In the field of ecology, there is a term called the 3R rule, which consists of recycling, reuse and reduction. Today we want to focus on one of these Rs: reuse, because it is one of the most important and, moreover, the one that can awaken the greatest creativity.
In this article, we will discuss the many benefits of reusing objects, so that you can make the most of them and that the planet also benefits.
Recycling is not only about sorting the waste we produce every day. It is also about reusing things we used for the first time, whether to adapt them to extend their life cycle (e.g. clothes) or to take on new forms and serve as raw material for new objects. This is the value of second chances.
Advertising and mainstream commerce push us towards mass consumption on a daily basis. Their logic is to immediately replace things with new ones, no matter if they are still useful, if they are still preserved or if they can be used for a second time.
Responsible consumption is oriented in the opposite direction. Its aim is to raise awareness of the need for moderate consumption and sustainable products, covering real needs and not others created by advertising itself, and supporting sustainable practices such as recycling to care for and preserve the environment.
Reusing everyday objects: what’s in it for us?
One might think that reusing a plastic bottle, a can or a cork is not a very important action, but this is not the case. In fact, there are numerous benefits that could be gained globally if the reuse of objects were a widespread practice. Here are the main ones:
- Significant savings in raw materials
By reusing things, we prevent companies from producing new ones and starting extractive processes that, in most cases, cause damage to the environment. For example, by recycling canning steel, we reduce the pollution levels generated by its production by 85%.
Contemporary cities face the enormous challenge of disposing of hundreds of tonnes of waste every day. If we reuse items, waste levels will decrease and municipalities will invest fewer resources in waste treatment and disposal. The savings can be invested in other areas, such as education and health care.
- Promoting social values and commitment networks
When we circulate objects among people in our social circle, we not only extend their life cycle, but also promote social values such as solidarity, fairness, altruism and commitment to the sustainability of the planet.
Simple tips for reusing objects
Here are some tips on how to reuse objects that are no longer useful:
- Containers: you are sure to find some ideas for reusing cans or glass containers. You can decorate them and use them as vases or to organise the kitchen.
- Cardboard boxes: these can be a good game for children if you use your imagination and give them a second life.
- Cans: what if you used them as pots to create your own urban vegetable garden?
- Clothes: give your trousers a second life by turning them into shorts for the summer or turn your old t-shirts into cushion covers. Have you ever thought of that?
Second chances: shops, objects and materials
What began a few decades ago as a gesture of solidarity is now an alternative model of consumption. The reuse of objects is an option that gains more followers every day and generates new commercial networks.
The best proof of this are the second-hand shops that have appeared in recent years. These shops, such as those of Oxfam or Humana, which initially focused on the clothing sector and then extended to other sectors, basically offer two options: the donation of objects or items that deserve a second chance and the purchase of these, at affordable prices, by people in need.
Again, remember: any object can be reused, from a plastic bottle cap, to cans, to clothes, to toothbrushes, to magazines and newspapers, to the water we consume every day and the leftover coffee you drink every morning. It is a question of creativity and the will to change. Shall we set them in motion?
Companies too can benefit from reusing products once they have reached the end of their life. If you are looking for a partner to support you in doing just that, Circularty is here for you! Have a look at our Circular Production Chain consultancy.