Reuse/Repurpose

Reduce waste by adopting reusable alternatives for single-use items, practicing reuse by donating unwanted items or purchasing used goods, “up/downcycling” (transforming old items into new ones) and repairing items.

FACT:

Everything is Free, Arlington MA Facebook page averages 7,000 posts per year and saves an estimated 100,000 items per year from the landfill (2021)

WAYS TO PRACTICE REUSE

Rather than disposing of unwanted items, or buying new, tap into thrift or antique stores, yard sales, or local sales sites like Craigslist. We’ve provided the following resources to help you lengthen the life cycle of purchased items.

REUSABLE ALTERNATIVES

REPURPOSING (UPCYCLING)

For every item that can’t be Refused, Reduced, or Reused, try Repurposing it. This is also referred to as upcycling.

Here are some creative upcycling ideas:

  • Office supplies: wasted printer paper for scrap paper, cardboard boxes for storing supplies, binder clips to hold power cords and chargers in place, and even mason jars, coffee mugs, and tin cans for holding pens and pencils.
  • Glass jars are very versatile. Use them as drinking glasses, to store leftovers, dry beans or granola, to decorate your house as candle holders, to hold pens in your home office.
  • Old (and cleaned) yogurt containers, and plastic take-out boxes can be used for storing leftovers.
  • Save cardboard boxes from online orders to use when moving, to put presents in, or decorate them to use as storage.
  • Turn old t-shirts into reusable grocery bags instead of putting them in the trash.
  • Alter clothes or add embroidery to give them a new flair.
  • Veggie scraps make for great vegetable broth. Keep a bag in your freezer until you have enough to make a tasty base for soups or enjoy on its own.
  • Turn an old laundry or dishwasher pod container into a small compost or waste bin.
  • Turn produce mesh bags (like ones from onions or garlic) into kitchen scrubbers.
  • Use cereal liners in place of parchment paper and cling wrap (if you’re not using heat).
  • Turn an old ladder into a bookshelf, a credit card into a guitar pick, a bowler into a lamp, a mason jar into a smoothie cup, a tennis racket into a mirror…

REPAIR

Instead of buying new items, seek options for repair first:

      refuse

      Say no to what you don’t need.

      reduce

      Avoid single-use and unnecessary items.

      reuse

      Switch to reusable and permanent alternatives.

      Rot

      Compost organic household waste.

      recycle

      Recycling is the last resort.