It works like this (and, most importantly, in this order):
Refuse things that are offered to you that you don't need.
Reduce what you use. Could you live with less than you currently do?
Reuse what you have. Got a reusable water bottle?
Repair your things. Hole in a pair shoes? Go to the cobblers.
Recycle what you cannot reuse or repair.
Rot whatever remains.