New Year’s Resolve to Follow the 4R’s

Guest Blogger

Happy New Year, Cuyahoga County! 2018 has come to a close, so it’s time to follow through on those new year resolutions. How about following the four R’s in 2019? You may have heard “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.” But, what’s the fourth one?


This is a very important “R” that is sometimes overlooked. There are things some of us just don’t need, so refuse them. When getting drinks or at a party this holiday season, you could refuse the single use plastic straw with a “no straw, please!” While doing your holiday shopping you can refuse the single use plastic bag. Maybe your school or work party have little giveaways, that truly you don’t need. There are many things in our life we can refuse and once you start, it gets easier and easier.


This is another important “R” to follow. I like to think of this one as reducing my carbon footprint. How? Turn off the lights when you leave a room. Lower the heat a little when you leave the house.  Commute via bike, or carpool. There are many ways for us to reduce our carbon footprint, and just like with refuse the more you do it the easier it gets.


This could be taken a few directions. Making some reusable swaps, like reusable bags, water bottles, or straws. Or reusing things you already have. Maybe you forgot your reusable bag and had to get a single use plastic bag. Give it another use, perhaps as a trash can liner. Remembering reusable items may be hard but with practice, just like everything else, it gets easier.


This is our final “R.” Unfortunately the recycling market right now is rather small. Therefore, when it comes to plastics, only bottles and jugs can be recycled in your curbside recycling for Cuyahoga County. Paper, aluminum, and glass, as of this posting, are the same as always. For more information and ideas for checking out other forms of recycling visit

About the Author

Claire Bruch is a Certified Master Recycler (Class of 2017) and worked as a summer intern for the Solid Waste District in 2018. She has been zero waste living for 3 years.