Singing sea lion - source BBC

Say “R R R” and you sound like a barking sea lion!

Once the expression the 3 Rs just stood for “Reading, Writing, Arithmetic”. A catchy little slogan to capture the three important things to learn at school, the 3Rs have long caused either confusion or the opportunity for kids to laugh iRonically at ‘rents’ and teachers’ rules.

Not anymore. Educators take liberties with them, including upgrades to the 4 Rs. Business people have found uses for them too. And there are a few others just to make sure the letter doesn’t feel rejected, not last of which is the eco-friendly slogan.

A diversionary story of changing times, reflected in one letter…

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The shop which has already set out its stall to get rid of packaging (Independent Online, Nov 14, 2007), “banishing non-biodegradable carriers from behind the till”, leaves shoppers to bring their own packaging.

Their website at Unpackaged shows that this isn’t just a one-off marketing ploy, but part of a coherent eco-friendly plan.