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Rethink, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rochester

Learn how to rethink, reduce, reuse, and recycle waste the right way at Rochester.

What is R5?

Rochester's Zero-Waste Hierarchy is an inverted pyramid that shows if you rethinking, reduce, reuse, and recycle/compost, you'll end up reducing what ends up in landfillsWhile recycling and composting are good things to do, it is important to start by eliminating materials from the waste stream whenever possible. At Rochester, we have developed the R5 program to help you get in this mindset. This graphic illustrates how this program ultimately limits what goes into a landfill—by rethinking, reducing, reusing, and recycling or composting.

Explore the rest of this page to learn more about each facet of our zero-waste hierarchy: R5.


Pause and consider what you’re purchasing, consuming, and throwing out. Rethinking what we value and prioritize can have a collective impact on large systems that generate waste. Redesigning systems allow us to avoid needless or wasteful consumption. Think about how purchasing choices make an impact on waste disposal:

  • Is this purchase necessary?
  • Am I buying too much of something?
  • Can this item be made with less material, recycled materials, or materials that support a circular economy?
  • What packaging materials come with this purchase?


When we reduce what we consume, we reduce the waste we generate. Considering the quantity and toxicity of resources, products, and packaging contributes to less waste and a cleaner environment. Reducing is also a way to acknowledge the imbalance of  resources to ensure that everyone’s basic needs are met. One person reducing means resources are available for others, too.

Recycling programs

When we recycle, the old becomes new. Discover what you can recycle and where. Plus, learn about day-to-day recyling and special collection opportunities.

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