We have certainly heard of the Three R’s as they relate to sustainability "Reduce, Reuse and Recycle" but do you know where the slogan came from or why?
In the 1950s did lead to an increase in the amount of trash and litter being produced by people due to the growing popularity of single use items. However, it was not long until people began to realize the environmental impact humans were having on the Earth’s eco-system.
Inspired by the “teach-ins” held to educate citizens on the Vietnam War, Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson spearheaded the first national Earth Day on April 22, 1970. Twenty million Americans united under shared common values for protecting our planet. The holiday grew in popularity and is now celebrated in over 100 countries around the globe. This historic day ultimately lead to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) being created that same year.
In 1976, Congress passed the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act to increase recycling and conservation efforts as waste became a bigger problem. It is estimated that the slogan “reduce, reuse, recycle” was born at this time.
The catchy phrase has been taken to new heights as environmentally friendly practices are becoming the new normal. As society began to learn more about the Three Rs, an increasing number of opportunities to engage in the practices emerged. Schools and communities worked to develop curriculum, events and programs with the overall goal of every person understanding the importance of protecting the Earth.
People are making an increasing effort to recycle, reuse items that have another purpose, and reduce our waste. While the Three R’s have definitely influenced society to be more conscientious of our planet’s health, there is still much to be done.