The Revised Three Rs

The traditional three Rs—reduce, reuse, recycle—have long been the mantra for reducing waste and conserving resources. However, there’s been a gradual evolution toward a new mantra: responsibly sourced, renewable and recoverable.

Two recent studies by The American Institute for Packaging and the Environment examined global strategies, procedures and policies designed to cost effectively increase the recovery of used packaging, and found the best practices have the potential to drive consumer behavior toward recycling and improve the recovery rates of used packaging.

In addition, other options are on the horizon. Bob Lilienfeld, editor of The Use Less Stuff Report, explains that many organizations are currently testing waste energy of consumer packaging. “Energy recovery is the ultimate solution,” he explains. “We have an enormous potential from an environmental standpoint to recover the energy in mixed material packages that cannot be recycled and would otherwise end up in a landfill.”