Most of us have heard of the 3 R’s of Sustainability (reduce, reuse, recycle). While that is a good start, we wanted to take it a step further. We found a few different frameworks out there, but decided to make our own to represent the key ‘R’s that we use in our personal lives and when running our business.
There is a reason why this one is first – it’s one of the hardest yet one of the most impactful ‘R’s there is. There are so many ‘things’ we bring into our lives impulsively or out of habit, that we don’t truly need. So next time you are at a conference or expo and feel the urge to grab the free stuff, stop and think if you really need that in your life. Most of the time, the answer will be no!
Small Challenge: Next time your out; don’t hesitate to politely refuse a business card (take a picture instead!) or skip that handful of sauce packets in your to-go order.
Tips/Resources: Explore the topic of ‘minimalism’ to learn more about living without, follow hashtags on IG or Twitter for bite size learning.If you have Netflix check out the documentary “The Minimalists” to wet your appetite!
Building off the previous ‘R’, ‘Reduce’ is all about reducing your consumption in both physical and intangible items. For example, look in your makeup bag, closet, or junk drawer (we all have one!) and ponder whether you really need all the items in there. If you aren’t using it and it doesn’t bring you joy, you don’t really need it. After you donate your unused items, don’t let the new void of clutter lead you to rebuying or replacing.
Small Challenge: Try to simplify your beauty routine, avoid buying multiple products that serve the same purpose, such as moisturizers, lip balm and gloss, or face washes. Try to find products that are more versatile and have multiple uses. Already tackled that challenge, move on to evaluate your wardrobe. When buying clothes try to have a “capsule wardrobe” consisting of a few high-quality items that can be combined for endless options and can be worn for multiple occasions whether it’s work or happy hour with your friends..
Tips/Resources: Check out the amazing article “18 Piece Wardrobe” from Zero Waste Influencer Kathryn Kellogg for a good read on how she simplified her closet!
Reusing items is a great way to save the planet and save money. So, before you throw an empty container into the recycling bin,stop and think,“is there anything I can reuse this for?” The same goes for cotton shirts or old towels, cut them up and repurpose them for rag towels!
As you may have realized, we just LOVE mason jars around here (how are pasta jars so cute and free?!?) and reuse them for all kinds of things. You can store leftover food in them in the fridge, use them as cute cups for homemade cocktails, or stick a plant cutting in it to propagate your house plants! #CrazyPlantLady
Tips/Resources: The Insta inspiration is endless, so whip out your phone and check out the hashtag #reuse and get ready to be inspired!
If your able to shop in bulkyou can save tons of packaging from ever hitting the landfill. You can shop both food and non-food items via the ‘refill’ model – just make sure you have bulk bags and bottles/jars that fit the job!
Shopping at farmer’s markets and neighborhood produce standsare great ways of reducing your food packaging (and support your local farmer!). You can also refill your beauty items and cleaning supplies right here at Sans Market.
Tips/Resources: Look for zero waste stores in your area or grocery stores that have bulk sections. Visit Litterless to find a store in your area!
There was a time when people didn’t throw things away or simply buy new items if their stuff broke…so let’s bring that repair economy back! Get a second life out of your clothes, shoes, electronics, jewelry…whatever really!
Instead of tossing out your shoes with the broken heel or worn-down sole, find a local repair shop that can repair it! Save the planet, save money, and help keep local artisan in your neighborhood.
Tips/Resources:You can find small momn’pop repair shops simply by searching ‘repair’ in Google Maps. We also like to turn to our community FB groups (@ILoveStPete) ask your neighbors who they recommend for local repair shops. Trust us, the recommendations will come pouring in! #keepstpetelocal
Sometimes you no longer have use for an item or simply can’t reuse or repair it. But before you toss it, see if you can get creative on giving that item a new purpose or use in your life. If the answer is no, consider donating it if its still in good condition. One woman’s trash is another woman’s treasure!
Broke your favorite mug? Repurpose it by turning it into a tiny planter to hold your succulents, a coin jar, or a pen holder for your desk!
Tips/Resources:The internet is your friend on this one – Google or Pinterest the heck out of the item you don’t need any more and get inspired by what others are doing with their unneeded items!
This is probably the most known ‘R’ out there but be wary of this ‘feel good’ friend. Although recycling can be good, it really should be the last resort after you have tried all the other R’s. That’s because recycling is still a fossil-fuel dependent industry and right now recycling centers (or MRFs) are having trouble utilizing all the recyclables that end up at their sorting facilities.
Recycling can be tricky and unfortunately all states/cities/municipalities tend to do it slightly different. You’re best bet is to do a quick Google search for ‘recycling guidelines in my county’, this is an easy way to make sure you know what is and isn’t recyclable where you live. (Also, keep in mind it may change year to year based on market conditions!)
Tips/Resources: Have you already mastered your local recycling system!? Woo Hoo, now let’s take it one step further and see how you can recycle those hard to recycle items!!
A few suggestions to check include:
Publix has made it easy to recycle 2 items that are very prevalent yet NOT accepted in most curbside recycling programs: styrofoam and plastic bags. Also, reach out to day cares, animal shelters, or local charities, they are often in need of plastic bags.
Terracycle is an awesome company working to recycle the hard-to-recycle items (toothpaste tubes, contact lenses, coffee pods, and much more). Check out their website for a variety of both free and paid recycling programs!
MAC Makeup recycling program offers a FREE MAC lipstick when you send in 6 empty MAC make-up containers for recycling! #score Visit their website for the mailing address or find a store drop off location (in select cities!)
Catchily renamed ‘rot’ this R is for rotting or rather composting!
Not so fun fact: In the US, it’s estimated that 30-40% of food ends up being thrown away (source: USDA). A great way to keep food waste out of landfills is to compost it. Live in an apartment or feeling nervous about starting to compost in your backyard? No problem! While most cities don’t have curbside composting bins (jealously rolling our eyes at you, California) there are paid and/or free options in most cities.
Looking for a composting service that offers a pickup or drop off option for your food waste?
Check out Suncoast Compost if you live in the Tampa Bay area.
On a budget? Us too! Check out MakeSoil, a nonprofit online platform matches ‘Soil Makers’ (people who compost) with nearby ‘Soil Supporters’ (people who contribute scraps). They have a great map to connect the soil supporters and the soil makers!
Tips/Resources: Interested in composting but not sure how or where to start? Check out these local and national websites to learn more: