It is important to try to break the current mould of using items just once. Everything we buy nowadays seems designed to be used only one time. Reusing items could potentially divert thousands of tons of waste from landfills every year. Some imagination is required to reuse everyday items over and over again:

  • Look for products in reusable, refillable or recyclable packaging when you shop.
  • Donate unwanted clothing, furniture and white goods to charities.
  • Enquire if goods can be repaired rather than replaced.
  • Use rechargeable batteries rather than single-use batteries and ask your local council about how to dispose of batteries properly.
  • Use glass bottles and jars, plastic bags, aluminium foil and take away food containers over and over again before recycling or disposing of them.
  • Use supermarket 'bag for life' schemes.
  • Some shops operate refill services for their bottles.
  • Carry your lunch in a reusable container rather than disposable wrappings.
  • Re-use envelopes and use both sides of paper.

Dedicated other websites like the Freecycle network and Jumbletown organise the giving and receiving of items in Ireland and so divert reusable goods from landfill.

If you have a new-born baby, why not try reusable nappies? A baby requires about 4,500 nappies in the first two-and-a-half years of its life. In total a child could use up to 5,850 disposable nappies. This weighs the same as an average family car. The graphic below shows a worst case scenario as to what happens to all those nappies thrown away.

A nappy disaster
Copyright Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government

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