By Merriam-Webster's Definition
Reduce: to diminish in size, amount, extent, or number
Reuse: to use again especially in a different way or after reclaiming or repossessing
Recycle: to pass again through a series of changes or treatments
Sounds simple enough, right? Well not so fast. In the big scope of things, we go in a certain order and there is a reason...there is always a reason. But hear me out. Reuse comes before recycle, and here is the reasoning. When you reuse something you will save some, if not all of the energy that went into it's making. For instance. You have a wagon that is on its way out or the children no longer use. Why not turn it into a planter. The wire hangers (I will refrain from my Mommy Dearest moment) can be returned back to the dry cleaners. Empty food cans can become pots for plants. How retro is that?
Some simple stupid ways to reduce. How about checking out a book from the library. Some libraries even have a table with withdrawn books at a fraction of the cost. Flea Markets, Garage Sales are great ways to get books on to your shelf with no extra energy wasted.
How about renting movies from the video store instead of purchasing them. Same goes for music. Buy them used or download.
Old clothes can go to consignment shops or donated to charities. Let someone else enjoy the fabrics you once did.
Plastic bags. Do you really need all those bags? I highly doubt it. I have been bringing my reusable canvas bags with me for a while now. I used them mostly at the grocery store, but I have taken to bringing them to every store I visit. The produce stand, the mall, or better yet, I just tell them I do not need a bag. Do you really need a bag for your CD/DVD? When you are going right to your car? Yeah, I thought so. You will get funny looks, so either you ignore them and keep going or you tell them the truth and by explaining yourself, you may get someone else to have their light bulb go on.
You have a treasure trove of items for crafts siting around your home. How about empty bottles, boxes being used in an art project? Old T-shirts can go for the cleaning box, or a dogs pull toy. Finished up plastic containers can be used to house small items, such as rubber bands, paper clips, buttons, nut and bolts, the list goes on.
And the ever useful Internet. Ever heard of Free Cycle? Then you need to get out more. It is there goal to reduce, reuse and recycle. And it's all for free. Give them a check out. they stared out in 2003 and have now grown to over 3,700 communities.
I hope I have given you some food for thought. I say this always, will you do every single thing I post about? I doubt it, but if you walk away with one piece of inspiration, then I have done my job. So go and do the three R's, and I ain't talking about Reading, Riting and Rethmatic.