Everyone has always praised recycling over the years, however, nobody really talks about reusing. Even though recycling is great for the environment, it still requires a lot of energy. So while recycling is a very good step, it shouldn’t be the first point of interest when it comes to helping the environment.
There are so many benefits of reusing over recycling. The main benefits include less pollution, less energy use, cheaper costs and the fun that you can have when you reuse or repurpose an item. There are so many things that you can reuse rather than recycle.
In this article, we will take a look at the main reasons why reusing is much better than recycling. We will also have a look at the main differences between reusing and recycling as well as some additional information about reusing products to help the environment. There are many things that can be reused and here, we will take a look at the most common items that can be reused or repurposed.
What is the Difference Between Reusing and Recycling?
When a product is recycled, it is turned into raw materials and these materials can be used again. Recycled raw materials are usually made into completely new products. This process uses quite a lot of energy.
Reusing refers to using a product again without treating it in any way. When you reuse a product, it reduces both waste and pollution. Therefore, this process is much more sustainable.
Some examples of recycled items include insulation materials that are made from plastic bottles and old newspapers, or fibreglass that is made from glass bottles. Some reused items include second-hand items. The most commonly reused items are items of clothing and pieces of furniture.
What Are The Benefits of Reusing?
There are many benefits to reusing items. Below is a list of the main benefits that come with reusing things:
- It causes much less or no pollution
- It uses less energy
- It is less expensive
- It encourages quality over quantity
- It is friendlier
- It is more responsible
- It is a lot of fun
Take a look at the list below for some more information on the benefits of reusing.
It causes much less or no pollution
Recycling requires a lot of energy to complete and can cause pollution, so even recycling can come with its own dose of pollution. This is why reusing is a much better option than recycling.
Reusing or repurposing products doesn’t create any pollution. This process instead makes items useful just as they are. An example of products that are great for reusing is clothing. New items of clothing take a large toll on the environment. With this in mind, if you choose to repurpose your clothing or buy used clothing, you are choosing the best option for the environment.
It uses less energy
Recycling uses quite a lot of energy. In order to complete the recycling process, things need to be heated up, melted down, and reconstructed into a new product. In a lot of cases including jars and glass bottles, this doesn’t make much sense. Since there is a lot of energy lost when we recycle, in some cases, it’s better to just reuse the items.
For example, with bottles and jars, we can reuse them for storing for or for making our own drinks. If we can’t find uses for the items ourselves, then we can give them away to people who can make use of them. For example, farmers, vendors, and artisans can usually make great use of glass bottles and jars.
It is less expensive
When we recycle products, it means that we are buying new things. This will usually end up costing us, a company, or the planet in various ways. Instead, we can choose to reuse items instead.
Items such as paper, grocery bags, ribbons, packaging, boxes, and wrapping paper can be reused for a number of things. This can save us the cost of having to buy these items again. Also, we can buy used items such as laptops, cameras, and cars. Buying used items can save us a lot of money and can prevent things from being thrown away.
It encourages quality over quantity
When we plan out that we are going to reuse our products rather than throw them away or recycle them, then it encourages us to buy something that is higher quality in the first place. Higher quality items will tend to last for much longer and are much more likely to be able to be reused.
Our culture produces a lot of waste through buying cheap and shopping recklessly. If we buy things that are meant to last, we are more likely to make conscious decisions about what we are buying. If we buy quality items such as furniture, we can pass those down through generations rather than simply throwing our old furniture out in the dump.
It is friendlier
Reusable items can be used to help us make friends. Items such as jars can be reused and turned into gifts. Clothes can be passed on to neighbours or people that we know. Old TVs, furniture, and other items can be donated, sparking conversations with strangers. Reusing and repurposing items is how we make a much friendlier and kinder world.
It is more responsible
Reusing items is much more responsible than simply recycling. Many people recycle or throw out products without even thinking twice about it, creating a cycle. When we reuse products, it makes us much more conscious of the waste that we are creating. This can make us much more likely to continue reusing products and help to reduce our waste.
The more we reuse and repurpose items, the more we can realize that there are a lot of opportunities to avoid waste. Reusing more and more can help us become more creative and helps to make us more aware of the burden that humanity is putting on the planet with waste.
