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Why Re-use Our Waste?

By: Sarah O'Hara BA (hons) - Updated: 20 Aug 2012 | comments*Discuss
Recycling Waste Waste Management Recycle

Re-using waste means finding a way to get the most use out of an item, even if we no longer want or need it, or after its original use has been fulfilled.

Recycling has, arguably, more publicity than re-use. Although recycling is extremely important, it’s better to re-use something as much as possible before sending it for recycling. In the first place the ideal is to use less anyway. Reduce, re-use and recycle as they say (in that order).

Effective waste management and re-using items as long as we possibly can has many financial and environmental benefits.

Re-Using Waste: Good for the Environment

Re-using items for as long as possible is a green choice.

Even recycling takes up energy and resources. By re-using something as much as we can means that goods are only recycled when they can be used no longer.

Re-using an item, whether for its original purpose or a new purpose, is a green alternative to buying a new one. If more people adopt the practice we will use far less resources, energy and materials.

Re-using and recycling keeps waste out of landfill. Landfill is when waste is dumped in landfill sites and buried. One of the problems with landfill is that space for landfill sites is running out. Landfill waste sites also give off environmentally harmful emissions. These emissions can be gases that pollute the air and substances that cause water contamination.

Re-Use Waste, Save Money

Reducing and re-using waste can have important financial benefits for both businesses and households.

If goods are re-used wherever possible it should inevitably result in buying less. In a business, for example, if there is a company-wide drive to use both sides of paper, re-use scrap paper and print less, the company paper bill is likely to drop significantly over time.

At home, if you re-use scrap clothes for cloths, and use lemons, vinegar and baking soda for cleaning rather than buying brand name goods, watch the supermarket bill fall over the year.

Re-using also includes getting things second-hand. Second-hand items are almost always cheaper than brand new ones and often work just as well.

The savings alone may encourage some people to keep re-using.

Help Others by Re-Using Waste

Committing to re-using waste can help others in many ways. Giving items away through Freecycle, give away shops or charity shops mean that others can benefit from them.

Many re-use networks are set up to make sure that unwanted goods go to those in need. For example furniture re-use networks refurbish unwanted homewares and pass them on to people on low incomes or community rehousing schemes.

Additionally, recycling and re-use schemes often create jobs, opportunities and vocational training places.

More Benefits of Re-Using Waste

  • A commitment to re-using waste usually means valuing and looking after the items that we do have more, rather than having the attitude of “It doesn’t matter, I’ll just buy another one.”
  • Thinking of ways to re-use waste is a chance to be creative. Revamping old clothes is one way to be creative. Other examples you’ll find on the site include making a CD curtain and a bowl from old records.
  • Re-using waste has the feel-good factor of knowing you are doing your bit for the environment and for your pocket.

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