What is “Reusing?”

“Reuse” is the second part of the “DUC” triangle of green efforts. Reusing and repurposing go hand-in-hand, and are both very important. To reuse an item means to use an item for its intended purpose again, after it has already been used and would otherwise be thrown away. For example, washing out a plastic cup and drinking out of it again instead of throwing it away. Repurposing is similar, but refers to reusing an item for a purpose other than the original or intended function. An example of this would be using an old milk carton as a pot to grow a plant in. Although the term “recycling” has often been used to cover all of these things, it is important to distinguish the terms. Reusing and repurposing can actually be better than recycling in some cases. Recycling is the process of breaking down used items into raw materials that are then reused, and this process takes time, money, and resources.  Reusing and repurposing cut out that process and allow the materials to be used again right away, without having to go through a costly break-down and transport process.



Why Reuse?

Reusing items is an important part of the sustainability movement. Every action counts, and every little thing makes a difference. You may think that your impact is so small that it does not matter, but we must begin at the individual level in order to achieve our goals. If every person makes little changes here and there, there is no limit to what we can accomplish. However, if every person has the attitude of ambivalence because they are such an insignificant part of the system, then the negative impact will be immense. It’s up to us! Everything counts, and everything matters!