Many items that we buy can be re-used either in their original form or in some other form. Very often we buy items that come in containers that we can re-use. By re-using an item you are delaying its time for disposal and also reducing the amount of materials that would have otherwise been needed to produce a new one. This saves energy and valuable resources.
When purchasing items you should think about their durability, consider how long they are going to last. The longer an item will last the less resources and energy will be used having to produce a new product. When shopping you should also consider whether items or their packaging can be recycled after you have used them.
At the shops
- Consider when buying items issues such as durability and repairability.
- Avoid buying single use items, such as disposable nappies, plastic cutlery and cameras.
- Buy products that can be refilled such as toiletries from Body Shop.
- Take your own carrier bags, either plastic or material such as support 'bag for life' schemes, many of which are replaced free of charge if they break.
- Some retailers sell re-useable rigid plastic boxes with handles for loading goods when shopping. The same boxes are used for carrying goods home and for storing the returning recyclables.
Around the house
- Reuse plastic bags as bin liners.
- Reuse margarine tubs and other strong containers for packed lunch, storing buttons or nails or the contents of half opened tinned food for freezing.
- Pack your school lunch in a reusable lunch box instead of using plastic bags.
- Fill a flask full of your favourite drink every morning instead of buying cans or cartons.
- Give out-grown school uniforms to neighbours and friends or donate to charity shops.
- Avoid using cling film and aluminium foil to wrap food - use boxes with lids instead.
- Re-use glass jars and margarine tubs to store buttons, nails and screws.
- Swap magazines with friends or take unwanted magazines to doctors surgeries.
- Take unwanted clothes, shoes, books and spectacles to charity shops or have a stall at a local boot fair.
At work and school
- Write on both sides of a sheet of paper.
- Use paper as scrap before recycling.
- Use pencils or refillable fountain pens, ball point pens.
- Pack your lunch and drink in re-usable lunch box and flask.
In the Garden
- Empty, cut down mineral water bottles can be used as mini green houses for young plants.
- Old carpet or cardboard can be used to insulate compost heaps or placed on the ground to clear areas of weeds.
- Old wood and pallets can be used to build compost bins.
- Cracked and broken crockery can be smashed and used for drainage crocks in plant pots.
- Use yoghurt pots for planting seedlings.
- Avoid throw-away barbecues.
- Metal coat hangers can be used to pin down plastic covers.
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