“The 4 R’s”- Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, RECOVERY
Reduce - This is the most effective of the 3R’s, reduce means to not create the waste in the first place. By reducing, you can save natural resources and reduce waste disposal costs. When you shop, look for things that are durable, well made, and will be useful for a long time. The extra cost you may spend in purchasing a quality item, will offset the cost of replacing non-quality items. Learn how to properly maintain items so they last longer. Buy products that are made from post-consumer recycled materials. Choose electronics and appliances that are energy-efficient. Buy items made or grown close to home, this reduces the energy to transport items to the store. Buy used items. Avoid overly packaged items. Cut back on water use. Waste less energy on lights and equipment.
Reuse - Before recycling or throwing away an item, consider other uses for it. A plastic take out container can be used for leftovers. Food scraps can become compost. An old shirt can be used for pajamas or cut up to use as a rag. A magazine can be shared with friends. DVDs can be traded. Cell phones can be donated. Often, appliances and electronics can be repaired or may be part of a buy-back program so the parts can be refurbished and used again.
Recycle - Recycling turns materials that would otherwise become waste into valuable resources and is the easiest of the 3R’s. Every community has some sort of recycling program. According to the EPA, there are several benefits of recycling:
- Recycling protects and expands U.S. manufacturing jobs and increases U.S. competitiveness.
- Recycling reduces the need for landfilling and incineration.
- Recycling prevents pollution caused by the manufacturing of products from virgin materials.
- Recycling saves energy.
- Recycling decreases emissions of greenhouse gases that contribute to global climate change.
- Recycling conserves natural resources such as timber, water, and minerals.
- Recycling helps sustain the environment for future generations.”
Recovery - Source reduction and recycling are important parts of managing our solid waste, but even with our best efforts, we still need means of disposing our waste. With Waste Management’s Wheelabrator Technologies, located in Westville, NJ, we are able to generate clean and and renewable energy for local utilities. Wheelabrator Gloucester processes up to 500 tons per day of municipal solid waste and has an electric generating capacity of 14,000 kilowatts; the equivalent of supplying the electrical needs of 15,000 New Jersey homes.