The Reduce, Reuse, Recycle System
The Reduce, Reuse, Recycle system is a powerful way we can minimise the negative environmental impacts of our everyday living. We all consume products on a daily basis that often require raw materials and energy to create and which create waste when we are finished with them. This ongoing consumption affects our environment.
By employing the reduce, reuse, recycle system we can begin to lessen these impacts by making small changes to our lifestyle.
Have you bought a takeaway coffee recently? If you have then it probably came in a disposable cup. These require paper, plastic and energy to create and we throw them away after just one use.
This is a huge waste of resources and energy which also creates 30,000 tonnes of coffee cup waste in the UK every year. Our takeaway coffee cups create the equivalent weight of over 2,370 double decker buses!
By applying the reduce, reuse, recycle system to this problem we can see how we can minimise these environmental impacts.
Step 1: Reduce How Much We Are Using
Reduce is the first stage in the system because it is the most effective way to minimise the environmental impacts we create. The less materials and energy we use and waste we create the less demands we place on the environment.
So if we want to reduce the environmental impacts of our takeaway coffee cups we can use less of them. This will decrease the energy and raw materials we are using as well as the waste we create. Hurrah!
But does that mean we can’t have a coffee on the go any more? No! That is where the reuse stage of the reduce, reuse, recycle system comes in.
Step 2: Reuse What We Can
Reuse is next most important stage in the system as using something multiple times is much more sustainable than getting a new one every time we need it.
In our takeaway coffee cup scenario we can replace our disposable cup with a reusable coffee cup instead.
These lightweight cups can be carried with you and used in any cafe or coffee shop instead of a takeaway cup. Most high street and independent coffee shops also offer a discount for bringing your own cup.
Pret A Manger customers enjoy a discount of 50p for bringing their own reusable cup. This saved four million disposable cups from being used in 2018 and saved customers a total of £2m.
So a reusable coffee cup is not only more eco friendly but can also save you money as well.
We love bamboo because it’s fast growing, renewable, absorbs large amounts of CO2 and produces more oxygen than other plants. That’s why we think this makes it a perfect raw material for reusable cups.
Step 3: Recycle What Cannot Be Reused
Recycle is the final stage of the reduce, reuse, recycle system as it is the best solution when we can no longer reuse something.
Unfortunately the vast majority of our disposable coffee cups cannot be recycled. Indeed, only 1 in 400 of our takeaway coffee cups are actually recycled.
The problem is the waterproof plastic lining you see on the inside of the cups. These cannot be removed at standard recycling centres so our disposable cups usually go to landfill or Waste for Energy (WfE) schemes.
So unfortunately takeaway coffee cups fail at all three stages of the reduce, reuse, recycle system.
Our reusable bamboo coffee cups are biodegradable in just one to three years. This means that, unlike takeaway coffee cups, they can be easily disposed of when you are finished with them.
Applying The Reduce, Reuse, Recycle System
Now you have seen the reduce, reuse, recycle system in action you can take the next step by applying it yourself. Start where you feel you can make the biggest changes to your environmental impacts.
If you’d like to change your takeaway coffee habits then explore how our reusable bamboo coffee cups can help you make those first steps.