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The 4 R's of Recycling

Watch the 4 R's at Stony Brook University video on-line!

Reduce
The first choice in the 4 R's hierarchy of integrative resource/waste management.
Waste reduction means that less garbage or recyclables are produced in the first place. It means reducing the volume and toxicity of wastes each of us makes in the course of daily life. And, it means that by using less first, we help to conserve valuable resources like water and energy.
Reuse
The second choice in the hierarchy of the 4 R's of integrative resource/waste management.
Reduce has been mentioned as the first and most obvious choice to a greener and cleaner environment. Recycling is probably the most known and most popular, but it isn't always the best choice. Reuse should be the second choice whenever possible.
Whenever feasible, it is wise to purchase products that have long shelf lives. That they are truly durable before we choose to discard them or cycle them out so someone else may continue to gain benefit of their function prior to it being recycled or disposed. An example of reuse that goes on daily is the University's Property Control Surplus Property program, which allows the campus community to reuse desks, chairs, shelving, and other furniture equipment at no cost.
Recycle
The third choice in the 4 R's hierarchy of integrated resource/waste management.
What is recycling? It is a process whereby a material (i.e. soda bottle, etc.) has outlived it's useful life and has been collected, separated, re-manufactured, and purchased as a new product only to continue the cycle again. Recycling conserves resources by keeping them in circulation, reducing the depletion of non-renewable resources such as fossil fuels and mineral ores used to manufacture products from virgin materials.
Rethink
Fourth in the 4 R's hierarchy of integrated resource/waste management.
This category, while being listed as fourth is probably the most important of the strategies inherent in the 4 R's circle. Over the past ten years or so, with landfill closures and moratoriums in place on building new waste incinerators, there is the need for minimizing waste generation and creating less pollution.
At Stony Brook University, we are making positive strides to minimize waste generation, reuse items such as office furniture and supplies, and to continue the growth of recycling and buying products with recycled content. The University is also making efforts to strengthen and refine its ability to generate electricity on campus. We are also taking steps whereby we will eventually transition our fleet from using conventional fuels such as diesel and gas to that of compressed natural gas (CNG).

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