Refuse, Reduce or Reuse, make sure to Recycle. Take care that the right items go in the recycling. Buy products made from recycled content. Look for items with “post-consumer” material to save the natural resources — trees, water, and energy — used to produce new products. Tips:
- Learn what can and can’t be placed in your recycling bins to keep our recyclables clean and usable.
- Schedule a free Household Hazardous Waste drop-off appointment.
- Doing a home remodel? Construction and demolition debris is reusable or recyclable. Work with the City’s Construction Demolition Diversion (CDD) program to ensure this valuable material ends up in the right place.
The final “R” — Rot — means creating a valuable resource from food waste and organics such as newspaper. Recycle your fruit, vegetables, and yard trimmings into nutrients for your soil by home composting. Tip:
- Sign up for a free composting workshop.
By using the five R’s you can decrease the waste that can end up in our landfills where it can produce greenhouse gases and other pollution. Keep valuable items out of the landfill and help San José achieve its Zero Waste goal.