Even those engaged in reuse frequently refer to it as recycling. Reuse in the broadest sense means any activity that lengthens the life of an item. When a retailer saves a hanger and uses it as a hanger again, that is reuse.

Recycling, on the other hand, is the reprocessing of an item into a new raw material for use in a new product. For example, when a hanger is crushed and reprocessed into other plastic items like toys that is known as recycling.

Reuse is nothing new, but as we face an ever-growing “green” challenge to reduce waste and preserve our planet’s natural resources, the need for reuse has never been greater.

Reuse can be accomplished through many different methods:

  • Purchasing durable goods that are intended to have a long life.
  • Buying and selling products in the used marketplace.
  • Borrowing used items rather than buying new ones.
  • Renting when short-term use is the objective.
  • Subscribing to business waste exchanges.
  • Donating gently used items to charitable organizations.
  • Properly maintaining and repairing products to ensure their long life and reuse capabilities.
  • Developing products that are reusable, have long lives, and are capable of being remanufactured or creatively refashioned as used items.