In this recent post, I lamented the loss of individual empowerment to take action against climate change. In this post I’m going to talk about some of the ways I’ve gone about replacing and reusing consumables.
It is the greatest of all mistakes to do nothing because you can only do nothing. Do what you can.

I’ve written before about the life cycle of products, and that we must consider the product’s design, development and disposal as well as its use. But sometimes we assume that when we’ve finished using a product, that’s the end of its use. But things that we’ve had enough of may still be useful to others, and items that others no longer want could be useful for us!

Donate items you’re finished with to charity, list them on Gumtree, sell them on eBay (you’d be AMAZED at what people will buy on eBay; to guarantee the sale list your item with a starting price of 1c + postage; after all, you were only going to throw it out anyway!), hold a garage sale, post a picture on Facebook

There are also items we can use that replace consumable items…

1. Choose used goods over new goods

Clothes, furniture, white goods… one person’s trash is another person’s treasure! If it’s not absolutely necessary to buy new, try finding something used.

Vintage clothing is back in fashion. Can I recommend my friend Theresa’s store, Bess Georgette, for finding something lovely to wear? Or, head to your local second-hand clothing store; Lifeline is an excellent organisation that uses the funds raised from second-hand stores to support free or low-cost professional counselling services to Australians.

Do you really need a new couch? There’s a movement towards remodeling furniture and other goods right now, which is lovely to see. You can pick up old items on Gumtree, eBay, or at your local garage sale!

Used books can be bought or traded; you could even start a book exchange at your work, club or in your classroom! Or host a “book swap” party.

2. Reuse plastic bags

Still taking plastic bags home from the supermarket each week? Reuse ’em! Or, even better…

3. Take reusable bags to the supermarket

Take your canvas bags, take your canvas bags, take your canvas bags to the supermarket…

4. Replace your consumables with reusables

So many items we use now are consumables. But it’s easy (and often cheaper) to choose a reusable coffee cup or water bottle over a throwaway one.

I have a reusable coffee cup with a lid for taking to the coffee shop. At my local coffee shop, I even receive a discount for doing so. And this isn’t a piddly 10c (which adds up to $25.00+ the course of a year), this is a true reward for doing the right thing by the environment, it’s a 50c discount ($125.00+ per year)! But even if you’re local store doesn’t give you a discount for your excellent decision, think about the discount in waste that you’re giving the environment ;)

Likewise, there’s no need to buy a new bottle of water from the shop each time you’re thirsty. Carry a refillable water bottle with you and use a tap. It’s free, and you’ll be saving yet more plastic from entering landfill.

5. Refill your pens!

Reduce your consumption of pens by choosing a pen you can refill with a new ink cartridge, rather than throwing the whole thing back. What else can you do to reduce your consumption of throwaway items like coffee cups and pens?

 In conclusion…

Wearing vintage clothes, using old furniture, buying second-hand goods, and choosing reusables over consumables saves our local environment from landfill, in addition to reducing the emissions used for producing new products in the first place. There are hundreds more ideas out there about what and how to reuse old items; give it a quick Google and you’ll find plenty of ideas!

Do you have an idea I’ve missed about how to reuse or recycle your belongings?