Reuse is different to recycling and it’s important to know the difference so you can understand why ‘reuse’ comes before ‘recycle’ on the waste hierarchy.

Recycling means turning an item into raw materials which can be used again, usually for a completely new product. This is an energy consuming process.

Reusing refers to using an object as it is without treatment. This saves energy and reduces pollution and waste because it reduces the need for raw materials, making it a more sustainable process. Reuse is also not just about re-purposing materials, but using the object as it is. This might involve some repair.

Here are some ideas and some organisations and businesses that will reuse commonly discarded items. Please feel free to add more in the comments below.

  • Baby items can be rehomed by Olivia’s Place to Gippslanders in need.
  • Gently worn shoes can be donated to local charities or organisations like Soles4Souls, Swapping Shoes with Amputees, and Shoes for Planet Earth.
  • GiveNow has a register of Australian organisations accepting bicycle donations.
  • Use online platforms like Facebook Buy Swap Sell and ebay to ensure unwanted items in good condition get reused.
  • Have a garage sale or join the Garage Sale Trail.
  • Leave rubber bands from the post office in the mail box to be reused (thanks Rosemary for the photo).
  • Bicycles can be repaired or reused for parts at Re:cycling in Leongatha.
  • Black plastic plant pots can be dropped off at Blue Gum Forest Nursery, Korumburra for reuse.Check with your nursery to see if they will do the same.
  • Check PlanetArk’s Reuse Information Hub for more ideas and organisations.

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