Practical Guide to comply with the 3Rs Principle - Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Practical Guide to comply with the 3Rs Principle - Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

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By Lic. Mirna Patricia Guajardo Alatorre *

Practical Guide to comply with the 3Rs Principle - Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. You can be part of the solution to the garbage problem, learn how to do it.

Paper and paperboard


The large amount of garbage that is thrown away annually is creating serious problems, especially when it comes time to get rid of it.

If it burns, it pollutes the air.
If buried, the ground.
And if it is disposed of in rivers, seas and lakes, the water.

Day by day more products are consumed that cause the generation of more and more garbage, and there are fewer and fewer places to put it. To help conserve our environment, we can start by reviewing our consumption habits.
When buying, avoid excessive packaging, and prefer those made of recycled (or recyclable) material, ask yourself if you really need it, then if you can reuse it, or recycle it.
What you buy, eat, grow, burn or throw away can make the difference between a future with a healthy environment, or a destruction of nature with astonishing speed.
You can be part of the solution to the garbage problem by reduce and do not mix (separate) so that it can be re-use Y Recycle.

Avoid everything that in one way or another generates unnecessary waste.
Reuse a product or material several times without treatment. Give maximum utility to objects without the need to destroy or dispose of them.
Using the same materials over and over again, reintegrating them into another natural or industrial process to make the same or new products, using fewer natural resources.

To Separate Trash ...
You can use jars, containers, trays, bags, different boxes, with a sign that identifies the type of material that will go in them.
It is not intended to advertise any of the brands mentioned here, they have been cited as examples only to better illustrate the reader about the separation and recycling process.


  • Newspaper
  • Notebooks
  • Journals
  • Leaves
  • Envelopes
  • Files
  • Boxes
  • Brochures
  • Invitations
  • Paper and / or cardboard wrappers

NO You mix these impurities that harm the paper recycling process.

Type role:

  • Carbon or carbonless
  • Laminated
  • Aluminum
  • Cellophane
  • Fax
  • Photographs
  • Waxing (tetra pack containers of milk, juices, etc.)
    With stickers (post it, stickers)
  • Used household (napkins, toilet, glasses, etc.)
  • Brochures containing any additional material other than paper and / or cardboard.

The paper and / or cardboard must be dry and tied or in bags.


  • Don't waste paper, reuse it as much as possible.
  • Always use both sides of the sheets.
  • Use reuse sheets (printed on one side), for drafts, tasks, fax, informal communication, internal, telephone message blocks, etc.
  • Use kitchen towels instead of paper rolls.
  • Refuse free brochures that you won't use.
  • Buy products that are minimally wrapped.
  • Use recycled paper whenever you can. (This will increase its demand, and will contribute to its greater production and with it the preservation of natural resources).
  • Plant a tree or plant where you can.
  • Take care of green areas.
  • If you print this page, share the information!

The paper is made from trees, and they are a vital part of our environment, and of course, they do not deserve the fate that we are giving them. Trees and forests protect the fragile soil layer and maintain the proper balance of the atmosphere for all forms of life.



  • Juice cans (* Del Valle, V8, etc.)
  • Cans of soft drinks (* Pepsi, Coca Cola, etc.)
  • Beer cans (* Budweiser, Tecate, XX lager, Carta Blanca, Modelo, Budweiser, etc.)
  • Container cans of various drinks. (* Gatorade, Kalahua, Presidencola, etc.)
  • NO confuse these aluminum cans with tinned food or food cans (chili peppers, soups, beans, etc.) or stir with aluminum foil, wire, or any other metal object.


Preferably crushed, since they take up less space and are easier to handle and weight, they should go in large plastic bags, boxes or nets.


  • Prefer beverages in returnable, family-size containers over canned ones.
  • Before throwing a "six pack" holder (the plastic circles that hold canned drinks together) in the trash, cut each circle with a pair of scissors or a razor, as this will prevent animals and fish from being trapped with their beaks, necks or bodies in their rings.
  • Don't forget to pick up your cans every time you go on a picnic and convince your friends to do the same.
  • Encourage large or small markets and stores near your home to install aluminum recycling programs.
  • Aluminum is a metal that is obtained from the earth; It is very light and difficult to oxidize, producing cans with recycled aluminum reduces air pollution (eg sulfuric dioxides, which produce acid rain) by 95%.


In particular, plastic has many classifications and presentations of different types, so it is necessary to be very well informed to effectively carry out the process of its separation and recycling. Most plastic bottles are marked with symbols, numbers or codes that indicate the classification to which they belong, this can help identify them, but if not, here we guide you with some examples:


  • Bottles of purified water (* Junghanns, Agua Sport, Tlacote, Evian, Sta.María, Gardel, Atlantis, Bonafont, etc.)
  • Oil cans for cooking. (* Cocoon Oil, Mazola, Dorela, 1-2-3, Corona, Sarita, etc.)
  • Non-returnable soda bottles (* Pepsi, Barrilitos, Gatorade, Fiesta Cola, del Valle, etc.)
  • Returnable soda bottles (* Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Joya, etc.)
  • Cleaning Bottles. (* Pinol, Scotch Brite, Pino Duckling, Fabulous, Flash, etc.)



  • 1 gallon, 1/2 gallon milk jugs. (* Lala, Lagrange, Las Puentes, Green Hill, etc.)
  • 1 gallon jars of orange, apple, grape juices, etc. (* Beberé, Las Puentes, Sunrise, Tropicana, Enjoy, etc.)
  • 1/2 Gallon Yoghurt Jars (* Yoplait, Chambourcy, Lala, Danone, Club, etc.)
  • Small juice pots (* Frutsi, Frutier, Beberé, Pau Pau, etc.)
  • Containers for detergents, bleaches and laundry cleaners. (* Clorox, Clorarex, Chlorine Duckling, Palmolive, Vel Rosita, Suavitel, Downy, Ensueño, Drim, Woolite, etc.)
  • Bottles of cleansers (* Efficient Dishwashing, Clean Master, Ajax, Muriatic Acid "Sultana", Brasso, Easy Off, Pato Purific, Windex, Harpic, etc.)
  • Shampoo and Hair Rinses Bottles (* Caprice, Pert Plus, Salon Selectives, White Rain, etc.)

Do not confuse or mix the following with plastic with the aforementioned characteristics:

  • Bags of chips, chips and snacks (* Leo, Sabritas, Kodiz, Barcel, etc.)
  • Any clear or colored plastic bag.
  • Pens, records, toys, or other items that contain additional non-plastic objects or metals.


You must put the plastic in the containers intended for it and later transfer it to bags, nets or large burlap.


  • It would be of great help for the recycling process, if before depositing the plastic in the corresponding container it is rinsed with water twice to avoid dirtying the others that are clean and the proliferation of pests (flies, rodents, cockroaches).
  • It would also be convenient to remove the lid and label from the container, as this is of different material.
  • In the first stage of the stage, these requirements will not be required in the plastic so as not to cause additional efforts, but you already know it, if you want your participation and help to be even greater.
  • Carry your own cloth bags every time you go shopping, thus avoiding using a new plastic bag each time.
  • If you forget to bring your bag, or if at first you are ashamed of it, when shopping for cosmetics, clothes, etc., then put all your purchases in a single large bag.
  • Promote with your family, neighbors and friends the use of products that come in refillable containers.
  • If you have children, use cloth diapers. (Disposables take about 500 years to degrade).
  • Avoid products that are packed with a lot of plastic, paper, etc.
  • Reject products, fruits, vegetables or meats that come in plastic or Styrofoam trays, they don't need them! And also if you select them naturally, it is better.
  • When going to the supermarket, large fruits and vegetables such as: banana, pineapple, watermelon, do not need bags to weigh or take them home. Avoid them!
  • Store food in the refrigerator or your lunch in reusable, non-disposable containers.
  • Avoid disposable cups and plates and replace them with reusable glass or plastic ones.
  • Oppose balloon celebrations, where they will let them go free in space.

Plastic is made from one of the most valuable natural (NON-RENEWABLE) resources on earth: oil. For the manufacture of plastic products, crude oil is used, which when refined gives plastics and fuels. In addition, plastics with a constitution very close to that of fuels have a very high calorific value, so their waste can become high quality fuels, and this can cause serious environmental risks due to the synthesis of dioxins and other substances dangerous that can be emitted into the atmosphere. Due to all this, plastics should be recycled to the maximum.


  • food packaging (* preserves, oils, sauces, etc.)
  • beverage containers (* juices, beers, non-returnable soft drinks, wine bottles, etc.) the glass containers must be separated according to these colors:
  1. Green (* XX lager beer, Caribe Cooler, 7up, Dietafiel, Peñafiel, grapefruit, J & B Whiskey, Coca Cola, Topochico, Bacardi, etc.)
  2. Ambar / coffee (* Consomate, beer, Coffeemate, Knorr Tomato, Bacardi Rum, Bacardi Solera, etc.)
  3. Crystalline (transparent) (* Catsup Sauce, Oil, Karo Honey, McCornick Jam, Cajeta Corona, Mole Doña María, Jugo del Valle, V8, soup containers, etc.)

NOStir the following with the previous glass containers, as it affects the recycling process, and the purity and color of the recycled glass that will be generated.

  • Spotlights
  • Window glass
  • Mirrors
  • Glasses
  • Ceramic objects and ornaments
  • Ashtrays
  • Lead Crystal
  • Laboratory Glass
  • Kinescope
  • Car Headlights


Try to use sturdy containers to store the glass.
Eliminate the lids of the containers as they are generally made of other materials.


  • For a more transparent world ... Recycle your glass containers.
  • Prefer and consume products in returnable containers.
  • In the office, have your own glass or mug, and set aside some for visitors, to avoid the use of disposables.
  • At parties or picnics, make an effort to use your glass or plastic dinnerware and not disposable utensils.
  • To avoid contamination in sanitary landfills, it is best to separate your waste into recyclable and non-recyclable waste and take it to a collection center.


Energy saving.- For each container that is recycled, the energy necessary to keep a television on for 3 hours is saved.
Recycle 100% .- The glass is recycled as many times as required and in the way you want, it does not lose properties.
Recycled glass saves 25 to 32% of the energy used to produce new glass.


Definition: Compounds that are or were part of living things. Set of products of animal and plant origin.
With Organic Matter you can make "COMPOST" which is a magnificent fertilizer for the earth, and also with this your garbage will be greatly reduced. Remains of food, fruits and vegetables.

  • Eggshells
  • Coffee leftovers
  • Ashes
  • Sawdust, straw
  • Pieces of wood
  • Garden pruning (grass, branches, leaves, roots, petals, etc.)


  • NO put oil, or very greasy food.
  • Avoid meaty leftovers (as they take a long time to decompose).
  • Take care that no other inorganic elements (plastic, glass, paper or aluminum) go


Choose a place in the patio or garden, preferably away from the house or kitchen, and see that it gives it sun and shade during the day.
Use a large metal container, hole or box (minimum 1 m3, maximum 1.5 m3) with a lid. Lay out a thick layer (about 6 cm) of sawdust or dirt.
Dump all organic waste there.
Cover them with another layer of soil.
Sprinkle with a little water (essential to maintain humidity) and sprinkle with lime to avoid bad smells.
It is covered with a plastic, lid, or layer of soil.
Every time you add new organic waste, or a week, everything is stirred with a rod (it is important to ventilate the materials) and steps 4 to 7 are repeated.
In 3 or 4 weeks it will be observed that it is difficult to distinguish what was deposited, with the exception of the most recent waste.
After 1 to 4 months it will become "humus" (it is the plant name for the earth that is formed by the decomposition of organic matter). And this results in a great compost alive, with a great density and variety of microorganisms that synthesize enzymes, vitamins, hormones, etc. and that have a favorable impact on the biotic balance of the soil.


  • Make the most of the vegetables you can, wash the vegetables well instead of peeling them (many of them have most of their proteins and vitamins in the skin).
  • Don't prepare more food than necessary.
  • Leave a container next to the sink to deposit your organic waste there.
  • Distribute what you can among the domestic animals or the birds that visit the garden, terrace or balcony.
  • Make your own compost instead of using fertilizers that contain so many chemicals.
  • If you don't have a garden, offer your organic materials to whoever has it, or contact a fertilizer producer, farmer or animal breeder or someone who will make the most of these waste.
  • When organic waste decomposes, it produces methane (a gas that traps solar energy and causes, together with other gases, an increase in global temperature) a molecule absorbs 20 times more heat than one of CO2. It is the worst gas for the air, and organic waste in open dumps is a source of infections, worms and bad odors.
  • A policy aimed at recycling organic materials reduces pollution and encourages production, rebuilding the structure of the earth and returning the nutrients we have borrowed to nature.


  1. Space is saved. Landfills are the most common and fastest way to dispose of garbage. However, these tend to fill up quickly due to the high generation of it; finding new sites for landfills is becoming increasingly difficult. On the other hand, incineration, despite being a popular alternative, produces highly toxic waste that needs special handling.
  2. Natural Resources are saved. Like water, energy, oil. In the recycling process, in general, less of these resources are used to manufacture materials than when starting from virgin raw material.
  3. Pollution is reduced. Creating new products (paper, aluminum, plastic, glass) from recycled materials reduces air and water pollution. Recycling also reduces emissions to the atmosphere of carbon dioxide, which contributes in a decisive way to the greenhouse effect, global danger, acid rain, the breakdown of the ozone layer, the extinction of species and deforestation.

* By Lic. Mirna Patricia Guajardo Alatorre
[email protected]

Video: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle - Cool Science (May 2022).