You are visiting: 
| print this page | + larger font | - smaller font |  

Reuse-Helpful Information


Reuse in General

   Reuse includes finding a second (or third, or hundredth) use for a product to prolong its life.  Such products may be clothing, household items, paper, cardboard, jars, bottles, packaging and more.

   Sell or donate items to charity, such as clothing, toys, books, household items, furniture, working electronics and appliances.

   Repair items instead of replacing them, such as appliances, furniture, shoes, toys, tools, and electronics.

   Use durable rather than disposable items: cloth or durable plastic reusable shopping  bags; china, ceramic or glass cups and plates; metal serving ware and cutlery; cloth napkins; plastic, metal or cloth lunch bags; rechargeable batteries; razors.  

   Take along washable cups or travel mugs instead of disposables.

   Rent tools and appliances rather than buying if it is something you will rarely or only occasionally use.

  When you do need to purchase something, check yard sales and charitable outlets first to see if they have what you need before selecting something new.

Reuse During the Holidays

   Rethink your tree: consider decorating a large houseplant instead of a tree; look for an artificial tree made in the U.S. to reduce the costs associated with shipping overseas; buy a potted live tree instead of a cut tree and try using it for a number of years before planting it permanently outside.

   Decorate: make natural ornaments by using seed pods, leaves, twigs, pine cones, etc.; buy odd ornaments at thrift stores and personalize them; reuse old dollhouse furniture for tree ornaments; make a village from cereal and other chipboard boxes turned inside out and decorated to look like houses; use a few branches from your Christmas tree to decorate around the house.

   Gifts: Consider the durability of a product - cheaper, less durable items often wear out quickly and create waste; give away homemade food in reusable containers; shop at antique stores, estate sales or flea markets; for kids, make a dress-up box with old clothes and jewelry or make an idea box with tools and gadgets/

   Wrapping: remove wrapping paper carefully and use it again; use oatmeal or cereal boxes turned inside out and re-taped to hold gifts; wrap using old maps, newspapers, old calendar photos, wallpaper scraps, Sunday comics or reusable gift bags; make the wrap a part of the gift with reusable containers like baskets, Tupperware, dish towels, colorful bandanas, scarves; make gift tags from old holiday cards.

   Cards: make your own holiday cards or family letter by gluing the fronts of old cards onto a recycled paper backing and writing your own message; tear off the front of old cards and send as postcards.

   Preparing for the party: use durable vs. disposable serving ware or rent dishes and glassware; get out the family linens; consider renting formal attire or buying from consignment shops.

   After the party: donate untouched food to food banks;  send leftovers home with guests, freeze it for later, or compost it; Donate unwanted gifts to charity or “re-gift” them.

Reuse is preferable to recycling because the item does not need to be in a collection program, transferred to a manufacturer and reprocessed into a new product.  Instead, by reusing an item, the “embodied” energy is unchanged, which saves natural resources and energy and reduces waste.  Furthermore, you can save money and reduce waste by keeping durable items longer and cleaning/repairing them when needed, rather than buying new products.