Do we remember that TV jingles “… to make the world a better place… Reduce, Reuse, Recycle”?

Was it just a jingle for you, or did you ever try to understand and implement it?

The waste hierarchy is the order of priority of actions to be taken in order to reduce the amount of waste generated, and to improve overall waste management.

Within the waste hierarchy, ‘Reduce, Reuse & Recycle’ trio are one of the three most important R’s of the Six R’s of sustainability (Rethink, Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Repair); so what do they mean?


This principle simply asks to reduce the amount of waste produced by reducing what is produced and consumed. The logic behind it being the first in the hierarchy is- if there is less waste, there is less to reuse or recycle.

Following this principle takes simple steps like buying only what you ‘need’, use and production of multipurpose materials, and turning of the tap while brushing.


How about refilling the plastic water bottle you bought yesterday, instead of buying a new one. You get the gist right?

Reuse simply means using an item especially non-biodegradable  multiple times before replacing them.

Use those nylons the ‘aboki man’ puts your items inside, or those grocery bags a couple of times, before throwing them away, or better still, switch to eco-friendly packaging

Use those empty milo and milk jars to store things in the kitchen

Use some DIY skill on those clothes, and kitchen tools


Over 90% of Nigerians are guilty of negligence of this principle. Once we finish drinking water, the bottle goes straight into the dustbin with perishable things. Some of us don’t even give the bottle the privilege of a waste bin; we fling it into the streets.

Recycling comes in when a product cannot be reused. It involves converting products into raw materials that can be reused to make ‘new’ products. Almost everything can be recycled: glass, plastic, newspapers, cardboards.

A limitation to recycling, used to be insufficiency of facilities, but with the growing awareness on environmental sustainability, recycle themed organizations are beginning to grow up, with offers of incentives to those who bring items for recycling.

In summary, it’s quite easy to join in the fight for a sustainable environment, with proper waste management.

All you need to do is

“Reduce what you buy or consume, by going for what is only necessary

 Reuse your non-degradable as many times as possible before changing

Recycle it and get incentives, when it can no longer be reused”

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