Reusing

How to Reuse: 9 Resources for Learning More

Kathleen Rocco

Whether it’s sewing an old pair of jeans or patching a worn bike tire, it’s important to remember about reuse in the “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” triad. Reuse is different than recycling because recycling involves the manufacturing process. Reuse requires only an open mind and a little imagination.

And don’t worry. You don’t have to be good at arts and crafts to successfully reuse your material goods.

I tell my students it’s as simple as washing your clothes or sharpening a pencil. I also ask them to tell me how many reuses they can get from a steel soup can. The answers are endless, “a pencil holder, a pet food scoop, a holder for nails and screws, a cup, a bank.”

Reuse is sometimes the easiest thing to forget because people don’t actively ask themselves, “How do I reuse this if it isn’t obvious?” If you’re serious about reusing, you’re going to have to think of using your old stuff in ways you never thought of trying. Imagine a mop made of old bath towels or biodegradable mini planters made from toilet paper rolls.

It’s easy to tell when something has been reused because you can always see the original object. For example, I have a belt made from pop tabs.

So how can you become a successful reuser? In today’s world, there are robust resources to help you along your reuse journey. Check out the following websites and organizations to learn more about reuse opportunities.

9 Resources to Learn More About Reuse

Pinterest – Simply search for “reuse projects” to get hundreds of inspirational ideas.

Instructables – A useful site for how to make just about anything.

iFixIt – A crowd-sourced encyclopedia of how to fix everything.

CuyahogaRecycles.org’s Pass It On Book – A resource-full guide on donating usable stuff.

Habitat for Humanity Restore – One of the largest recycling and reusing centers in Cuyahoga County.

Goodwill – With stores across Northeast Ohio, they are dedicated to improving the quality of life and employment opportunities for all people.

MedWish International — Repurposes medical supplies and equipment discarded by the healthcare industry.

The Library – the ultimate in reuse.

ZeroLandfill — An award-winning upcycling program held seasonally that supports the supply needs of local artists and arts educators while reducing pressure on local landfill capacity.

Now we can see the abundance of resources that can help us reuse our way to a world without waste.

Author Kathleen Rocco owns the necklace that is featured in the blog photo. The necklace was made from pop cans by a designer in Morrow County, Ohio.

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