By keeping your unwanted items in use, you are reducing your impact on the environment by ensuring items keep in circulation rather than ending up in landfill, which as waste breaks down produces methane, a powerful greenhouse gas.
Re-using items also helps save energy as a lot of energy goes into the production of new items, so by re-using unwanted items first you can help reduce the need to produce new ones. We sometimes forget that every time new items are made, the raw materials to make them have to come from somewhere for instance, from mining, quarrying and logging. The process of obtaining the materials in the first place creates substantial air and water pollution.
We have put together our tips on donating, selling and swapping for you.
Donating items can help your local community, especially those in most need, enabling them to buy items at an affordable price or even free. So rather than taking to your Recycling Centre, you could donate items to your local charity shops, community groups or even advertise on Freecycle. Some charities and groups will even collect some furniture.
You can find a local re-use organisation through CRNS, the Furniture Re-use Network and the Charity Retail Association.
Many supermarkets also have recycling banks.
What you now see as being rubbish can be someone else’s treasure.
With so many easy options to sell all sorts of items, this can be an easy way to earn a bit of extra cash whilst doing something good for the environment.
There are numerous ways to sell online, the most common on Facebook Marketplace, EBay, Gumtree and Preloved but there are others and even local groups. You could also sell at a car boot sale.
1.1million tonnes of clothes are consumed in the UK per annum. Around 350,000 tonnes go to landfill every year in the UK.
Extending the life of clothing has a significant positive impact on the planet. Extending the life of clothing by an extra nine months reduces its carbon, water, and waste footprint by around 20-30% each, and cuts the cost in resources used to supply, launder and dispose of clothing by 20%.
There are a number of apps and websites offering the ability to swap clothing. These are just two of our favourites:
Vinted – Gives users the the opportunity to sell second-hand clothing, but also enables people to swap clothes with one another.
Swopped – Was born from the idea that the love to shop for new clothes never goes away, but with the constant need for new fashion, we are damaging the environment. As well as swapping clothes, they even recycle your old ones. It is their vision to never send an item to landfill and they work with local charities to recycle any unwanted items.
If you have enjoyed this page, check out our other pages with steps you can take to reduce your waste.