Login/Register ZWS
Main content

Ways to reuse and recycle

Are you looking for ways to reuse and recycle more at home? 

How to reuse more

Lots of the things we throw away haven’t always reached the end of their useful life. Something that you don’t want anymore can still be used by someone else.

What is reuse

It’s easy to confuse reuse and recycling but they are not the same.  Reuse is better for the environment as products and materials are kept in use longer. This minimises waste, creates jobs, has a positive social impact and reduces consumption and associated carbon impacts.

Once a product or material is no longer fit for purpose it should be recycled.

Why reuse

Reuse is good for the planet and the pocket. You can:

  • Save money – buying second-hand is often cheaper than buying new and you can find some unique one-off items.
  • Help your local community – it can help those in need buy high-quality items cheaper and the profits often go to a good cause.
  • Save energy - A lot of energy goes into the production of new items so by re-using unwanted items first we can help reduce the need to produce new ones.

Get started

The first thing to do is to decide if something is reuseable, if you’re not sure head to How to Waste Less to find out more about passing on items to reuse organisations.


There are lots of ways to sell your unwanted items, here are a few ideas:

  • Online with a range of websites including eBay, Gumtree, Pre-loved and Facebook marketplace.
  • Apps sell straight from your mobile with Shpock, Vinted and Versatile Collective.
  • Go to a local car boot sale or nearly new market.


Donating to charities is a great way to pass on your unwanted items and by doing so you're helping them raise valuable funds for a cause you care about.

If you have large items at home that you no longer need and are still in good condition, use our Reuse Tool to see if there is an organisation in your area that may be able to pick it up.

Reuse isn’t just about passing on items you no longer need or want, remember you can buy second-hand as well. Shop with confidence at Revolve certified stores. Revolve is the quality standard for shops that sell second-hand goods in Scotland.

How to recycle

Getting started with recycling is easy, you just need to know what you can recycle and where.

Why recycle

  • Conserves resources – used materials are converted into new materials this reduces the need to consume new raw materials
  • Saves energy – it takes a lot less energy to create a product from recycled material than producing new products from raw materials
  • Reduces the amount of waste to landfill.

If you want to find out more about what we throw away at kerbside in Scotland read our Household Waste Composition report.

Ways to recycle

We’ve got four simple things you can do, to make recycling easier:

  • Find out what you can recycle in your area.
  • Get dates in your diary for when your recycling will be collected.
  • Set up a system at home to sort out your recycling.
  • Get everyone in the house involved.

When you are shopping check packaging symbols to see if you can recycle something. If you can’t vote with your feet and change to a product that comes in packaging that can be recycled.

For more ideas on reuse and recycling at home, check out How to Waste Less.

Close Search

Search form