• Recycling at Home
  • Reducing Waste by Recycling
  • Reusing Waste by Recycling
Reduce Waste Button
Reduce Waste Button
Reduce Waste Button

The Three R's: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle

Tips on reducing waste and conserving resources.

The three R's - reduce, reuse and recycle - all help to cut down on the amount of waste we throw away. They conserve natural resources, landfill space and energy.

Plus, the three R's save land and money that communities use to dispose of waste into landfills. Creating a new landfill has become a difficult process and more expensive due to the environmental regulations and public opposition.

Missouri has a goal of reducing the amount of waste that goes into landfills by 40%. Everyone can help meet this goal.

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources' Waste Management Program is charged with a number of duties and responsibilities to help ensure solid waste is managed in a way that protects both public health and the environment. Development of the Missouri Solid Waste Management Plan is one of these responsibilities. Click to view the plan.


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The best way to manage waste is to not produce it. This can be done by shopping carefully and being aware of a few guidelines:

  • Buy products in bulk. Larger, economy sized products or ones in concentrated form use less packaging and usually cost less per ounce.
  • Avoid over-packaged goods, especially ones packed with several materials such as foil, paper and plastic. They are difficult to recycle, plus you pay more for the package.
  • Avoid disposable goods, such as paper plates, cups, napkins, razors and lighters. Throwaways contribute to the problem, and cost more because they must be replaced again and again.


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It makes economic and environmental sense to reuse products. Sometimes it takes creativity:

  • Reuse products for the same purpose. Save paper and plastic bags, and repair broken appliances, furniture and toys.
  • Reuse products in different ways. Use a coffee can to pack a lunch; use a plastic microwave dinner trays as picnic dishes.
  • Sell old clothes, appliances, toys and furniture in garage sales or ads, or donate them to charity.
  • Use resealable containers rather than plastic wrap.


Recycling is a series of steps that takes a used material and processes, re-manufactures and sells it as a new product. Begin recycling at home and at work:

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  • Buy products made from recycled materials. Look for the recycling symbol or ask store managers for salesman for assistance. The recycling symbol means one or two things - either the product is made of recycled materials, or the item can be recycled. For instance, many plastic containers have a recycling symbol with a numbered code identifing what type of plastic resin it is made from. However, just because the container has this code does not mean it can be easily recycled locally.
  • Check collection centers and curbside pickup services to see what they accept and begin collecting these materials. These can include metal cans, newspapers, paper products, glass, plastic and oil.
  • Consider purchasing recycled materials at work when purchasing materials for the office supply cabinet, office equipment or manufacturing.