In the days before cheap mass-produced goods and single purpose packaging, items were used again and again, repaired and patched until beyond repair. Only in recent times has our society had the impression of abundance of materials, and this has distanced us from the idea of reusing items repeatedly and permitted wastefulness. However, we know that many things we take for granted are made of non-renewable resources, and that even 'renewable' resources come at a cost to our planet in water demand, processing energy, and transport Countless ideas - every bit counts
- Consider reusable products
Swap your disposables for reusables such as a coffee cup, drink bottle, lunch containers, cloth napkins, rechargeable batteries. For reusable alternatives, buy one that you like – whether it be that you like the design, the pattern/colour the size. If you like your reuseables you will be far more likely to actually use them!
- Invest, repair and maintain
Invest in quality where you can and research any large purchases to make sure you are getting the best bang for your buck. Look after items over their lifetime to ensure they last as long as possible. Repair things when they start wearing out rather than use them until they are irreparable so must be replaced.
- Buy second hand
By purchasing second hand you are giving a product a longer life while also avoiding the resources associated with manufacturing and transporting new products. Fast Fashion is greatly reducing the life span of clothing by churning out large amounts of low-quality items that are quickly ditched after one season. By shopping second hand you can either increase the life span of those items or buy quality vintage clothing for a reasonable price… it’s a win/win!
- Borrow and share
One of the main concepts behind a circular economy is that not everyone has to own everything – we already have libraries for books, and now that model is extending with tool libraries, baby clothing libraries and car sharing services. There are also various avenues for people to share resources such as community pantries, swap shops and clothing swaps.
Upcycling and Repurposing
- Sell and donate
- Keep bits and pieces of string, wrapping paper, ribbons, fabric etc in a box for re-use.
- Wrap Christmas and birthday gifts in your children’s artwork or fabric squares (Furoshiki)
- Use fabric scraps for making zero waste hair ties, beeswax wraps, rope or plant hangers
Before you discard a product, wrack your brains! Can it be used again, either in its own form, or altered to suit another purpose? Some methods of reusing items are: