Reusing and Repurposing: 3 Reasons Why These Two “R”s Are Better than Recycling (French version available)
Have you ever wondered how much waste the world produces each year? Well, you’d be surprised. The statistics are downright staggering.
According to Earth.org, globally, there are 300 million tons of plastic waste each year, with eight million tons entering the ocean each year. In addition, if you think COVID-19 was bad enough, consider this: 25,900 tons are pandemic-related waste that has made its way into the oceans.
Now this isn’t something that’s easily resolved overnight. It will take years, and what we can do on our part is reuse and repurpose, instead of simply recycling.
This isn’t to say recycling is bad per se. After all, you’re collecting and processing materials that would otherwise be thrown in the garbage and making something new out of it. For example, you can make your own paper out of used ones, such as notebooks, binder pages, bills, and even receipts. You can even add your own personal touch by using dried flowers, leaves, or seeds.
However, recycling has its drawbacks, making reusing and repurposing the better options. For one, recycling costs money. To make something new out of old often requires you to purchase new materials, which means you accrue costs in the process. Secondly, recycling uses energy, which can cause pollution. When you make your own paper out of old paper, for example, you’ll need a blender or a food processor. And these things use energy, which we can allot for something else.
Below are three amazing reasons why repurposing and reusing are better than recycling.
- You value quality over quantity.
Mass-produced clothing is now more popular than ever around the globe. Before, one can easily tell if your outfit is from a mass-produced brand, but over the years, the designs and overall look have been somewhat elevated. What’s more, most of these stores have launched their own high-end line. They have higher quality wear that are more expensive than their regular line but are still budget-friendly.
However, convincing yourself that these purchases won’t burn a hole in your wallet encourages you to buy more than what you actually need. Since they’re so affordable, you can buy as many as you can and you can easily discard them once you wear them out. On the other hand, try thinking long-term along the lines of repurposing and reducing. This will lead you to choose quality over quantity. For this option, you only discard of the clothes if you no longer fit in them but others may still have good use for them.
- You borrow items instead of buying them.
These days, it’s easy to find items that we use at home for baking, cooking, or renovating at the corner dollar store. When we no longer have use for them, we don’t wrestle with the thought of whether we should throw them away or not because we didn’t pay a lot for them anyway. We just throw them away.
However, if you think along the lines of reducing, then you’d think twice about buying items that you rarely have a use for. Instead, you’re motivated to borrow from family, friends, and neighbours. Doing so will make you less feel guilty of wasting items that you don’t use often.
- You bring out your creative side.
If you start thinking about repurposing items, you get an opportunity to hone in your creative skills, and it can be a fun project for you and your family. In the end, you might be surprised of your potential to be creative! Even if you’re inspired by repurposing ideas from others, it’s still up to you to make it your own. For example, if you have an old ladder at home that most likely will cause an injury if used, then instead of throwing it into the recycling bin, turn it into a bookshelf with the help of your family and go crazy on how to design it.
With the amount of waste growing each day, it’s important we truly look into reducing and repurposing instead of just recycling. You’ve read the three reasons above so we hope you’re convinced.
D., Lina. “30 Creative Ways to Repurpose & Reuse Old Stuff.” Bored Panda. https://www.boredpanda.com/creative-reuse-upcycling-repurposing-ideas/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=organic&utm_campaign=organic.
Environmental Protection Agency. “Recycling Basics.” https://www.epa.gov/recycle/recycling-basics.
Lai, Olivia. “8 Shocking Plastic Pollution Statistics to Know About.” Earth.org. https://earth.org/plastic-pollution-statistics/.
Sukalich, Kathryn. “Simple Steps To Recycle Your Own Paper.” Earth911. https://earth911.com/home-garden/recycle-your-own-paper/.