Reuse - Reuse and preparing for reuse
Reuse means recovering and reusing products or their components. It includes both preparing for reuse and reuse.
- Preparing for reuse refers to checking, cleaning or repairing recovery operations, by which products or their components that would have become waste are prepared in a way so that they will be reused without any other pre-processing.
- Reuse means any operation by which products or components that are not waste are used again for the same purpose for which they were conceived.
Reusing items decreases the use of material and energy resources and reduces pollution and natural capital degradation. Recycling does so too, but to a lesser degree.
Reusing products is thus the second best option in waste management, after reducing!
On this page you will find a comprehensive selection of ideas for actions you can implement during the EWWR with focus on preparing for reuse and reuse. In addition, we invite you to have a look at the case studies of successful reuse actions implemented in the past editions of the EWWR.
Ideas for actions - REUSE:
- Collection for reuse: Organise the collection of clothes, books, tools, furniture, electronics or other items to donate them to social enterprises, schools or reuse organisations
- Swap events
- Second-hand markets
- Creative reuse workshops/exhibitions/fashion shows
- Repair café/workshop/event/fair
- Give box
- Reused packaging
- Office supply reuse action: When disposing of archives, retrieve folders, ring binders, one-sided printed paper and other items that can be reused and reuse them yourself or donate to schools, social enterprises or reuse organisations
Whatever kind of action you are implementing: Remember to take pictures and videos and to use them to develop exhibitions to show the results and to publish via all channels available (media, print, information booth, social media etc.).
Why is reuse important?
Reuse confronts the same problems than reduce: There is too much waste being produced in the European Union! By extending the lifespan of products, preparing for reuse and reuse are influential measures to reduce the amount of waste produced. Reuse has a strong value for sustainable development because it not only promotes environmental protection through waste prevention but also contributes to social aims and has economic benefits. Environmental benefits of reuse:
- Reduction of the amount of waste, including hazardous waste
- Pollution prevention
- Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, which contribute to global climate change
- Decreased strain on natural resources (raw materials, fuel, forests, water)
- Preservation of the “embodied energy” that was originally used to manufacture an item
Social benefits of reuse:
- Fight against poverty by providing affordable products to low income households
- Social inclusion by bringing disadvantaged people back in the labour market and society
- Job creation in collection, sorting, testing, refurbishment and reselling of items reused
- Training opportunities in fields such as driving commercial vehicles, carpentry, electrical engineering, marketing, or even handicraft and art
Economic benefits of reuse
- Monetary savings (customer: in purchases and disposal, state: less social costs through job creation and training)
- Savings in energy, materials and chemicals embodied in the appliance
Read more about the benefits of reuse: