Return to the UEM Homepage
More than Just 3-Rs!

The 3Rs, "Reduce, Reuse and Recycle" is quite well known, but is it enough? Do we need a larger and deeper outlook at the global environment, and the impact that urban areas are having on it? A quick scan of a dictionary showed a number of "R"s that we need to look out for, listed below in alphabetical order. Many are, of course, interrelated and address similar approaches to environmental management.

Note that the word "resource" is used in a very broad sense and can include both living and non-living/natural and man-made resources of an urban environment. It can be a practice, an attitude, or a convention. In explaining the different Rs, lifestyle issues, consumption patterns, green consumerism, and community participation issues were taken into account.

Its a fun way to rethink and redo the basic 3 Rs! And find even more Rs in the descriptions!!


R
RECLAIM: Improve, get back and/or make operationable once again, wasted or degraded resources - for example, in the case of degraded or unuseable land or derelict buildings.

R
REFURBISH:

R
REVAMP:

R
RENOVATE:

R
RECONSIDER: Used in relation to sustainable living: reconsider the need for a wasteful living lifestyle, the overuse of resources and redundent materials -- in order to have a minimum impact on the environment.

R
RECOVER: Salvage or recoup the usefulness of a resource. Also bring a resource back to its original or improved functioning state.

R
REFORM: Improve on a resource -- remove and rectify its misapplication or misuse. Change attitudes and practices in its use, so as to preserve and protect the resource.

R
REFUSE: Used in the sense to reject or not accept a lifestyle that is wasteful, over consumes, and destroys the environment. Can also be 'refuse to create refuse'!

R
REGENERATE: Invest in a resource to improve, revive and rejuvenate it. Regenerate a resource to make it useful once again.

R
REGULATE: Control and restrict resource use with prescribed rules and norms -- particularly in the case of non-renewable resources. It can also include the management and monitoring of such resources to prevent misuse and degradation.

R
RELINQUISH/RENOUNCE: Relinquishing or renouncing refers to giving up the use of certain goods or services that produce a negative environmental impact. Sometimes it may also mean the giving up of a personal 'convenience' for the good of the environment.

R
REPAIR: Quite simply, mechines and technologies that are in a bad condition or in a state of deterioration (uses more resources and emits) more waste that normal) need to be repaired to make it more efficient with less environmental impacts.

R
REPLACE: In some cases, resource crunching, wasteful goods and technologies have to be replaced by more appropriate and productive alternatives, that are less energy intensive too.

R
RESOLVE: Resolve refers to taking a decision, making a resolution, to change our ways and lifestyles, so as to have a small 'footprint' on the earth -- resolve to consume less resources.

R
RESPECT: Maintain a healthy and humble respect for the environment. Understand its fragility and vulnerability to indiscriminate use and abuse. Also respect and understand nature's 'backlash' in such cases!

R
RESTORE: Reinstall and return to the environment the resources that were taken from it. Restoring also refers to the return of resources to its natural state.

R
RESTRICT: Curtail and control the indiscriminate and wasteful use of natural resources. It can also mean the confinement of resources use within levels below which it can be regenerated and regulated.

R
REWARD: Highlight good practices in sustainable resources use; create incentives and prizes for good behaviour. In a negative sense, penalize and fine inappropriate and wasteful lifestyles.

R
RECONDITION: An example of recycling - to disassemble and clean products recovered in factories and reassemble them after changing some parts. Quality assurance is processed as required and reconditioned products and units are shipped to the market as the same products and units as those recovered.

R
REMANUFACTURING: Remanufacturing calls for the disassembly of products and removal of a large number of parts that can be used as parts in other new products.

Return to the Insights page
Contact: Hari Srinivas - hsrinivas@gdrc.org