Upcycling, repurposing and reusing are all great ways of keeping materials in circulation.
Sometimes you’ll be able to reuse the item as it was originally made with little or no alteration.
Examples of this include:
- Reusing jars to store food or other items;
- Using pillowcases as storage bags; and
- Using egg cartons and toilet rolls to raise seedlings.
If you have items you no longer use that are still fit for purpose, you can pass them on to someone else.
In the past, clothes were patched, garden tools fitted with new handles and small electrical appliances repaired to keep them going. In more recent times, repair has given way to purchasing cheap replacement items, but with the rise of Repair Cafes, the tide is turning again.
Repair Cafes are operated by volunteers who donate their time and share their skills to restore items to working order.
Click here to find your local Repair Café.
There are also numerous online repair resources:
- Instructables has a huge range of free resources to help you repair just about anything.
- One Million Women has a section dedicated to clothing repairs with links to further information.
- Love Your Clothes has lots of resources to help you keep your clothes in great condition.
- Ifixit has over 50,000 free repair manuals for electrical and mechanical items, and a useful discussion forum.
Borrow instead of Buy
Borrowing or hiring items that you use infrequently instead of buying them saves you money and also means you are minimising waste.
Public libraries have a wide range of books, newspapers, magazines, DVDs, talking books and project kits available for borrowing.
Joining a Toy Library allows your child to experience a wide range of toys without actually having to purchase them.
Warrnambool based, South West Cloth Nappy Library is a free service where parents can try different kinds of modern cloth nappies and receive information and support.
Equipment hire businesses hire out a diverse range of products from party supplies to medical equipment and garden machinery. Search online to find a hire business near you.
Buy, swap, sell and donate
Op-shops often raise funds for charitable organisations, so by donating to, and purchasing from an op-shop, you are also contributing to a good cause.
When donating to an op-shop:
- Check to see if they have the capacity to receive your goods. Some won’t accept specific items such as electrical goods.
- Only donate items in a usable condition suitable for resale.
- Place goods inside charity collection bins or donate over the counter. Don’t leave items beside bins or in doorways.
Tip shops rescue items that would otherwise have been sent to landfill and offer them for sale. Contact your local council to find out if there is a tip shop in your area.
Facebook buy-swap-sell groups
There are numerous local buy-swap-sell groups that you can join for free. Search Facebook using the name of your town or suburb and the words, buy swap sell.
Freecycle is an online platform where you can exchange goods for free. Volunteers moderate each group.
Gumtree is an online classifieds service. It’s free to post most advertisements, and you can search for a particular item or browse what’s available by geographic area.
Sustainable Schools Shop is an Australia-wide online platform for buying and selling second-hand school books, equipment and uniforms.
Brotherhood Books is online second-hand bookshop run by The Brotherhood of St Laurence.