The 4 r-s of sustainable usage


Do I need this thing? Can I continue with what I have? If it’s not satisfactory, can I live a good life and simply accept the imperfection, or can I modify things so I don’t have to throw it away?

Do I really need this service? For example, a holiday in an exotic place is great, but can I have just as good at time at home?

My happiness doesn’t depend on stuff. It doesn’t depend on newness, or neatness, or impressiveness, but on my reaction to such considerations. They only matter if I choose to have them matter.

“I could make that space so beautiful if I only bought this.” But can I make the space beautiful without buying anything?

“That useful device has broken down beyond repair. Do I really need to replace it?” Could I live, and live well, without its convenience? For example, how well could I survive without a car, given my circumstances?


Throwaway society throws away our future, and even our present.

Do I need to buy a new pair of shoes, or can I put new soles on the old ones?

What happened to darning socks?

Do I need to trade in the car because the engine needs replacing — or just repair the engine?

We are fighting so much! Perhaps we need to split and find new partners each? Or can we repair the relationship, and make it stronger, closer and better because we talked through our difficulties?

I don’t like the looks of that old couch any more. But instead of replacing it, maybe I can replace the upholstery.


That tissue is an issue; I use a handkerchief.

Throwaway plates, cups, forks and knives? No thanks.

How long can I make this cake of soap last?

Second hand is better value: much cheaper, and probably made from better materials with better workmanship.

It’s last year’s fashion — so what! I am not a sheep to follow the dictates of those who change the fashion so they can fleece people who take notice.

This radio or computer or phone lacks the wonderful features everyone raves about. It was leading edge just a few years ago. I can live, and live well, without upgrading.


Recycle is the last resort, not the first. When all else fails, and I’ve had to buy something, and need to get rid of it at last, I’ll do my best to ensure it’s converted into raw materials for something else.

10 Responses to The 4 r-s of sustainable usage

  1. Pingback: The 4 r-s of sustainable usage | Wibble

  2. peNdantry says:

    RefuseRepair – Reuse – Recycle.

    You, Sir, are a man after my own heart!

    Had I a bit more time right now, I’d have added links to the last two ‘r’s… and I’d have reblogged this post, but there’s no ‘reblog’ button. (Hmm… that gives me an idea…)


  3. Carla Moora says:

    I agree with all your R’s,Bob! Our planet is our home. When we trash our home…where will we be able to live?
    Fighting for a safer environment starts with me. With each one of us.
    Too many people expect the government of the day to do something about it. But,really, it starts with me,with us,at home, in our own small way.
    By applying the 4 R’s and being kind and caring.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dr Bob Rich says:

      Thank you Carla. Yes, personal action is essential, but not enough. We also need to band together to gain power against the powerful. And we need political action to govern this country, and all others, in a sane and compassionate matter.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Bob, I agree with the lifestyle you suggest, indeed I live like that already in the remote Ethiopian Highlands. The only point I wonder about is the tissue versus handkerchief one. When I was a child, I remember my mother boiling the family’s handkerchiefs in a pot on an electric hotplate. It used a lot of energy to make the handkerchiefs hygienically clean to use again, especially as my mother always ironed the handkerchiefs afterwards too! Here we use toilet paper instead of tissues. The soiled paper is burnt and the ash added to our compost heap.

    Liked by 2 people

    • bobrich18 says:

      What an unusual place to live. I assume you are no Ethiopian yourself? From my reading, it’s a beautiful place, and the world’s best long distance runners come from there.

      When I was young, there were no tissues. Everyone used handkerchiefs. I remember people using an oxygen bleach to disinfect them rather than boiling.

      I am sure many people were less meticulous than your mother, and yet I have not noticed a reduction in the incidence of respiratory infections since the introduction of tissues.


      Liked by 2 people

  5. rijanjks says:

    Excellent and I concur with all of the 4 r’s!

    Liked by 2 people

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