Global consciousness is something which we can all work upon. On average, a person produces 4.40 pounds of trash a day. The global average is two billion tons. And while we may have taken measures to reduce the amount of trash we produce, such as using and washing glass over disposable plastics, or carpooling, we can still do more to reduce trash. Specifically, recycling through repurposing can greatly help.
What is repurposing?
Repurposing is taking something which was intended for one function or purpose and using the same item for a different function of purpose. For example, taking a used tire and making a tire swing from it is repurposing. The original design of the tire is intended to be placed upon a vehicle yet adding rope and hanging it from a tree gives it a purpose once the treads become worn or there is a puncture.
Repurposing does not have to be with large items. Generally, it is the small items that get thrown away more often than larger purchase priced items. Take for example the milk carton. On average a person with one to two children can go through a gallon of milk in two to three days’ time. Usually, the carton gets discarded. Recycling the milk carton through repurposing is extremely easy as there are several post, website, pins, and DIY creative projects online for such.
Buying for repurposing later
One of the first steps in repurposing is being conscious of the buying choices that we make. Try to find products which can be reused or repurposed for something else later. Minimize purchasing items which only have one function or those items which would be hard to repurpose. By trying to purchase for repurposing, you will find more uses for current items owned.
Reduction through Repurposing
Repurposing does not always mean that you must keep the item in its original shape or form. Glass is one area where you will often find that crushing, breaking, and binding can give you completely different results and functionality. Tile and ceramics are another medium where changing the shape may help you find a repurpose, such as with creating mosaics.
Waste Reduction though repurposing does not require that you to clutter up your house or yard. You can reduce waste by finding new eco-friendly ways of getting rid of what you do not need. For example, if you need to have wood chips in your yard and you have an old chair or shelf break it up, sand it down and use it as mulch. Have an aquarium but no fish? Take the rocks and add some color to your flowerbed or driveway.
Find a need and fill it
Repurposing an item is as much about fulfilling a need as it is about recycling. Everyone has something that they think would make their life easier. One of the purposes of repurposing an item is to fulfill a need. What makes this great is that you can use items as creatively as your imagination allows to fulfill the need. For example, if you have a tennis shoe that no longer fits and want to still show it off a bit, why not turn it into a flowerpot? You don’t have to really do anything but fill it will soil and a plant. Plants not your thing? Take that same shoe, cut it in half and add a bit of wood and you have bookends.
Regardless of the level of complexity, you can find something which is no longer useful and put it to use in a new way. Make your repurposing meet your personality. Very rarely do we find a retailer who knows and understands our personalities, our likes, and our style. Repurposing addresses these three areas as you are the one making the item. As a result, it is sure to emulate your personality.
Repair to repurpose
Some may not want to repurpose in such an artist way. This does not mean that they cannot repurpose. Chairs which have lost their cushioning, tables which need to be sanded, lamps which need to be re-wired are all ways in which you can take and repurpose something. Many times, an item has not completely lost its function or purpose but rather its desirability to be used. With just a little bit of effort, you can transform an old chair into a new modern chair.
Seeking to repurpose
Repurposing can be a fun pastime and can help lower waste production in your area. But where do you go to find quality items to repurpose. State sales, yard sales, storage units auctions or online.
One option for finding items to repurpose is to attend a yard sale or an estate sale. As the purpose of a yard sale or estate sale is to get rid of items, you may be able to negotiate prices, especially if it is later in the day and the person who is conducting the yard sale or estate sale is wanting to finish up.
State sales on the other hand are handled differently and you might have to bid for an item you like. State sales are great places to find antiques and unique items.
Another option, if you do not wish to go out and about to yard sales you can always look at the sales papers online, visit Ebay, check for going out of business sales, etc.
When you talk about storage units auctions, you only have a few minutes to see what the contents of the units are from outside the door. Then you can make a bid for the entire unit based on your instincts and knowledge. Sometimes you get a great deal and sometimes you get a dud.
Get inspiration and get started
Repurposing can be a fun alternative to throwing stuff away. Not sure where to get started? Look at other people’s projects online to get inspiration. Watch a few craft shows to see how professionals take on repurposing. Get inspired and get started. You will be glad you did.