THE MANAGERS at Tucker Paving are big believers in recycling — the whole “Three R’s” philosophy of waste management and basic conservation: Reduce, reuse, and recycle. Like folks at home, they understand that even businesses — perhaps especially businesses, because of their size — can help to cut down on the tremendous amount of waste produced in this country and then, most often, just thrown away to add to the heaps in the local landfills.

When put to practice — consistently and comprehensively — the Three R’s “waste hierarchy” conserves natural resources, landfill space, and energy. The Three R’s also save on the land communities must have and the money they must spend for waste disposal in landfills. In other words, the “modern marvel” Polk County has in the North Central Landfill between Winter Haven and Lakeland will continue to have a longer lifespan the more recyclable products are kept out of it.

For Tucker Paving, recyclables range from the relatively small — consumables at the office (paper, cardboard, plastic, glass, and metal) — to the massive — construction material like road and parking lot asphalt and concrete. We have policies and programs in place to properly dispose of and/or reuse these materials, and, in the case of asphalt and concrete, sell milled aggregate to the public or other businesses. See some details on our website here.

It’s a fact that:

1. Asphalt is 100 percent renewable.

2. Asphalt pavements are one of our nation’s greatest renewable resources and are America’s most recycled product.

3. The U.S. recycles about 2 million tons of plastic per year while recycling and reusing more than 60 million tons of asphalt.

4. American taxpayers save more than $1.5 billion per year at the current rate of road asphalt recycling.

As an aside, a close cousin to recycling is “repurposing,” which basically means adapting a product, object, or thing for use in another way or for a purpose other than its original purpose. This is another way to keep “stuff” out of the trash and out of the landfill. Depending on what the repurposing is, it also very well could be a way to save money, such as money used to purchase building materials.

Interestingly, a whole industry — a very creative industry — has sprung up around the concept of repurposing, and we’re liking this. One of the leaders in this new industry is a Denver-based company simply called Repurposed Materials, Inc. This outfit produces a regular e-newsletter that features repurposing-type materials — one man’s junk — and some stories about how these materials are being used or could be used — another man’s treasure.

On the Web: When you have the time, check out Conserve Energy Future, the Asphalt Pavement Alliance (the source for the facts), and Polk County Government Solid Waste Division..