Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

What Does Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Mean?

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle (R3) is an environmental methodology and strategy for waste minimization. R3 is a hierarchical waste framework that is used to generate maximum product benefit with minimal waste.
R3 principles are applied by people and organizations to evaluate viable and ecologically sound purchasing options.


Techopedia Explains Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

R3 waste hierarchy principles are:

Reduce purchased electronic devices. For example, limit computer requirements for homes, small businesses and organizations.

Reuse by upgrading electronic device hardware and software, vs. replacement. When replacement is the only option, donate old devices to organizations or charities that reuse electronic components.
Recycle by donating or refurbishing electronic devices and components for productive use. Recycling is divided into upcycle and downcycle components.

Either of the following precepts may be applied to R3:

Recover is appended to any R3 principle to refer to salvageable or usable waste products.

Rethink may precede any R3 principle to reiterate a total recommended assessment and reanalysis of all purchasing needs, available options and environmental impact.

Waste-to-energy (WtE) disposal programs capture usable material or energy via the following processes:

Generate: Energy is recovered for reuse, i.e., methane gas harvesting.

Incinerate: High temperatures efficiently controls emissions while materials are destroyed. Differs from burning.

Devastate: Waste is discarded directly into the environment.

European waste hierarchy steps are fivefold, as follows: reduce, reuse, recycle, recovery and disposal.


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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.