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Buy re-used and recycled
Buying or using products which have either been used before or are made up of recycled materials keeps valuable materials out of landfill. It also reduces the need to manufacture new materials, meaning less energy and water is consumed.
When you choose re-used or recycled, you're also helping to create a market for used goods and supporting the recycling industry, including retailers, specialist repairers, artists and students.
- Find new uses for existing products or materials
- Reduce the use of energy and water resources in manufacturing
- Reduce the use of raw materials in manufacturing
- Help create employment opportunities in your local community
- Send your unwanted items to where they’re wanted
At a glance
- Savings 2
- Ease 2
- Impact 2
The range of quality second-hand products is increasing all the time as people are more aware of the advantages of recycling. Avenues for buying, selling or giving away re-used or pre-loved items are becoming more common.
Selling or giving away items you no longer need—and would otherwise have thrown away—is a great way to extend the life of products that might otherwise end up in landfill. At the end of their life the materials can be recycled so they can be used to make something else.
Look out for retail shops in your area which specialise in recycled and re-used products including:
- soft furnishings
- gift and decorative items
- household goods
- computing and home office equipment
- building materials and products.
You can also find items for sale in newspapers, at swap meets, at trash and treasure markets, in charity shops and at some recycling centres attached to local council waste transfer stations and landfills. There are many bargains to be found.
There are many websites dedicated to selling, swapping or giving away interesting and useful products. Freecycle is an example of websites dedicated to giving unwanted items to others.
Many products are made out of recycled material. Goods made from recycled content will usually provide the same and sometimes even better level of service than products made from brand new materials.
By being thoughtful about what you buy and consume, you will help preserve our natural resources as well as provide a market for local business. Consider how products were made, where they came from and what you will do with them when you no longer need them.
- When shopping, look out for labels that indicate recycled content. There are green marketing consumer laws designed to help businesses understand their obligations regarding environmental claims they make about their products.
- Choose paper products that contain recycled content. For example, it's now possible to buy paper hand towels and toilet paper made from 100 per cent recycled paper, and there are many alternatives for recycled paper for a home office.
- Look for paper that contains a high percentage of Australian recycled content and comes from sustainably managed forests. The label should specify the proportion of recycled tree fibre content.
- Choose the lightest weight paper that suits your purpose - the heavier the paper you choose, the more tree fibre and energy required to make and transport it.
- Look for garden and landscape products (like soil, mulch or compost) that have been recycled from waste garden products such as prunings, leaves and lawn clippings. These suppliers are often located near tips or waste management centres.
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