About Reuse

What is reuse?
Reuse is a way to extend the life of a value-added product or material.

Here are some ways you can be a reuser:

  1. Use something more than once either for the same function or for something entirely different.
  2. Repair something so it can continue to be used instead of replaced, often with something brand new.
  3. Share, lend, or rent something you aren’t using to someone that could use it.
  4. Donate or sell something that you’re finished using but that still has value.

What is “value added?”
The key to reuse is the “value added” part. When we reuse something we retain the value that was added to that thing to make it what it is. The birth of a thing typically begins with the mining or harvesting of virgin resources; value is then added through the processing of resources into raw materials, through the manufacturing of parts from raw materials, and finally through the assembly of parts into a thing.

When we reuse something we also retain all the time and energy put into that thing by the people all along the way who touched it, in its raw or finished forms. And finally, we get the most out of the fossil fuels used to run the machines, trucks, trains, and planes required to bring that thing into existence and into our hands.

Is the world facing overpopulation…of things?
As described, the birth of a thing is really quite a story and all too often a troubling one fraught with environmental degradation, human exploitation, and massive energy consumption. The good news is we can make a difference in the world. Through reuse, we can curb the effects of the rampant overpopulation of things.

To learn more about the birth, life, and demise of things check out The Story of Stuff.

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