Re-use! Repurpose! Upcycle! Refurbish! Repair!
Re-use is an ancient concept!
In the days before cheap mass-produced goods and single purpose packaging, items were used again and again, repaired and patched until beyond repair. Bicycles are a great example - eminently repairable for new users.
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 in addition to the inefficiency of going to new materials each time (such as felling 20 to 30 year old trees to make paper when it could be made from recycled fibre).
Every item that is re-used, or saved from landfill by sending to a second-hand shop is literally a saving of resources.
Countless ideas - every bit counts
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:
- Glass jars for food, or pot pourri?
- Keep bits and pieces of string, wrapping paper, ribbons, fabric etc in a box for re-use.
- Cobblers are back in fashion! Reheel and resole favourite shoes.
- Take good clothing for mending or repairs by a professional instead of buying new.
- A well maintained bicycle can go on indefinitely.
- Making good initial purchasing decisions will save you in the long run.
- As we well know, lots of older goods are far better made than most new goods. Become a savvy shopper: garage sales, auction rooms, second hand shops, landfill re-use shops, school fairs, community fairs and flea markets are good sources.
- Have a garage sale - clearing out clutter clears the mind…
- Wrap Christmas and birthday gifts in your children’s artwork…
- Or wrap items in fabric scraps or sheets of music for a special touch.
- Donate old magazines and books to your doctor, dentist, playcentre, school, kindy.
- Donate unwanted good clothing and clean linen to the Salvation Army or local church.
- Take spectacles back to your optometrist – for reuse in other less fortunate countries…
- Good quality old toys are accepted at most kindergartens, playcentres, hospitals and charity shops.
- Decorate boxes with scrap fabric, use for gift boxes or keep bits and pieces in them.
- If you buy milk in cartons, consider cleaning them and sending them to Trees for Canterbury: www.treesforcanterbury.org.nz
Let us know any ideas you have for reusing items, so that we can share them on our Facebook page.