Topic 2 Reusing in daily life

Read the definitions below to find out how different authors define “reuse”:

  • Reuse is to use something again (Cambridge University Press, 2020).
  • Reusing is the act of taking old items that you might consider throwing away and finding a new use for them (Ohio Valley Waste Service, Inc., 2020)
  • Reuse is the action or practice of using an item, whether for its original purpose (conventional reuse) or to fulfil a different function (creative reuse or repurposing) (Wikipedia, 2020). 

Look at the images to see some real examples on how reuse can look like in practice:

  1. Waste-water system made with old music instruments.
  2. Christmas trees in Paris (France) made with plastic bottles.

Source: BRöskamp, M. & B., (2020) [Pixabay].

Source : Lankester, M., (2021) [Pixabay].

As consumers, we are using a lot of different materials and we waste even more every day. Here are some ways to produce less material waste and that might be of inspiration to limit your daily waste:

  • Reuse jars from supermarkets to store rice or other food or to take lunch to work.
  • Use old clothing as cleaning rags or donate our clothes to people (for wearing, selling or for making art).
  • Restribute/Donate items we do not want anymore, rather than throwing them away. For example, our electronical devices that we will no longer use (i.e., tablet, mobile device) can be donated to an organisation that can use them.

Now, let’s take some time to think on the below questions:

  • Are you reusing any materials in your daily life (home, work, etc.)? In what way? Take some minutes to note down your thoughts.
  • Think about a specific product you feel should be reused in your neighbourhood / work and ask your fellow participants, family and friends for suggestions on how this can be done.
  • You have cleaned your wardrobe and you have a lot of clothes that you will no longer wear. Instead of throwing them away, how can you reuse them and give them a second life? Find 4 possible ways.

Some more ideas to help us reuse are the following:

  • Borrow and rent things that you do not use so frequently, like tools, ladders, or furniture;
  • Buy used products, so called second-hand (books, clothes, jewellery, electric appliances, furniture). Normally they are less expensive but as good as new;
  • Buy products that use less packaging (they should be cheaper as well);
  • Buy reusable over disposable items. For example, you can bring your own glass and metal straw to work, and avoid using a plastic one-use glass and a plastic/paper straw.