Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

It’s not “waste” until it is “wasted”

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle is a mantra that many of us learned in school.   These three R’s are the ways people can minimize the volume of trash they generate. 

Why is this important? When people trash items and materials in the Dubuque area, they end up in our landfill where they deteriorate generating pollution impacting our air and ground water. Reducing, reusing and recycling helps reduce humanity’s environmental footprint, greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption.


Reducing is the first and most effective of the three Rs . It means limiting your purchasing and use of “stuff”, like plastic bags, or buying less.


By Reusing rather than throwing out items like clothing or plastic bags, consumers can find new uses for them — reducing the extraction of natural resources and energy. Composting and trading or selling used DVDs rather than throwing them out are good reusing examples. Reusing is the second most effective of the three Rs; like reducing, it avoids creating discards rather than trying to recycle items once they are already there.


Recycling is the third of the three Rs. Recycling extracts valuable materials from items that might otherwise be considered trash and provides feedstocks for new products.  You can also advance recycling by purchasing products made from recycled material, such as toilet paper and packaging made from recycled paper.