Reuse, the Forgotten R

We all know that there’s a great, cruical step after purchasing a product, and that is reusing it.  It definitely beats just tossing another thing into the landfill.  

Photo by Marcus Q

For the sake of clarification the definition of reuse is to lengthen the life of a product and recycle is to reprocess an item into a new material for use in a new product. Recycling materials saves us space in the landfills. Reusing a product not only does this but also increases the product’s life and saves us money.

It is as simple as donating your unwanted useable “trash” to a charity or thrift store, sharing tools with a neighbor, finding another use for that grocery sack and mending or repairing clothing or household items.  You can purchase canteen water bottle or Tupperware that can be used hundreds and hundreds of times before they have outlived their useful lives. Also try to get a few more decent uses out of that cutting board, cheese grater, hand towel or whatever it may be, before you go out and buy that new deluxe version. On an individual level, we can take big steps to extend the lives of the products we purchase.

It is important to keep in mind that waste is not just created when consumers throw items away. Throughout the production process of any product—from extraction of raw materials to transportation to processing and manufacturing facilities to manufacture and use—waste is actually generated. So reusing items like plastic bags, boxes, clothes, toys, pots, bottles, and furniture can go a long way to reducing what is in our waste stream. 

The next time you go to toss something, think, can I somehow use this again?

Trackbacks & Pings

  • What can I use to replace plastic trash bags? :

    […] Reuse, the Forgotten R « Waste Zero […]

    I usually use the plastic bags from grocery store as trash bags. It used to be my way of justifying the ‘reuse’ part of ‘Reduce, Reuse and Recycle’ they taught us in school. Now I know that plastic bags never really decompose, I don’t want to use them anymore. What are my options for holding (for lack of better word) my trash?

    10 years ago
  • Using ADC to get landfill diversion « Recology :

    […] create programs to educate people about reducing their consumption, programs to make it possible to reuse materials, and certainly don’t work to create robust recycling and composting programs. It means that […]

    9 years ago

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