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Reusing waste

Having a clear out? Before you throw all your unwanted items in the bin, have a think about whether they could be used again, either by you or by someone else in the community.


What does ‘reuse’ mean?

Put simply 'reuse' means using an object or material again and again, either for its original purpose or for a similar purpose, postponing disposal and removing the need to buy new products for the same task. 

Reuse is not recycling, because recycling alters the physical form of an object or material. Reuse prevents objects and materials from becoming waste. Some items are specifically designed to be reused, for example, rechargeable batteries or real nappies.

If you have items in your home which you do not want anymore, for example clothes, books and furniture, think before throwing them out, as it is very likely that they can be reused by someone.

Why reuse?

Reusing items is a good thing to do because it:

  • extends the life of materials saving the Earth's natural resources
  • saves energy which helps to reduce the risk of climate change
  • reduces the amount of waste ending up in landfill
  • saves you money

How can items be reused?

You’d be amazed by how many people want your waste! See our ideas of where you can give unwanted items to be reused. Or visit our top tips where ideas have been provided by you.

Reuse organisations

Furniture reuse organisations

Furniture reuse organisations may collect unwanted furniture (still in good condition) and other household items from your home; they sell them at very reasonable prices, mainly to people on lower incomes.

Charity shops and organisations

Search for a local charity to donate items to at Pass it On. Donated items must be clean and in good condition and suitable for resale. They may also take mobile phones and printer cartridges for recycling.


Opticians may collect old pairs of glasses for reuse in developing countries.

Reuse networks

There are reuse internet networks that you can join. You can advertise items you no longer want on the site and people contact you if they want them. Items cannot be charged for! Try checking the sites now and again, even if you don't think there's a group local to you, as new groups are being set up all the time.

Selling unwanted items

If you want to raise a little cash from selling your unwanted items in shops or online auction sites or apps.