Reuse and Repurpose

Reusing and repurposing are great ways to utilize materials that would otherwise be discarded. They can be applied to a variety of situations.


The process of reusing materials saves energy and water that would have been used in the buying a replacement product. Reusing materials instead of buying new materials also saves you money. Harmful effects and pollution resulting from the process necessary to create these products are also reduced.

With repurposing, old materials can be used to serve new functions and as different products, which has the same general benefits.

Finally, reusing and repurposing reduces waste—these products would have been discarded, and many of them would have gone on to landfills and waste management facilities.


Reusing and repurposing can be done with a variety of materials, and the uses are only limited to your imagination. Here are a few examples.

  • Reuse plastic and paper bags for shopping.
  • Reuse cardboard boxes for gifts and storage.
  • Repurpose old cans, bottles, tires, and other materials as plant pots.
  • Repurpose old t-shirts as rags or towels.
  • Cut up old credit cards to turn them into guitar picks.
  • Donate used clothes to shelters, old books to libraries, and old art supplies to schools.

“50 Things You Can Reuse”. Soapboxie. November 2018.

Engels, Jonathon. “7 Reasons Why Reusing and Repurposing Is Better Than Recycling”. One Green Planet. 2018.

Melgar, Carolyn. “Stop Waste by Reusing, Repurposing and Upcycling”. Green Mountain Energy. May 2018.

“Reducing and Reusing Basics”. Environmental Protection Agency.

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