What Are the 5 R’s of Waste Management? : Klumm Bros.

What Are the 5 R’s of Waste Management?

March 25, 2022

Waste management is a field that has a language of its own. The people who own and operate facilities that manage waste are very serious about the work that they do. They have even developed a shorthand way of looking at their line of work. They call these "The 5 R’s of waste management," and they are important to any professional waste management company. Here is a quick summary of what those five R’s are: 

  • Refuse
  • Reduce
  • Reuse
  • Repurpose 
  • Recycle

Each of these terms ought to be used in order from the top (refuse) to the bottom (recycle) to reduce waste. Waste management companies know that these are the ways that society can actually peel back on its addiction to generating more waste. Simply refusing to participate in the cycle at all is a great place to start, but it is not what most people do. That is why there are so many options offered down the line to try to make the most of whatever people can do to change their usage habits. 


Practicing restraint and not taking on new waste at all is the first strategy we would recommend here at Klumm Bros. We think that everyone has some capacity to change how they interact with the collection of waste in the first place, and we would like to see more effort on the part of everyone to turn down new sources of waste whenever possible. 


The waste that one does have to take on can at least be reduced. Look for ways to limit the amount of new waste you gather, and try to figure out how you can change the quantity of waste that you or your company takes in daily. Even if you have to continue ordering certain products that eventually become waste, at least try to see if there are less wasteful ways to do so. 


Some products can be taken for a second trip around after they have been used once. You should not get too hung up on the fact that you may need to use something a second time. If that is what it takes to get the most use out of it, then so be it. You should be happy to give something another use because it will save you money in the long run. 


Many products are so disposable these days that we forget that they can be repurposed for something else with just a little effort. Perhaps you have seen this when people use old jars for plant pots or something similar. You can and should do the same with the various products you use on a daily basis. There is no reason to not get more life out of something you already own. 


Finally, you can recycle products so that the raw materials can be used by another person. This is the last option simply because it requires the most work to get the raw materials back into the environment for someone else to use. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give it a try, but it does mean that this is the least preferred way to do things. 

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