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Reduce & Reuse

Tips and advice on reducing waste and reusing certain items around the house.

When people think of being Waste Aware, recycling springs to mind. Better still, though, is reducing our waste (often by reusing things) as much as possible. Here are some tips to help reducing your waster and reusing certain items.


There's no absolute guide to reducing waste, but here are some nifty ideas. Be creative and apply the concept to your life.

  • Avoid heavily packaged goods
  • Buy loose fruit and vegetables
  • Buy products in big containers (like washing powder)
  • Bring your own bags shopping and skip the government levy
  • Use refillable or rechargeable products: pens, batteries, cameras
  • Try growing your own vegetables
  • Stop junk mail
  • Repair broken goods as much as possible
  • Share newspapers, magazines and books with friends and relatives
  • Use longer-lasting energy-saving CFL light bulbs
  • Use reusable nappies rather than disposables
  • Be creative!


Again, what you'll reuse will often depend on your own individual factors. Here are a few ideas to get your creative juices flowing.

Reuse clothes: charity shops

If you have clothes and other items that you no longer need, donating to a charity shop is a great way to have them reused. The Murrough Environmental Centre houses an Oxfam Ireland shop and the Bray Recycling Centre has a shop run by the Five Loaves Charity. There are many other charity shops across the county as well. For a good list, see the The Irish Charity Shops Association or look in your Golden Pages under the following headings: Swap Shops, Clothing: Used, and Charities.

Reuse at the pub!

Drink draught beers (the casks and kegs are refilled and can last for 30 years).

Reuse books: exchange programmes

Many children reuse their siblings' schoolbooks, but why not reuse books from other families who are finished with them? All of our environmental and recycling centres also have book exchange facilities and secondhand schoolbook shops in the summer. Also, the School Book Exchange offer excellent quality reuse school and college books at savings of about 66%.

Reuse in the home

  • Use old jars and tubs for storage
  • Use washable dishcloths instead of throwaway disposable wipes
  • Use scrap paper for writing notes
  • Use a lunch box instead of foil or cling film
  • Mend clothes and get shoes reheeled so they last longer

One of the best ways to reuse items is by using one of the online secondhand goods swap sites.

Dublin’s online free trade service allows you to pass on or pick up unwanted goods free of charge. Just go to Dublin Waste. There are two other similar sites worth checking: Free Cycle and Jumble Town.

After reducing and reusing whatever we can, recycling is the next best option.