5Rs of Zero Waste: Step 3 - REUSE

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Reuse is the action or practice of using something again, whether for its original purpose (conventional reuse) or to fulfil a different function (creative reuse or repurposing). 

Why is it important to reuse?

When we reuse the goods we consume, we keep the goods and materials out of the waste stream and increase their useful lives. It greatly reduces the strain on valuable resources needed to produce new goods constantly. Resources such as fuel, forests and water supplies, and helps safeguard wildlife habitats. Reusing results in less hazardous waste, and creates less air and water pollution than making a new item or recycling.

Reusing addresses both consumption and conservation: it can 1) eliminate wasteful consumption (swapping disposables with reusables); 2) alleviate resource depletion (through sharing/renting, second-hand/thrift shopping); and 3) extend the useful life of product by considering repairs, returning freebies, and creative repurposing before ultimately disposing or recycling.

Here are 8 home items you can save from the trash and instill with new life and purpose many times over:

1. Reusable Shopping bags
2. Reusable Water bottle (preferably not made of plastic)
3. Glass jam/peanut butter jars for storing pantry items or left over food or flower vases. Honestly, the possibilities are endless, just search "ways to reuse a glass jar" on Pinterest.
4. Using cloth/rags instead of paper towels for cleaning
5. Washable, reusable cotton cosmetic poufs instead of single use ones
6. Rechargeable batteries
7. Using the fabric from old clothing and repurposing as cleaning rags or beeswax wraps to replace plastic film wraps
8. Self-watering planters made with empty wine glass bottles


For generations, we've been conditioned to the lifestyle of buying things new, buying more, and buying better. We treat broken things has irreconcilable, and with a flick of the wrist, they are tossed in the trash. When was the last time you took a faulty bicycle/lamp/chair to the shop to get fixed? More often than not, we throw those things out and get a new one – much more convenient that way. 

Here's a thought, try getting things repaired instead of buying new. Keep things out of the trash as long as you can.