Reduce waste: Reuse, repair and upcycling

Recycling is important, but better still is reducing the waste we each produce. We can each make a difference through reusing and donating products, repairing items or upcycling. 

Here are some ideas to help you to reduce the  amount of waste you produce. You can make a positive impact on your environment and often save money too. 

Reuse: donate, rehome, borrow and buy second hand

Although we encourage recycling, it’s better to rehome things you no longer need rather than to recycle them and it’s better to buy second hand rather than to buy new.  

Rehome things you no longer need with Freegle, Olio and Freecycle. These free sharing networks allow you to list items you don’t need, and match you up with a local who’d like them. You can make requests if you need something specific too. 

Think about borrowing instead of buying. Visit your local library for books, dvds and other media such as online magazine subscriptions. 

Reuse isn’t just about the product you are buying. Think about eliminating single use products from your life and trying reusables instead. Shopping bags, drinks bottles, coffee cups and nappies are just a few examples that are available as reusable items. And opt for refills where available, such as at dedicated, zero-waste refill shops or just when refilling your water bottle when on the go. 


View our “Reuse and Zero waste” map below to find local businesses that can help you waste less

Repair and upcycling

It is often cheaper, and almost always better environmentally, to get faulty items repaired, rather than throwing them away and buying new. 

You could also consider learning the skills to repair and upgrade your own items at home.


View our “Repair and Upcycling” map for local repair business and training/workshop opportunities 

If you are a local business offering repairs, second hand items or other zero waste opportunities, or if you’ve recently used a service that you recommend for inclusion on this page, please get in touch today to be added to the maps. Email business details to


Further information and resources:

Love Food, Hate Waste

Love your clothes

Tools for Self-reliance - donate your tools to be repaired and sent to those in need in Central Africa