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Practicing the 3R’s at Home

June 01, 2020

Though we were unable to continue supporting schools with 3R’s programming and waste reduction audits following closures, Kōkua Hawaiʻi Foundation wants to support students and their families practicing Reduce, Reuse, Recycle principles together at home! Check out this handy guide about putting the right things in the recycling cart from the City & County Recycling Branch. 

Practice the first and most important “R” - REDUCE. Here are some suggestions for reducing to make less trash at home:

  1. If your family orders take out from local restaurants, make sure to tell them you do not want any disposable utensils, condiment packs, or napkins because you are eating at home. Make this request when placing your order and then remember to remind them when you pick up.

  2. Support local farmers who are searching for new customers. Buying produce directly from producers at local farmers’ markets or subscribing to a CSA (like MAʻO Organic Farms’) or delivery service like Farm Link Hawaiʻi means you get less packaging and high quality, local food. 


Practice the second “R” - REUSE. Here are some suggestions for reusing what you already have at home:

  1. Many families are using the extra time at home for spring cleaning. Items that are no longer being used but are still in good shape can be donated to thrift stores where they can be recirculated to others who can still use them. 

  2. Plan a beach cleanup with your family and collect microplastics. Once cleaned and sorted (keep washing those hands), those pieces of plastic can be reused to make amazing art like in the Plastic Free Hawaiʻi School Mural Contest.


Practice the third, but most common “R” - RECYCLING. Here are some tips for recycling the right way and rescuing the most materials from incineration (Oʻahu residents). Most households on Oʻahu receive curbside recycling and compost hauling services with the rolling blue and green carts. Many of the items that end up in the trash can actually be recycled or composted to make new products instead of being burned with the leftover trash. 


Here are some suggestions for recycling the right way at home:

  1. Even though we may feel like every kind of plastic we buy should be recycled, there are only 2 types that we can actually put in our recycling bins. Turn over any piece of plastic and you should find a triangle made of arrows with a number inside. These numbers tell us which type or resin the plastic is. If you see a #1 or #2 in the triangle, that clean piece of plastic can go in your bin! Avoid putting #3 through #7 plastics in because the contamination might cause the whole load to get thrown away instead of recycled.

  2. Paper is one of the trickiest materials to recycle correctly. There are so many types out there that it can get confusing! ONLY  1) white or tinted printer paper, 2) newspaper (no glossy pages), 3) paper checkout bags, or 4) corrugated cardboard (think Amazon or USPS boxes) then it should go in your home recycling bin. Use the other types of paper for a fun REUSE project,  instead!

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