Let’s Talk Trash! The 5 R’s to Zero Waste

The City of Oceanside is committed to waste diversion and recycling. Our goal is Zero Waste and we encourage and challenge everyone who lives, works, and visits Oceanside to embrace the Road to Zero Waste. Zero Waste is an achievable goal and to help everyone achieve this goal it is important to remember and follow the 5 R’s of sustainability: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rot and Rethink. You can become an environmental steward by thinking globally and acting locally.

Reduce: The key to generating less waste is to reduce the amount we buy and consume. Reduce needless consumption and generation of waste. When purchasing something at the store, try to buy items that have less packaging. Below are some tips for you to help you reduce your impact.

  • Search for alternatives to your disposables (paper towels, garbage liners, wax paper, aluminum sheets, disposable plates, cups, etc.). Instead of paper towels use a reusable rag (an old T-shirt works great!).
  • Buy in bulk to help eliminate needless packaging. You can also bring smaller reusable bags to the grocery store for your dry goods (fruits, vegetables, nut mixes, etc.) instead of using plastic bags.
  • Try doing laundry only once or twice a week. Make sure you have full loads. You will be saving energy, water, and your time (an extremely valuable resource!)
  • Make finger foods for larger parties to reduce the amount of food waste and larger plate sizes.
  • Stop your personal junk mail, cancel your phone directories, and sign up for electronic bills and statements. Do that here: Opt Out.

Reuse: It is important to reuse the items we purchase. Make it a goal to reuse any item that can be reused, or give it to a person/charity that can reuse it. Speak with your dollar. When purchasing items it is important to search for durable items that can be reused. Below find some tips to help you reuse at home, work, and play.GreenOceansidePhoto1

  • Find creative ways to decorate your table. Remember to use reusable cloth napkins and try some creative folding tricks. Create a fun experience with vintage kitchenware from one of the many reuse and consignment stores here in Oceanside!
  • Remember to bring your reusable water bottle with you wherever you go! Instead of having to purchase a plastic water bottle, use tap water, your wallet and the environment will thank you. Between the manufacture and transport of bottled water, it takes nearly seven times the amount of water inside the bottle to make the plastic bottle. You will save 6 gallons of water per day by using a reusable water bottle.
  • Swap the sandwich baggies for reusable lunch containers.
  • Turn a large pickle jar (or any glass jar) into a cookie jar or coin jar. Make it a craft project and have everyone decorate the outside of the jar!
  • Keep that old toothbrush! They are great for cleaning hard-to-reach places.

Recycle: Recycle whatever items you can and only dispose of what you must. Recycling efforts save essential resources such as forests, water, and energy. By recycling you can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other forms of pollution. Oceanside offers very extensive recycling programs so make sure you understand what is recyclable in Oceanside! Download our Where Does It Go? Recycling Guide for a comprehensive list!

  • Right size your home trash, recycling, and green waste carts. Oceanside residents can save money by choosing a smaller trash can! Don’t forget you can add an additional recycling cart for free!
  • Also remember to put your recycling efforts to good use and close that recycling loop by buying products that are made from recycled materials. Look for recycled content information on the products you purchase.

Rot: Composting is nature’s way of recycling. In nature nothing is ever wasted as everything is a resource that can be repurposed into something new. Use Mother Earth as an example and compost your food and yard waste to create mulch and top soil for your garden. Remember to compost all of your food scraps. Place your compost bin next to your trash and GreenOceanside2recycling bin to ensure everyone remembers.

Rethink: Think of new ways to reduce your overall impact. Joining the road to zero waste is a process to an effective solution to saving our planet and resources. Find creative and innovative ways to reduce waste while having fun! Find some of our ideas below.

  • Reinvent your leftovers before they go bad. Instead of having the same dinner, find recipes that will transform last night’s meal into a new adventure.
  • Make your own cleaning products! There are great easy recipes (like the one in your DIY Backyard Skills book) that actually work.
  • Search for items you need on goods sites (Freecycle, Craigslist, etc.) instead of heading to the store.
  • Take the family to the local library. Pick out a movie or book to rent instead of purchasing a new one.
  • Create art and craft projects with recyclable materials. Use those old toilet paper tubes and bottle caps to create a race car.


Your small daily choices and habits add up! Practicing the 5 R’s (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rot, and Rethink) allows YOU to send less trash to our local landfill while producing jobs, saving energy, and preserving our natural resources. Share your Zero Waste ideas and practices with your friends and extended family. Successful waste reduction and Zero Waste depends on every one of us. Waste reduction and recycling every day at home, work and play is an easy and rewarding practice. By adopting more sustainable habits we can reduce pollution, save resources and better help our community fight climate change.


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