Why The Three Arrows And R's Of Recycling Are Outdated

In the eighties, it became very apparent that there was a need to start a worldwide effort to recycle. Recycling became a symbol incorporating a triangle of three arrows and a phrase incorporating three R's that tied into the three arrows of the recycling triangle — reduce, reuse, and recycle. However, that particular model of recycling has since become outdated, and a new symbol and system is slowly taking its place, evolving from what was started decades ago. Here is why the three arrows and three R's of recycling are outdated. 

More People, More Consumerism, More Waste

Despite all efforts to make recycling law in every city and state in this country, the forefathers of recycling missed a very important aspect of this global problem. There are billions more people now than there were when they started their efforts, and more people equals more consumerism and consumption, which in turn equals more waste. The old model of recycling is outdated because it did not keep up with burgeoning population. 

Linear Economies Did Not Spill into Recycling Well

A linear economy is one that defines the use of making, buying, consuming, using, and disposal of products and the continuous line of this process. Even if products are taken from the linear model to "reduce, reuse, and recycle," there is still an excess amount of making, buying, consuming, and using of products that may not be truly necessary. Alterations in patterns of manufacturing behaviors have to change, not just the end result of eliminating waste products after they have been used as intended. 

Circular Economy Products Make More Sense

A circular economy does more to take products from creation to reduction and reuse. Instead of attempting to recycle everything and hoping the outdated model will work and catch up to the waste problems this world has, the circular economy makes reusable products from the start. Consumers only have to buy one or two of these items, use and reuse them almost indefinitely, and then replace them when the items are badly damaged instead of throwing them out or into a recycle bin after first use. An example of a circular economy product is a titanium drink bottle, which can be used for water, coffee, and other portable drinks. The titanium is strong, durable, nearly impossible to damage, never rusts or corrodes, and keeps hot drinks hot and cold drinks cold. If consumers buy one or two of these, they never have to buy another disposable bottle or cup of anything ever again.