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Ways to re-use & recycle

Are you looking for ways to re-use and recycle more at home? 

How to re-use more

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

What is re-use

It’s easy to confuse re-use and recycling but they are not the same.  Re-use is better for the environment as products and materials are kept in use longer. This minimises waste, creates jobs, has 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 re-use

Re-use 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.
  • Reduce waste to landfill – every year approximately 5,000 tonnes of sofas & 9,700 tonnes of washing machines are thrown away.

Download the infographic

Get started

The first thing to do is to decide if something is re-useable, if you’re not sure read this blog on how to judge if you should pass an item on.


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 & Facebook marketplace
  • Apps sell straight from your mobile with Shpock, Vinted & 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, you can have them collected by the Re-use Line in Scotland.

Re-use isn’t just about the items your getting rid of remember you can buy second hand as well.  Shop with confidence at Revolve Certified stores. This is a scheme run by us that is a quality standard for shops that sell second hand good 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 - on average, 59% of what goes in the non-recyclable ‘landfill’ bin could have been recycled using existing household recycling services provided by local councils.

If you want to find out more about what we throwaway 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.

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