Reuse (Donate, Buy Used, Repair, Maintain)
No one would consider buying a new car because the one they are driving needs an oil change, new brakes or a tire rotation. In fact, all of us reuse items by taking proper care of them but increasingly, we are replacing items instead of repairing or maintaining them. The items we replace become unwanted and we either send them to the landfill, recycle them, or, if the option exists, donate them.
Donating items is better than recycling them because minimal amounts of energy are used in refurbishing them. Consider toys and books children outgrow, clothing, shoes, blankets, and utensil sets with a few pieces missing; all these items are easily given to relatives, friends or donated. As recent graduates and young newlyweds with little money to spare, we may have shopped thrift stores for picture frames, glassware, furniture and much more. Perhaps as older adults, we offer garage sales to clean out unwanted but perfectly usable items. This is a great way to reuse items. Many of us enjoy bargain shopping, finding treasures in a neighbor's yard sale or at the local thrift shop.
In fact, reuse has become a viable part of the economy as new stores and national chains have established themselves firmly in the "gently used" retail market. Consider stores such as:
Better the Second Time Around
Cutting Corners and More
My Little Store
Once Upon a Child
Savers Thrift Store
St. Vincent DePaul
Anytime an item is repaired, rather than replaced, it can save resources. Over time the County has highlighted businesses in the emailed newsletter that assist residents in preserving and maintaining items so they can be reused. Consider cutlery, having knives and scissors sharpened can make them last longer and save money over the cost replacement. Having a purse or shoes repaired, especially an expensive item, saves money, prevents waste and conserves resources.
Often, people do not consider the resources that are used to make an item. Leather must be treated and shipped hundreds of miles, if not thousands, depending on where it came from and where it is being sold. Water, chemicals, energy are all resources used to make products. Imagine how much pollution is prevented when we repair an item instead of replacing it. Some local examples of repair options:
Andy's Shoe Repair (almost any leather product)
Rich's Sharpening Service