It is a lot of fun
When you turn an old item into something new, it can be a lot of fun. Not only does it help to reduce waste, but it also allows you an opportunity to get creative, active and involved in new things. There are many things that you can repurpose.
Repurposed wood and lumber can be great for budding carpenters and hobbyists. Jars and tins are great for craftwork and old newspapers and mail can become a piece of artwork. Making things is a lot more fun than simply throwing them in the bin.
You can even get your whole family involved in the fun. Children love getting creative and can experience a lot of pride in showing off something that they’ve made with their own bare hands. Have a think about some crafts that you can get your children involved with.
How Can You Reuse Items?
There are a number of ways that you can reuse items. Below is a list of the main ways that items can be reused for the greater good:
- Reuse the item
- Give the item away to someone
- Sell the item
- Buy used items
Reuse the item
You can reuse an item for its original purpose or for a new purpose. Many items that we use every day can be used more than once. Below are some typical examples of how we can reuse items:
- Take paper or plastic bags with you to the grocery store to prevent the use of new bags
- Use both sides of a piece of paper to prevent wasted paper
- Keep hold of gift boxes, gift bags, wrapping paper, and ribbons so you can reuse them for other gifts at a later date
- Keep packaging such as boxes, bubble wrap and packaging “peanuts” so that you can use them to wrap new parcels at a later date
Purchasing products with reuse in mind is a good idea too. For example, you can choose to purchase cloth diapers, cloth napkins, and high-quality products so that you can keep reusing them. You should also think about broken items – can they be fixed and reused rather than thrown out?
When it comes to clothing, it’s easy to reuse or repurpose old pieces of clothing. You should aim to wear all of your clothes again and again to help the environment. You can also choose to buy second-hand clothes to give them a new lease of life and to save them from being thrown out.
Give the item away to someone
There are many everyday household items that can be reused again for another purpose. Some common items that can be reused for another purpose include glass and plastic jars, coffee cans, milk jugs, and similar containers. These can be used for storing other products. You can even get creative and paint them so that they fit in with your décor. Another option is to create new things that you can give away. Crafted items make great unique and personal gifts for your friends and loved ones.
Not only can small items be given away, but larger items can also be given away such as furniture, TVs and items of clothing. These can be given away to friends, family members, neighbours and can even be listed online to give away to strangers. Making a conscious effort to give away your items is not only good for the environment, but it can also make you feel really good knowing that your old junk has found a new life in someone else’s home.
Sell the item
If you have some good quality items that you no longer need, then you can sell these items and make a little extra money rather than simply throwing them away. You can list your old junk online and quite often people will be willing to buy it.
Places online such as Etsy and eBay give you a space where you can sell your old items. Another great idea is to create new items from your old items such as jars and bottles. You can really get creative and make new things that people may want to buy. If you get good at it, you can even start a new business creating new things from old things.
Buy used items
Buying used items is not only often much cheaper than buying things from new, but it’s also much better for the environment. If you are thinking about getting some new furniture, instead of shopping for new furniture, take a look at some second-hand pieces. You can find some really unique and beautiful pieces of furniture that have been passed down through generations.
Not only can you pick up second-hand furniture, but you can also find a range of good quality second-hand items such as TVs, phones, clothing, electrical items, and many other things. Whenever you think about buying a new product, consider whether or not you could get a second-hand version somewhere first.
What Are Some Examples of Things That Can Be Reused?
Below is a list of things that can most commonly be reused:
- Light fixtures
Office Furniture and Supplies
- Filing cabinets
- Stacking trays
Computers and Electricals
- Desktop computers
- Fax machines
- Old paper
Food Items and Equipment
- Canned foods
- Boxed foods
- Surplus food supplies
You can pretty much reuse any household item that is still in a good enough condition to make use of.
As you can see, there are so many reasons why reusing is much better than recycling. While most people think recycling is the very best option for the environment, they don’t realize that reusing is actually the best option out there for protecting the environment. So next time you think about throwing out or recycling a product, have a think about whether you could use it again or repurpose it into something else that you can make use of. The options are pretty much endless.