Recycling is traditionally broken down into 3-R’s: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. Now, included in the steps of recycling is Rot, which makes it the 4-R’s of recycling. Recycling doesn’t begin at the recycling bin, nor does it end in the recycling bin.

If you are determined to do the right thing, you have to adjust your mindset to start thinking about recycling. We have to change from the old model of trash to the new model of the material cycle. In recycling, there is a flow of materials. Moving from the product you consume back to new products, the flow of materials is key to understating recycling (hence the chasing arrows on the recycling symbol).

This is the first step to recycling. Similar to recycling, it is the process of using less after you have purchased a product. A good rule of thumb is the Halving Principle. It is simply trying to make do with half of what you normally use. Try using half the shampoo or toothpaste and see how much you really need.

If you can reuse something, why are you throwing it out? If you can’t come up with something to use it for, give it to someone else who can use it. Perhaps the item is no longer usable for its normal function, but have you thought about new uses? Try reusing your old toothbrush to clean with for example.

Most people understand this one already. Separate your materials, and take them to one of the drop-off centers listed.

Another term for composting.