Reuse Reuse Tips

Reusing your things can help you to unleash your creativity, save money, and help to protect the environment. Here, we give you some tips to help you to get started

Recycling is a great way to mitigate our impact on the environment, but reusing things is even better:

  • You can save money by avoiding having to buy expensive replacements.
  • You can create exciting things, like unique pieces of furniture.
  • There are¬†environmental benefits, not just because the item isn’t thrown into landfill, but because the use of raw resources that would have gone into making a replacement can be avoided.

Reusing items as they are

Lots of items can be used more than once. We have a page dedicated to furniture reuse | Lesswaste, and another for reusable nappies | Lesswaste.

Reusable bags are a great example of reuse that stops unnecessary waste, and they’re widely available in a variety of shops and supermarkets. Old clothes can be repaired or customised to give them a new lease of life, and spare buttons can be kept safely in an old jar for when they’re needed.

It may be cheaper to repair things rather than replace them. For example, shoes can often be re-healed, and machinery or electrical equipment can sometimes be fixed. We run a range of classes, providing you with skills, through Adult Education | Leicestershire County Council.

Reusing items as something else

Once an item is no longer needed, you may be able to use it for another purpose. There are no limits to the possibilities. Some examples include, shredding old newspapers for use as animal bedding, and cutting up old clothes to use as rags around the house. Old jars make great paint pots, or can be put to use to help to keep brushes clean or even used for jam making.

Share and borrow

Rather than buying something to use only once, you could share or borrow instead. All sorts of things can be rented, including tools and DVDs. You could arrange a book swap between friends, and pass on children’s clothes.¬† Informal sharing / borrowing amongst friends and neighbours can be taken to the next step with the creation of tool libraries. The Library of Things offers support and guidance on establishing a more formal network in your community.

Pass it on to someone else

If you can’t make any more use of your things, then perhaps someone else can. There are lots of ways that you can sell or give away unwanted things. Consider donating to the local charity shop, or selling at a car boot sale. There are also lots of great resources online that allow you to give away or sell your things to people who want them, such as Freegle, Freecycle, Gumtree, Vinted and Ebay.

There are lots of ways to donate items to charity. You can get support with finding a charity willing to accept what you have to offer, through the Charity Retail Association | support. They also provide guidance on how to make a donation to your local charity Charity Retail Association | Donating to charity They have an app you can download for donating and reselling of fashion and clothing: Loop | Digital wardrobe.

If you have clothing that is no longer wearable, for example, items that are torn, stained, faded, stretched or shrunk, you could try out the new ‘Too Good To Waste’, postal donation scheme that is being run as a trial by M&S, in partnership with Oxfam. The trial allows pre-loved and wearable/reusable clothing to be posted for free, along with unwearable clothes that are in a clean and dry condition and while not wearable, could still be recycled. Postal bags for the scheme can be ordered on the Oxfam website.

Dunelm, the home furnishings retailer, are also running a take-back scheme for home textiles, including clothing. Items can be bagged and dropped off at a participating store (Thurmaston is participating). They should be in a clean condition but it’s okay if they are ripped or torn. Item’s will be sorted depending on whether they can be reused or recycled. Further information can be found at Take-back-scheme |

Give or Take events

Give or Take events are a fun way for people to exchange things they no longer need. Having successfully organised a number of these events in the past, we’ve developed a free guide to help you to organise your own: Give or Take Toolkit | Lesswaste

Swishing events

If you’d like to keep the focus on clothing, fabrics and fashion, we’ve also got a toolkit for organising your own swishing events: Swishing Toolkit| Lesswaste.