Choose to Reuse
When it comes to managing waste and the wellbeing of our planet, let’s face it, we’re not doing a great job. And Australians are no exception. According to the ABC’s War on Waste, the waste Australians generate each year is growing at twice the rate of our population. As wasters go, we’re gold medallists.
The good news? With the passing of each increasingly warm day there are more and more people, businesses and governments who are starting to understand that it’s up to us to curb the amount of waste we generate and be more conscious about what and how we consume.
Which is where initiatives like Garage Sale Trail and the 400,000 awesome humans come in who take part - knowingly or otherwise in the art of reuse. This year, it is on the weekend of October 20 & 21, and like a puppy isn’t just for Christmas, reuse isn’t just for one weekend.
You get a puppy, you get a puppy, everyone gets a puppy
So, what is Reuse anyway?
Reuse is about extending the life of stuff. If you buy a bottle of water, then after quenching your thirst you throw that bottle away or even recycle it, it’s had a short, and not altogether satisfying life. By refilling that plastic water bottle just once, you’ve doubled the life of that bottle (yay, you!). And by doubling the use, you halve the waste.
As a society we’re starting to get the hang of reuse. Just as we’re starting to understand that the idea of single use plastics is a bit crazy.
But plastics aren’t the only problem. We’re also starting to understand that the stuff we own but don’t use, doesn’t need to be put out of sight and out of mind in a nasty, stinky hole in the ground.
According to the Gumtree Second Hand Economy Report, 89% of Australian households have unwanted items in their house worth an average of $4,200 and a staggering 50% admit to throwing them in the bin.
It’s a bit of a dire read but the less we reuse, the more of the world’s finite resources we use, the more greenhouse gases we produce, and the more polluted our environments become. Then there’s the social impacts of our insatiable demand for low cost, quick turn-around fashion, electronics and whatever else we trick ourselves into thinking we need.
CAN’T WE JUST RECYCLE IT INSTEAD?
Recycling is as Australian as a Bunnings sausage sizzle. We were pioneering recycling programs as far back as the 60s, and recycling has been the cool kid at the party for a long time.
After all, recycling keeps waste out of landfill and turns it into shiny new things. Recycling also uses less energy and water than making it new but extending the life of things we already have uses almost none. So, while recycling is still much cooler than throwing-stuff-away, actually reuse is where it’s at these days.
By reusing everything from coffee cups and plastic bags to jeans and computers, you can have a huge impact on resources, waste and even your own wallet. It’s good for the planet, good for the community and good for you too.
SIGN ME UP, HOW DO I DO IT?
1. BUY & SELL SECOND-HAND
Register to be part of the Garage Sale Trail, and join 400,000 Australians taking part in the reuse revolution. The rest of the year, a good place to start is on Gumtree.
2. ONE WORD – MULTIPLE-USE
If you’ll only use it once, don’t buy it. Bring your own cup, bottle, straw & bag, then see what other things you can switch to multiple-use.
3. FIX IT
Fix it, don’t ditch it.
4. UPCYCLE IT
Can’t fix it? Turn it into something else.
5. DONATE IT
One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, but whether it is going to a mate or a op-shop, make sure it is in friend-worthy condition. Find your nearest charity shop.