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Reduce, reuse and recycle

The 3Rs (Reduce, Reuse and Recycle) provide us with a guideline to help deal with our waste, reduce the impact on our landfills, and reduce the impact on our environment. The 3Rs also help us as we try to reach our goal of leading Calgary to zero waste.

Find ways to reduce waste in the first place. You could rent, borrow or buy a product second-hand instead. Consider how much you need an item and how much will be tossed away (especially the packaging). Then ask if it can be reused or recycled.

If you no longer need a product, someone else might. Donate to a charity, give to a friend, or hold a garage sale. Old buttons and beads can be used for handicrafts. Broken hockey sticks make great garden stakes. Margarine tubs are perfect containers.

People who recycle say it's habit-forming. And this is one habit that we, the Province and private entrepreneurs support. Some products that can be recycled include newspapers, plastic bags, milk containers, end-of-life electronics, household chemicals and batteries.

You can take advantage of our recycling and composting services. We also invite you to use our online recycling and disposal search tool What Goes Where, which provides options for recycling or donating items you no longer need.

How can you reduce waste?

Here are some waste reduction tips:

  • Buy products made from recycled materials
  • Support businesses that show environmental responsibility
  • Buy durable products that will last
  • Look for products that have little or no packaging, or reusable packaging
  • Tell manufacturers when you are unhappy with excess packaging
  • Buy in bulk or buy the right size for you
  • Use your own shopping bags

Why we should reduce waste?

We often don't give much thought to things we toss into the garbage. Items like old clothing, toys, sporting goods and kitchenware end up in City of Calgary landfills every day.

If we gave it more thought, we might find other ways to use these items. We'd realize that it took energy and raw materials to create these products. And it cost us our hard earned money to buy them. Sending them to the landfill, seems like, well...such a waste.

Instead let's use our imaginations and be creative. That's what the 3Rs – Reduce, Reuse and Recycle – are all about. It's a way we all can be responsible about managing waste.

For more information and tips on how you can take advantage of the 3Rs, visit Alberta Environment's Waste and Recycling at Home.