The 5 ‘R’s Pledge

The Pledge

Our pledge is all about ‘The Five ‘Rs’. These are: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose and Recycle.  These are a hierarchy of options to be considered in this order for best effect.

Descriptions of these and examples of how they can be actioned are below. 


The best thing is to refuse plastic where there are alternative options.

One example is not buying fruit or vegetables wrapped in plastic. 

Another would be to refuse a straw or plastic cutlery for a takeaway meal and have your own bamboo or metal alternatives to hand.

Another would be to use bamboo toothbrushes and cotton buds. 

Another still is to ditch the disposable plastic razor for an electric or battery one.

It is often possible to find alternatives for regular purchases. Where else might you be able to opt for non-plastic alternatives?  


Reducing your consumption of plastic is possible with some foresight. 

You could purchase bars of soap instead of a liquid soap.

You could buy larger packages of snacks to split yourself instead of individual portions

wrapped in single-use plastic.

You could use the refill option that some companies offer.


If you have something that is plastic, can you safely re-use it so that it’s life is extended? 

One example could be using the containers that food is sometimes sold in again for food leftovers. 

Another is giving any surplus plastic bags to charity shops so they can be used again and then re-donated.

Refillable water bottles and hot drinks cups can replace single use options.


Once they have served  their original purpose, many plastic items can have a useful second life.  

Aerosol lids can become paint pots

Milk bottles can be used as watering cans or planters. 

Milk bottle lids can be used as games counters or be incorporated into art projects. 

You can check out YouTube for some creative ideas. 


Always check that any plastic you do buy can be recycled.  Become familiar with the recycling options where you live, as they vary from place to place.

Become familiar with the symbols on plastic items and what they mean.

As a rule, clear plastics are the easiest to recycle. Coloured and black plastics are the most difficult and expensive to do so, so best to avoid even if they have a recycling symbol on them.

Make sure your items are clean as otherwise they may be discarded from the process. 

Make sure you only add recyclable items to your recycling collections as other materials can contaminate a load and prevent other items from being successfully recycled. 


As you are doing here by reading this – inform yourself about the topic and identify areas you can make an impact. 

In addition to these, can you join a litter pick or beach clean?

Could you create an awareness campaign at school, college or work?

You could investigate “citizen science” projects where information you gather helps to Inform the bigger picture of plastic pollution.

You could find out about any pressure groups or political movements who are working to improve policy around plastic pollution.

You could research what your favourite stores and brands are doing to limit single-use plastic, then contact them to tell them how you feel and encourage  them to do more. 

You could support innovative start-ups who sadly often fail due to needing a lot of money to scale up and expand.

Thank you for caring and good luck with reducing your plastic impact! 



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