The 6Rs of sustainability

Campagne Respect 2

Let’s subscribe to a logic of circularity that invites us to rethink our modes of consumption and use of natural resources. What changes can we bring to our daily lives?

To respect the environment, every gesture counts, big or small. We are not asking you to do everything, but perhaps at your level, some actions could already reduce your personal impact. All these added gestures will count in the big collective scale. And if you have ideas to complete these lists, send us your suggestions! We are all responsible.

How can I optimize my research, consumption, travel, etc. project so that it has less impact on the environment by avoiding wastage, waste, carbon emissions and biodiversity loss? Pay particular attention to the following:

  • Non-renewable materials
  • Provenance
  • Seasonality
  • Energy consumption
  • Alternative solutions (e.g. videoconferencing rather than travel)
  • Life cycle of objects: raw materials – manufacturing – transport – distribution – use – end of life (reuse? repair? reconditioning? recycling? return to the earth?)

The best gesture for the environment is the one that has zero impact. We can give up many superfluous things:

  • Exotic and out of season food products
  • PET bottles
  • Packaging (avoid ordering online, prefer bulk, replace shower gel with soap, refuse plastic bags in stores, etc.)
  • Single-use disposable products (straws, plastic forks, etc.)
  • Non-sustainable purchases (low quality, short-lived products: fast fashion, gadgets, etc.)
  • Non-essential purchases (e.g. the latest cell phone)
  • Free and useless goodies
  • Polluting journeys when an alternative is possible by public transport or soft mobility
  • Toxic products (weed killer, insecticide, non-biodegradable cleaning products, etc.)
  • Dryers, air conditioning

When it is impossible to give up something, maybe you can still limit your consumption or production:

  • Meat, fish and animal products, especially from factory farming
  • Industrially processed or intensively farmed products
  • Non-recyclable, synthetic or chemical products
  • Products that can be recycled with a lot of water and energy: paper, glass, pet, aluminum, batteries, etc.
  • Air travel, especially when a train alternative is available
  • Individual motorized travel
  • Waste of water
  • Energy (in all its forms, including electricity – turn off your screen, don’t leave appliances on standby, lower the temperature in winter)
  • Technologies greedy in abiotic resources (rare metals, water)
  • Printing (especially on non-recycled paper, in color and on one side only)
  • E-mails (avoid large attachments, multiple sendings, unnecessary messages)
  • Volume of data stored online (cloud, servers abroad)
  • Streaming

Favour reusable or second-hand products, share with friends and family, borrow or rent rather than buy, buy back or resell second-hand products, donate, recondition

  • Leftover food
  • Clothes
  • Shoes, bags, accessories
  • Furniture
  • Books
  • Records, CDs, DVDs
  • Games
  • Office supplies
  • Tools
  • Glass, plastic or metal containers (jam jars, water bottles, etc.)
  • Dishes and kitchen utensils
  • IT equipment (computers, phones, etc.)
  • Household appliances and hifi
  • Bicycles, cargo bikes, scooters, skates
  • Sports equipment
  • Camping equipment
  • Economy of functionality

See resources and contacts below.

Extend the life of objects, do-it-yourself or have them repaired rather than thrown away, transform

  • Clothes and shoes
  • Furniture
  • Tools
  • Laboratory equipment
  • IT equipment
  • Appliances and hifi
  • Bicycles and other means of transportation

See resources and contacts below.

Set an example and share good practices:

  • Talk about the previous 5Rs around you
  • Support local and organic trade
  • Demonstrate
  • Get involved in an association
  • Participate in collective cleaning actions
  • Contribute your skills to find sustainable solutions
  • Help each other and share with your neighbors, friends and family
  • Visit and promote book or object libraries, book boxes, toy libraries, thrift stores, flea markets, repair cafés, etc.)
  • Favour zero-carbon hobbies

Some useful resources