Reuse

Reusing a product that you'd normally throw out is the most basic form of recycling. 

  • Reusing something for the same purpose for which it was originally intended or for another purpose (re-purposing) means that there is less waste.
  • Using a wine bottle as a vase, making an outdoor candle holder out of used cans or using a cleaned mayonnaise bottle to store home-made jam.
  • Avoid waste from single use products.
  • Avoid disposable products.
  • Buy products made from recycled materials so that resources needed to make new products are saved.
  • Reusing items extends the life of the item before recycling it or disposing of it.
  • Below is a list of ideas that you can implement in your own environment.

Sell or Donate!

  • Let your unwanted things become usable by someone else.

Welfare Organisations

  • Giving your unwanted items to others or to welfare organisations is an ideal means of reusing products.
  • There are many welfare organisations, like Child Welfare, SOS Children’s Homes, MaAfika Tikkun or Animal Welfare and many others in your area who can use or sell your unwanted items.
  • Many organisations will even collect from you.

Advertising

  • Post a listing of your unwanted items on a community notice board, or in the classifieds.
  • There are a many websites where you can exchange or sell your unwanted items.

Reusables & What You Can Do

Containers

  • Keep cardboard boxes in good condition, and keep reusing them.
  • Use your shoes boxes as storage containers for photos or other items. Paint them with leftover paint or decorate them with leftover wrapping paper.
  • Avoid using clingwrap or tinfoil to cover leftover food.Rather use a plate that is slightly larger than the dish size so that the dish is covered properly.
  • Use the shower caps you get in hotels as covers on your leftover dishes. These can be reused.
  • Put leftovers into tupperware with sealable lids.
  • Reuse food containers.
  • Reuse ice cream tubs, margarine containers, cottage cheese containers and other food containers again for storing other food either in the fridge, freezer or cupboard.
  • Reuse your containers as lunch boxes.
  • Reuse drinks bottles again.
  • Refill your plastic water bottles instead of constantly buying new ones.
  • If you must buy bottled water – then buy the largest container and fill your small bottles for ease of use.
  • Rinse your ziplock bags and use them again.
  • Buy cleaning products refills and reuse the original packaging.

Stationery

  • Reuse envelopes and postal packaging.
  • Stick a piece of reusable paper over the existing address. Or use a label if you already have. Avoid buying more labels.
  • Reuse paper clips, plastic bands, folders and files.
  • Use a used envelope for submitting your medical aid claims in a collection box.
  • Within an office internal documents can be sent reusing the same envelope over and over again.
  • Refill pens and pencils.
  • If you no longer need stationery that you have, donate it to a needy school, creche or childcare centre.

Paper

  • Reuse wrapping paper, gift bags and ribbons.
  • Cut up waste paper into note sized pieces.
  • Use the other side of paper that’s been printed on. 
  • Reuse newspaper as giftwrap or for insulation within the home.

Furniture and Homeware

  • Buy furniture from second hand stores.
  • Antiques are reusable furniture.
  • Purchase items at auctions.
  • Donate or sell furniture to be reused.
  • If you buy a new carpet, donate your old carpet. 
  • Used crockery and cutlery can be bought from antique or second hand shops.
  • Sell or give away your unwanted crockery or cutlery.

Shopping Bags

  • Reuse your shopping bags.
  • Reuse your own bag or basket instead of buying new plastic bags.
  • Use plastic bags as bin liners
  • Use material shopping bags
  • Use bags you have at home as your reusable shopping bags.

Books and Other Media

  • Trade, sell or donate books you no longer need.
  • Give books and magazines to old age homes.
  • Give children’s books (as well as crayons and paper etc) to children’s homes or day care centres.
  • Give books to a library or school.
  • Join a library.
  • Join a bookclub.
  • Buy second hand books, comics, CDs, DVDs, games & videos.
  • Reuse discs and video tapes.

Electrical Appliances

  • If possible get them repaired, or give them to a welfare organisation who will repair them.
  • Refill and reuse ink cartridges. 
  • Donate computers to be reused.

Bicycles

  • Buy a used bike. It’ll be cheaper than a new bike.

Reusable Instead of Disposable

  • Purchase products that are reusable rather than disposable. e.g. Razors
  • Use a mug instead of a polystyrene cup for tea or coffee. 
  • Avoid disposable tableware.
  • If you have disposable plastic “cutlery and crockery” – wash and reuse them or else recycle them.
  • Use rechargeable batteries.
  • Use cloths that can be washed and reused instead of paper towels.
  • Cut up old t-shirts or other old, stained clothes and use them as cloths.
  • Re-using a product that you’d normally throw out is the most basic form of recycling. 
  • Reusing something for the same purpose for which it was originally intended or for another purpose (re-purposing) means that there is less waste. For example using a wine bottle as a vase, making an outdoor candle holder out of used cans or using a cleaned mayonnaise bottle to store home-made jam.
  • Avoid waste from single use products. 
  • Avoid disposable products.
  • Buy products made from recycled materials so that resources needed to make new products are saved.
  • Reusing items extends the life of the item before recycling it or disposing of it.

Pantyhose / Stockings

  • Use laddered stockings as a cloth.
  • It’s great to polish shoes or the car.
  • Use as a strainer.
  • Tie pantyhose over a wire hanger and create a pond or pool skimmer.
  • Line the bottom of a flower pot to prevent soil running out. 
  • Use pantyhose instead of string to tie up bundles.
  • Tie a tree to a stick to help it grow straight.
  • Use as a stuffing for homemade toys.
  • Store potatoes or onions in the length of a stocking leg.
  • Put the last slithers of soap into a stocking and tie it up – you can then finish all the small pieces.
  • Make sachets of pot pourie using stockings with a pretty bow.
  • Use the band of pantyhose as an elastic band to secure a bin liner in a bin.
  • Use the band of pantyhose or cut the stocking to create rings to use as hairbands.
  • Tie pieces of stockings over a bottle as a lid.

The 5th R is Repair

  • Instead of throwing things away, see if you can repair it so you can keep it for longer and extend the items life.
  • Ceramics can be glued back together.
  • Mug handles can be glued back in place. Keep on drinking.
  • Stitch tears in clothing.
  • Darn socks.
  • Sew buttons back on. 
  • Glue heels and inner soles back on.
  • Replace heal tips on high heels.
  • The soles of shoes often wear out but the shoes are still good. Resole the shoes and keep on walking.
  • Fix toys and books.
  • If you no longer need the item then fix it and give it to someone else to use; or give it to someone that can fix it.

Other Ideas

  • Create a “re-use” drawer for things like paper clips, elastic bands, nails, ribbons, received gift wrapping and bags, and other reusable items that you’d normally throw out. 
  • Keep a button container. Clothes often come with a spare button. Keep them in case you lose a button on a garment.
  • Use containers like margarine or cottage cheese tubs or ice-cream tubs that you’d normally throw out (rather recycle them) as containers to hold the above.
  • Use old toothbrushes for cleaning. If you have an electric toothbrush use rechargeable batteries. 
  • Put used teabags in your garden beds as compost.
  • Make your own potpourie, using your dried roses or herbs and adding some essential oil.