What are Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Repair and Upcycle?
More often than not, we come across the widely used word ‘Recycle’, but what is its meaning actually? Also, what about Reduce, Reuse and Upcycle? Let’s get a closer look at them.
The word we have come across most often on published media or websites is Recycle, but there are also other words that start with R, which are Reduce and Reuse (while many misunderstood that Reuse = Recycle, but they are actually different).
The principle of these three words is to highlight the words that encourage us to use global resources in the most worthwhile way, respecting to reduce waste, preserve the environment and ease global warming problems. All of which are arranged by easiness and efficiency.
Literally, Reduce means to cut down the consumption of resources. This first step is easiest and considered the best way. To Reduce the use of resources will help to save resources in the most efficient way. For example, finishing your meal thoroughly can significantly help to reduce waste. To Reduce the use of plastic bags and turn to eco-friendly shopping bags is another good way. If you have a shopping bag at home, just keep it handy and use it when you shop. By replacing a plastic bag with a shopping bag can substantially help reduce the volume of plastic use per day.
Reuse is how we bring any thing that can be used to use again (or several times, for better results). For example, to Reuse a plastic bag received from convenient stores as a garbage bag; to Reuse a plastic water bottle as your personal water bottle; to Reuse an empty cookie box as a storage for small belongings. This way, you have reduced the use of resources to some extent.
Recycle involves bringing things that cannot be reused due to damages to undergo material recycling process, including melting, in order to use them for manufacturing new things. For example, to get recycled plastic resins and fibers, respectively, from plastic bottles for the production of t-shirts; to melt glass, to spin used paper for pulps to produce new paper. The Recycle approach is the last options, as it involves the use of energy in processing in which a resource like oil must be used.
Repair involves the fixing of broken things, such as table, chair, etc. to regain previous functionality. Broken electrical appliances can be repaired to work well like before. This might be better than dumping them to buy new ones, wasting global resources even more. Unfortunately, electrical appliance manufacturers know well and are not a fan of Repair. By cutting costs, they have made buying the latest models look more worthwhile than repairing the old ones. However, new products seem to come with a shorter lifetime due to the use of cheaper raw materials that bring down production costs. That’s why new models are replacing the previous ones at all times.
This new word involves the Upcycle of materials that almost become waste into new items. By making it look prettier or adding new ideas, the Upcycle doesn’t involve Recycle. By cutting, adjusting and re-making, many new stuff or decorative items can be created, such as to Upcycle a foam board into a stamp; an air bubble sheet into an interesting jewelry piece; shuttle cocks into a string light for decoration; a plant pot from a plastic bottle; a snow globe from an old glass bottle; a milk can ornamented as a pen holder, and many more! Can you believe? The upcycled item can be so pretty that it’s hard to guess what it was before. Upcycle is therefore an addition of value to what was about to become a waste.