Recycling, Reusing and re-purposing. They kinda seem like the same thing right? Well, technically they’re not! They have some similarities but they’re also quite different. Here’s the scoop.Recycling is the process of converting waste materials into new materials and objects.  Recycling can prevent the waste of potentially useful materials and reduce consumption, thereby reducing energy usage, air pollution and water pollution. Wikipedia

Recycling is great. Don’t get me wrong. I’m all about recycling as an option. But, its not necessarily the best option. While it’s great that we have found ways to turn our waste into something else, or even the same thing with recycled materials, it still requires a lot of energy. In other words, it’s better than sending things to the landfill, but recycling should be a last option, just before the garbage can and ultimately landfill.

For those of us who are environmentally conscious or looking for ways to better care for the planet, we need to get back to reusing and re-repurposing. Many commonly discarded items, the most common being clothing, are readily reusable in their current form.  So, instead of tossing an item in the trash can or recycling bin, consider other ways it might still be usable. If not to you, perhaps consider donating so that someone else can use it. 

When items can’t be reused, for example something that is broken and can’t be fixed for its original intended purpose, we need to find ways to re-purpose them. Re-purposing is the process by which an object with one use value is transformed or redeployed as an object with an alternative use value. Wikipedia

Here’s a few reasons why we all should reuse or re-purpose whenever possible:

1. It’s less expensive: We can reuse items like grocery bags, paper (use the other side), boxes, ribbons, wrapping paper, and packaging “peanuts”.  In the process, we save ourselves the cost having to buy these items. If you still want to/have to buy something, consider buying used items and save money. This too, will conserve resources and prevent them from winding up in the landfill.

2. It uses less energy: When we recycle, things have to be heated up, melted and reconstituted into whatever it becomes. So, a lot of energy is used when we recycle. That said, if items aren’t particularly useful to us anymore, we can find other people, who could use them. That’s when donation is a good option.

3. It causes less, or no, pollution: As I’ve already said above, recycling requires so much energy that it creates its own share of pollution. Reusing and re-purposing doesn’t create pollution. Items can be used as, perhaps for another purpose or by someone else without causing any further issues for the planet.

4. It encourages quality over quantity: When we know that we aren’t going to throw something away and buy a replacement, we are inclined to buy something of higher quality, something that will last and something we actually need. So when buying something new, make sure its made/built to last a long time.

5. It’s more responsible: Reusing and re-purposing gives us more control of the waste we create. It’s not just being tossed away and eventually going into landfill. This, in turn, makes us more conscious of having to deal with our stuff. More importantly, when we reuse and re-purpose, we are reducing our consumption.

6. It’s environmentally friendlier: Reusing and re-purposing is one small step toward creating a healthier environment. That isn’t to say we shouldn’t ever recycle, but we could all do a lot better. Shopping at secondhand stores is a great way to reuse and re-purpose. Donating those items you no longer need or want is a also great way to avoid creating unnecessary waste.

7. It’s a lot of fun: Re-purposing can be fun. Step out of your comfort zone and think of new ways to use old things. It shakes things up and gives things new life.

The options are limitless. Get creative and have fun.