When it comes to the best possible thing you can do with something once it has outlived its original use, nothing tops the charts like ReUse.

When you reuse an item you maintain its inherent value.  That is, not only the shape that it is in, but the energy that was necessary to make that shape does not need to get put into the process again. Of course, in order to do this you must find a new purpose for the item…

Some examples of ReUse:

  • Using broken bricks to line the edge of your garden
  • Bringing an empty glass jar to the store to fill up with something from the bulk section (make sure to have them weight it first)
  • A holey sock becomes a great applicator for oiling your cutting board
  • A Banana peel can be used to polish furniture before going in the compost

See if you can think of a way to reuse a torn T-shirt.
You can check your answer by asking yourself – Does this process require extra energy (time, effort, heat, etc.?)  If you answer yes, then you are probably thinking about Upcycling.  Upcycling uses the raw materials and with some added energy turns it into a new item.  Learn more about that here. If you answer, no, then you are well along your way to becoming a ReUse expert.

Freecycle is a great way to find a use for items that you otherwise might have to toss and many communities are now creating swap shops or reuse centers.  For more information about Zero Waste and ReUse please check out the Reuse Alliance.

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