These three strategies for lowering one's footprint are placed in order of effectiveness, with recycling generally coming in at a very distant third. Recycling of most items simply takes way to much energy to collect, sort, and re-process. Therefore the gains are often minimal and are sometimes negative, from an energy standpoint.
We gardeners, as a group, I think operate at the reduce and re-use level far more than the general population. Our home grown produce likely uses far less energy than is the case with the produce that is purchased retail. And on the boards and other places, I've never seen so much imagination, in how to re-use some object often in an improvised way, to satisfy some gardening need.
Any way that gets me to the point of this post. Yesterday, I gathered together some old boards, most of which were once my deck and some were a shed. The result is a nice plant bench placed beside my main gardening area. Here is a photo.
Also about a week ago. I took some of those old deck boards, which had been converted into raise beds. Since the beds have been taken apart and rebuilt, what to do with the old boards. They became the primary material in several new planting boxes. This is old treated wood, so no food will go into the boxes, but they should be perfectly fine for planting flowers. Each box hold a little more or little less than 2 cubic feet of soil.
In the background of the photo above, you see my compost setup. You guessed it, almost 100% re-used decking materials.