The 4 R's of Living Purposefully and Sustainably

I’m sure you are aware of the 3 Rs: reduce, reuse, and recycle. Have you heard about the fourth one: refuse? Several people have added this first to help people manage their waste. This post will show you how you can adopt the 4 Rs into all aspects of your life and not just waste management.

FOR YOURSELF

Refuse…

…negative talk. You know the saying, practice makes perfect? Well, it’s true, and it works the same for how you talk. If you repeatedly speak negatively about yourself, you will get good at it. That’s not what you want. We want the opposite.

…bad relationships. The people you spend the most of your time with have a big impact on you. If they aren’t there to support and encourage you, then they shouldn’t be your friends. The Minimalists say that “You can’t change the people around you, but you can change the people around you.” Meaning, you can’t change people, but you can change the people you spend time with.

Reduce…

…your debt. There is no such thing as good debt. Dave Ramsey is a great resource when it comes to financial freedom. He has several resources to help you get rid of debt, build wealth, and give.

Reuse and recycle…

… good habits. Speak positively about yourself. Stay active and eat healthy. Be mindful of the products you use. You can’t pour from an empty cup. You must make sure that you are taken care of before taking care of others.

IN YOUR HOME

Refuse…

…unnecessary stuff. Even if you have access to free items (like free pens at a conference), you don’t have to take it. Even if your long-time friend gives you a gift, you don’t have to keep it. Express your gratitude to that person and either take the gift and return it or politely decline the gift. Learning to politely decline unnecessary items will keep “stuff” from building up in your home.

Reduce…

…the number of items you own. Declutter your home so that you are left with the things that bring you joy and contribute to your purpose. You will find that you have less things to manage and less things to stress about. Some great resources on decluttering include the Minimalists, Marie Kondo, and Project 333.

ENVIRONMENTALLY

Refuse…

…single use items; plastic especially. Straws, dryer sheets, cotton pads, and plastic bags are examples of this. Try and find reusable replacements.

Reduce…

… the amount of waste you produce. The average American produces about 4 pounds of trash per day. Most of that comes from packaging and containers. You can reduce your waste by:

  • Using reusable items whenever possible. Use reusable grocery bags, water bottles, straws. Also, make sure that these reusable items are made of compostable and recyclable materials like bamboo or aluminum.
  • Purchase products with little to no packaging. You can buy your food in bulk bins with reusable bags. Buy your produce without wrappings or at local farmers markets.
  • Opt for electronic receipts. Many businesses are allowing their customers to receive their bills electronically. This will save paper and reduce the amount of mail you receive.

Reuse…

… items whenever possible. When you can’t refuse, reuse. Reuse plastic bags to line your trash. Reuse plastic take out containers to organize. Reuse your old t-shirts as cleaning rags. Reuse your old toothbrushes to clean hard to reach places. There are so many ways to do this. Use your imagination.

Recycle…

… your waste. Make sure that whatever you recycle is clean and dry, so they don’t contaminate anything else. Recycling properly is important. This requires some research so check your local resources to see what you can recycle in your city.

 

Following the 4 r’s in each aspect of your life can help you live a more purposeful and sustainable life. When you are fully aware of what you are bringing in and putting out, you are able to know what contributes to your purpose and what is keeping you away from it.