Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rot

Conserving Today's Resources

The Four Rs: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rot (Compost)

Before purchasing or discarding an item it is very important to revisit the Four Rs: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Rot (also known as Compost). 

The Four Rs remind consumers what actions can be taken to produce less waste and help conserve natural resources, energy, water, and landfill space. They are ranked in importance by that which has the least effect on the environment: Reducing is the most important choice followed by Reuse, Recycle and then Rot. Environmentally responsible choices today will help make for a better tomorrow!

Review the Four Rs below to help minimize waste where you live, work, and play! Also view these Tips for Reducing Waste:



The best way to manage waste is to not produce it in the first place.  By reducing waste at the source, you save the depletion of resources, water and energy.

When shopping, ask yourself...

  • Do I really need this product?
  • Is there an environmentally friendly alternative?
  • Can I do without?


Reduce potential waste by buying returnable, repairable, recyclable, and/or compostable products. Invest in higher quality goods that will last longer. Purchase in bulk and choose items with less packaging. Reduce single-use disposables by switching to reusable items, such as serving-ware and rechargeable batteries. Only take what you need. Say “No Thank You” to extra event handouts, condiments, utensils, napkins and even food.



Reuse means using an object or material again, either for its original purpose or for a similar purpose, without significantly altering the physical form and function.

Reuse of items can include charitable donations, re-gifting, repair, and/or finding new alternative uses. For example, your empty glass jar could store miscellaneous arts and crafts.

It is also important to purchase items that can be reused, such as reusable water bottles and shopping bags. And don’t forget to shop thrift stores and yard sales for great reuse bargains.



Recycling means to turn materials destined for landfill into valuable materials to be used again; this involves transforming the physical form of the material into a new product.

Recycling is best suited for products that are no longer of use in their present state. It is also very important to buy products made with recycled content. Doing so helps support a successful recycling infrastructure.

To learn about Athens Services and recycling click here.



Rot (otherwise known as composting) is the biological decomposition of organic materials into soil amendment. Organic materials comprise of anything once living including leaves, grass clippings, clean scrap wood, brush, soiled paper, agricultural residue, and food waste. Worms and microbes breakdown the food and organic material making for nutrient rich compost, which is perfect for gardens and landscaping. Mother Nature is the ultimate recycler; everything created by nature is designed to be returned back the earth!

For more information on the Athens Services, Food Waste Program click here.

For details on our Compost Facility American Organics click here.