the three r



We explain what the three Rs of responsible consumption are, the meaning of each one and its ecological and economic benefits.

The rule of the three Rs proposes responsible consumption.

What are the three Rs?

In ecology and environmental protection, it is known as the Rule of the 3Rs or the Rule of the three Rs to a proposal to modify our habits consumer like society. It was popularized by the environmental group Greenpeace.

It states that the responsible consumption, that is, the application of certain strategies In the management of our waste and material waste, they can mean a positive ecological change, which has an impact on the environmental quality of the planet.

To do this, Greenpeace proposes the mnemonic rule of the "3Rs": Reduce, Reuse and Recycle, three ways to control the amount of solid waste we throw into environment and that it has a harmful impact on the biodiversity.

This concept has proven extremely popular, especially in industrialized nations. It has been politically defended in important meetings such as the G8 2004, where the Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi Junichiro proposed this initiative as a path towards the sustainable development.


By avoiding plastic bags the production of waste is reduced.

The first R of ecology has to do with minimizing the waste produced daily in our societies, through a less voracious, less dizzying and more responsible form of consumption. This proposal contradicts the spirit of the marketing and consumerism capitalist.

Reducing means consuming responsibly and consciously, thus reducing the amount used of:

  • Unnecessary energy. Avoiding leaving lights on, turning off appliances that are not in use, and using household appliances (washing machines, dishwashers, dryers) in their proper measure.
  • Single use material. As packaging material, plastic bags, cutlery, plastic cups and plates, etc.
  • Polluting gases. Using cars responsibly, using public transport, doing car pool, etc.


Discarded containers can be used to decorate the house.

The second R of ecology states that the materials used should have the longest possible useful life, instead of being used once and discarded to buy a new one.

Thus, by reusing the materials as much as possible, the need to consume a new one and to produce environmental waste is postponed. This involves repairing them, giving them a new and creative use, or putting off buying a new one as long as possible.

For example, the other side of printed sheets, plastic bottles, wooden boxes, etc. can also be used.


Non-biodegradable materials can be recycled back to raw material.

The third R of ecology is, perhaps, the one that requires the greatest efforts, since it consists of recycling waste materials that are still usable, to reinsert them into the production chain as raw material.

This process is particularly important for non-biodegradable recyclable materials, such as certain plastics, cardboard, glass, metal and paper, for example, which can serve as an input for the manufacture of new marketable items.

For example, glass can be recast and used to make new bottles; paper and cardboard can be decomposed into pulp and made from recycled paper; aluminum and copper they can be melted down and used again, etc.

Benefits of the Three Rs

On the one hand, the benefits of implementing the three R's of ecology have an impact on the environment and the reduction of the ecological footprint of our civilization, which in itself is urgent and priority enough.

On the other hand, they provide economic benefits such as the reduction of expenses superfluous, family savings, the use of recyclable materials as raw material instead of extracting more of the nature, etc.

A sustainable development model that can last in the weather Without incurring in crises and catastrophes in the foreseeable future, it must necessarily implement this concept of responsible consumption.

Importance of the Three Rs

The importance of the defense of environment Using the three Rs is vital, especially in the post-industrial, consumer-oriented world we live in today, where we want to have everything quickly at hand and want to immediately forget about waste once we eat the burger.

The awareness of the bestial ecological damage that we cause to the planet is the only way to the survival of our own species. The amount of non-biodegradable garbage is such that we are already beginning to perceive it even in what we eat.

For example, microplastics are plastic particles discarded at the sea (garbage bags, especially) whose size is imperceptible but their presence is noticeable, so they are housed inside fish and other animals from which we feed. The three R's of ecology are a way to initiate change before the environment is totally polluted.

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