Get more life out of your rubbish

Do you have grandparents who save everything - from bits of string, tin foil, margarine tubs, to old hats? Chances are they lived through the Great Depression when nothing (and I mean nothing) was thrown out. Learn how they did it back in those days and why we need be doing it now.

Do you have grandparents who save everything - from bits of string, tin foil, margarine tubs, to old hats?  Chances are they grew up in the Depression or World War I (or II).  In those times nothing was thrown out if it could be used. People  became very inventive in making do and extending the life of everyday things.

The practice of reusing goods has been carried out for centuries, in the form of clothing, toys, cutlery and crockery and heirlooms, handed down through the generations.  Reuse is using an item more than once.  For example, refilling your drink bottle or storing your baking in an ice-cream container, even using your plastic supermarket bag as a rubbish bin liner is a form or reuseing.  Second-hand shops and antique dealers rely on reused goods to make a living. 

Making things uses up a lot of energy and natural resources.  By reusing things, we reduce (use less) of these resources.  The more we reuse and exchange goods, the fewer new things need to be made. 

Benefits of reusing waste

  • There are energy and raw materials savings, as reusable products reduce the number of the product needed to be made.
  • It reduces the amount of waste going to landfill (and you do not pay a dumping fee).
  • Repairing and refurbishing goods creates jobs.
  • Some older items are very well made and appreciate in value (antiques).
  • Reuse saves money, as you do not need to purchase a new item.
  • Reuse can be achieved by trading in items at second-hand stores, having garage sales, donating     pre-loved items to charity and by repairing items when possible rather than discarding them when they break


Traditional Reuse

This is where the item is used again for the same function.  For example:

  • Repairing and overhauling products (i.e. engine blocks, toner cartridges) to meet the same standards as new products.
  • Refilling your drink bottle.
  • Second-hand stops and trade-in centres offer pre-loved goods i.e. clothing, toys, appliances, whiteware etc.
  • Second-hand cars: it is far cheaper to buyb a second hand car then a new one.


New-Life Reuse

This is where the item is used for a new function.  For example:

  • Car tyres tied to docks and wharfs to reduce damage to boats.
  • Steel drums converted into animal feeding troughs.
  • Plastic supermarket bags used as rubbish bin liners.
  • Woollen jersey re-knitted into socks.
  • Old newspapers used to wrap up your Friday night take-aways.


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