3 R’s of the Waste Reduction Hierarchy

As the world’s population increases at an exponential rate, the human footprint that is made on our planet is shocking. In America alone, more than 250 million tons of trash is produced, yearly. Try and conceptualize just how much that truly is would be nearly impossible.

Landfills are overflowing, polluting our waters and contributing to climate changes that impact ecosystems. Now, more than ever, it is absolutely crucial that the human population starts to understand the consequences of our waste production before the issues become irreversible.

One way we can all help make a difference is by applying the “waste hierarchy” to our personal lives and businesses. This hierarchy involves three very simple words that will ultimately lead to less waste generation.

The 3 R’s of Recycling are: reduce, reuse and recycle.


Being conscious of the amount of waste that is produced is the very first step in this waste hierarchy. The concept is that if less waste is produced then there will be even less to reuse or recycle. There are a few simple assessment steps that can ultimately help reduce the amount of waste that is produced.

  • Multipurpose – living a lifestyle that utilizes items that have multiple purposes is essential to the reduction of waste. Do the products you use have multiple purposes or are they very limited and specific? For example, you may own a coffee pot and a cappuccino maker, both of these items do different tasks but there are attachments to coffeemakers that can be purchased to turn a coffee pot into a multi-use item. Applying this thought process to your future purchases will help reduce the amount of production and the amount of waste packaging.
  • Multiuse – many products available today are labeled as disposable, which adds a level of convenience for us. Instead of using plastic bags (either for food or shopping) that will be thrown out after each use, try investing in options that can be used over and over. Washable food storage containers, reusable grocery bags and other daily items that we buy and can be used multiple times.


It is such a simple, convenient act to throw away used, old and even broken items that we may not have an exact purpose for. Reusing items, finding new uses for discarded items and donating the items you don’t have a need for are great ways to help eliminate the extraordinary amount of waste that is generated each year. Some examples of this include:

  • Keep items that may not have a purpose at this very moment but could be used later on.
  • Old clothes can have many purposes such as being turned into rags, blankets and even toys for pets.
  • Old furniture or appliances can be sold online or even donated to those looking for secondhand items.
  • Invest a little time, money and effort into fixing or updating items rather than just throwing them out.

It is extremely easy to just throw items away that become obsolete or even broken but taking that little bit of extra effort to repurpose them can make a huge impact.


This is the last step in the waste hierarchy because out of the three R’s of waste management, recycling actually costs a significant amount of money and requires extensive processes. However, recycling costs much less than harvesting and producing new materials and cuts down on the overall pollution significantly.

The biggest challenge that is faced when trying to recycle is convenience. Recycling does take effort because more often than not, the programs in place require the recyclable materials to be separated from normal waste. Taking the time to make the conscious effort to recycle all materials can have an important impact.

While many communities offer their residents recycling programs, businesses face a more difficult time finding solutions for their recycling needs. Luckily, for businesses around the metro Phoenix area Consolidated Resources, Inc. offers comprehensive recycling and waste management solutions to fit any needs.

Whether your business is seeking customized material storage or flexible pickup scheduling, CRI offers it all. For nearly 30 years, CRI has been providing exceptional customer service to businesses from Casa Grande to Prescott Valley. Call (623)931-5009 today, to learn how CRI can help solve your business’s unique recycling needs.