The 5 R’s of sustainability

The 5 R’s of sustainability

You have probably heard of the 5Rs of sustainability at some point. But do you really know what they refer to and how important their application is for our planet?

Today, we want to talk to you about the basic ecological rules of reuse, reduce, repair, recycle, reject and recover . So that you can put them into practice and thus contribute to the care of the environment.

If you don’t want to miss any details, read to the end.

What does each of the 5 R’s of sustainability imply?

The planet earth is currently in a state of constant degradation, mainly due to human activities. This is why many people, both personally and collectively, such as the HORECA sector, have spoken out in this regard. And they have started to implement ways to reduce the environmental footprint we leave on the planet.

Recycle, reduce, reuse, recover, repair

One of these good initiatives was the use of the 3Rs, which stand for reduce, reuse and recycle. And although these rules were a good way to reduce the negative impact on the environment, with the constant growth of pollution, these efforts were worth less and less.

For this reason, these rules were rethought and two more rules were added: recover and repair. The aim was to increase efficiency when applying these environmental sustainability laws.

In the following, to get down to the nitty-gritty, we will talk in depth about each of these rules and give some examples of how to apply them.


This R refers to reducing the demand on the environment’s resources, as this is one of the things that affects it the most. The planet has a cycle that allows it to generate the resources that are used, but if we consume more than the planet can regenerate, we create a shortage and damage ecosystems

We all generate a burden on the environment, that is why it is necessary that we seek to reduce it as much as possible and that the mark we leave is positive. Some ways to reduce are:

  • Buy natural and unprocessed foods and products. This way we reduce industrial pollution
  • Consume food from the season in which it is produced. This way we would be following the natural cycle of the planet.
  • Buy local products. This way we reduce the greenhouse gases released in the transport of products.
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When we talk about reusing, we are referring to giving a new use to something that is apparently waste. This would greatly reduce the waste that generates environmental pollution.

The reuse of things has a great value, because we give a new useful life to something that has already expired. And you only need imagination and time to do it. Some ideas for reuse are:

  • Use plastic containers as watering cans or flower pots.
  • Make decorations with plastic containers or plastic cutlery that have already been used.


Much like reusing products, when we recycle, we give a new purpose to a product whose useful life has expired. Only in this case, we return its waste back into the production chain to be used in the creation of a new product.

Recycling is an activity that all HORECA professionals should strive to implement. That is why we will tell you some ways to recycle so that you can start right now.

  • Take advantage of every material with recycling potential. For example, paper and cardboard would reduce the felling of trees.
  • Recycling plastics is extremely important, as they are the main pollutants in the sea.
  • In the event that a piece of equipment stops working, and cannot be repaired, it is best to recycle as many parts as possible.


So far the R’s that have been mentioned are the 3 R’s that are best known. But as already mentioned, these rules have had to be rethought and 2 more have been added. One of them is “repair”

As the word says, this refers to putting something out of service back into operation. This is a way to avoid waste generation. Some tips for repairing are:

  • Whenever an object is damaged, check if it can be repaired.
  • Maintain equipment constantly, so that it will have a longer life span. And if damaged, they will be easier to fix.


This is based on returning to use equipment or systems that were not necessarily damaged. In other words, it is not repaired, only recovered. Although it may seem similar to the previous point and they are related, they are not the same.

With the following tips for recovery, you will surely notice the differences between each one:

  • Perform constant checks and maintenance to optimise equipment as much as possible.
  • In the case of computers, if they fail, try to check if the systems are up to date.

what should you do to demonstrate eco-responsibility in your HORECA business?

Today, many hotels, restaurants and cafés have implemented modifications in their daily management to reduce the negative effects that their operation has on our environment.


If you want to follow their example, you should start now to take steps that, however small they may be, are quite significant for the benefit of nature. Some of the changes you can make are:

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Use eco-friendly materials and products

One of the best options you can apply to give your business an eco-friendly image is to use environmentally friendly materials. For example, many restaurants use cutlery and plates made of bamboo, wood or PLA

It is also advisable to use unprocessed products, thus reducing the demand on industries and reducing industrial pollution. If you apply this to your business, you are sure to have a positive impact on the environment.

Motivate and raise awareness

Another good way to fight pollution and reduce your environmental footprint and that of the people around you is to use your business to raise environmental awareness

You should strive to get others to also support and comply with the necessary standards to care for the environment. For example, you can instil these values in your employees by getting them to comply with the 5Rs, or give a discount to customers who return packaging for recycling.

Save energy

Something that is not often taken into account when we talk about pollution is the waste of energy. However, it is extremely important to try to save energy, as this has a big impact on the environment.

There are several ways to save energy, for example, by using equipment that consumes less electricity. This may cost a little more, but it will pay off in the long run

Use local products

When you buy products exported from far away, the transports used release a lot of greenhouse gases. These gases are the main cause of global warming

It is therefore advisable to use local products, so that you not only support the local economy, but also reduce the release of greenhouse gases

Saving water

In any business, be it a restaurant, hotel or café, water is an indispensable element. But it is often used incorrectly and this valuable resource is wasted

That is why it is important to make sure that the necessary quantities are always used, be it for washing or preparing food, as well as for cleaning the premises. This is also where raising awareness among staff and customers comes in.

At Greenuso, we want to raise awareness so that people adopt a more considerate stance towards our environment by applying the 5 R’s of sustainability. Please support us by sharing this post with friends and acquaintances, in order to reach more people.

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