Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Sustainability means making wise use of our resources, such as water and trees, so that future generations have what they need.  This is more than simply recycling. 

First R - REDUCE

Before worrying about recycling, first try to reduce the amount of waste you produce.  Here are some ideas:

  • reusable bottles and bags
  • alternatives for gift wrap - fabric, reusable bags, part of the gift itself - towels, tablecloths, cloth diapers, etc.
  • reduce the paper mailed to your physical mailbox (bills, catalogs, coupons, fliers, mailers, etc.)
  • try reusable razors
  • use motion-activated lights
  • ride share
  • give up receipts, meeting documents no one reads, plastic drink lids and straws
  • switch to solar or wind power
  • print on both sides of the paper

Have items to add to this list? Email us!

Second R - REUSE

There are so many ideas for reusing everyday items.  Here are just a few:

  • use a tire to circle the base of a tree
  • use plastic bags to weave mats for people in shelters
  • use old clothing for rugs
  • use the back of paper
  • purchase products made from recycled items - paper, pens, decking

Check out our Pinterest page for more ideas and email us if you would like some ideas added to this list.


Finally, if you have items that you can't reuse, dispose of them properly. First, see if there is a way to recycle them. Recycling is such a big topic, we have an entire section on it here:  sustainable-campus/campus-recycling

If your goal is Zero Waste, please email us to share your progress with other Cardinals!

What can I do with....


  • add to wild bird and chicken feed
  • add to ground coffee before brewing to reduce the bitter taste
  • add to soil for houseplants
  • scatter crushed shells around vegetables and flowers to deter deer and repel slugs, snails, and cutworms
  • add to your garden to keep cats away