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The 5 R rule to reduce our wastes

You are currently viewing The 5 R rule to reduce our wastes

"The best waste is one we don't produce"

When you know that, according to Ademe, a French person creates 590 kg of wastes on average per year with 370 kg  of domestic wastes and 200 kg in rubbish dump, that famous “Zero Waste” motto makes sense.

Last autumn, my husband and I attended to several lectures and workshops on the topic. These information sessions were what changed our way of living. I’ll have plenty of opportunity to share their content with you but I think it is best to begin with a basic notion not to discourage any goodwill.

And this basic notion is the simple 5 R Rule.

5 R rule

1- R as Reduce

Saying “no” to all the things you don’t need is just common sense. 

When you think twice about it, we can do it all day long. For example, you can refuse the flyers in your mailbox thanks to a”No flyers ” sticker.

When you go shopping, you can take your own tote bag even to pick fruits and vegetables since paper bags are also some waste. Since you know your vegetables will be loose in the crisper draw of your refrigerator, why not let them loose in your bag ? This is the same idea for the bread bag which avoids taking the bakery paper bag.

When you go out, you can easily refuse the straw or single-service utensils. There are so many nice and sustainable solutions like reusable bamboo or metal straws and utensils. For Christmas, Santa’s brought for each family member a little fabric set with straw and utensils we store in our bagpack and use each time we eat on the go. 

couverts zéro déchets - zero waste forks

This is the same for the food tray. Carrying your own food contenant to go and search your takeaway meal at your caterer is also an easy change.

When you receive small business gifts such as a key-ring, pens or any plastic object you’ll forget at the bottom of a drawer, why don’t you refuse them too ?

2- R as Reduce

Consuming less goods and energy is the second logical step. There are also so many ways to do it in this emergency state we are facing ! In forty years, French people’s domestic wastes production doubled !  Do you know nowadays 40% of plastic production comes from wrapping industries ?

Reducing food waste (about 10 millions tons per year in France) is a national priority and Ademe recently tackled mass retail.

From our point of view, we can act too by buying in a more responsible way. By choosing bulk products, you limit the use of single-used wrapping. By stopping bottled water consumption, you can make the difference. And if you need to purify your tap water, there are many eco-friendly solutions such as ceramic beads. If you like sparkling water, why not use a (glass) Sodastream since their gas bottles recycling cycle is sustainable?

zéro déchets - zero waste

By buying second hand products, you extend the lifetime of the products and avoid useless production. I’m a huge fan of the Lego or Playmobil deal on LeBonCoin ! Besides I make some interesting savings so this is a winwin solution !

3-R as Reuse

This is the art to find a second life for the objects.

For example, we keep all our glass jars to store our bulk grocery foods.

I cut and sewed some old terry towels to use as a sponge. My son loved making Tawashi by weaving old socks.

Fixing electronic objects, mending or sewing your clothes like cutting  old jeans to make short, are some great reflexes.

4-R as Recycle

Yes, this is only the 4th step and not the 1st ! We all know now that recycling is not The solution we expected so much, especially for plastic products. The scandal of the exportation of our wastes to poorer countries is a bitter reminder…


That’s why it is better to use recycling only as a last resort especially since the sorting out directives are very different from a city to another !

5- Return to the soil

At home, it was the first thing we implemented when we bought our house. This is how we dropped by half the quantity of our domestic wastes.

And on the contrary of what I can read here and there, you can really put in any organic wastes : peelings, food leftovers, coffee ground, tea bags, tissues … and cut grass ! Please, stop cluttering up the waste disposals with some green wastes (especially by using your car and polluting more).

Compost is a treasure for the garden. That’s why it is called Brown gold !

If you live in an apartmentt, many municipalities have implemented some common composters in the area, schools … And there is also the vermicompost option.


Just by following the 5 R rule, you can easily implement some ecofriendly changes in your daily life. 

Keep in mind every action counts ! Small streams make great rivers…

And can you believe I don’t even talk to you about homemade products or sustainable materials ?

So many changes to come !

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