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Reuse, protect, save

Reuse, protect, save

Updated 18 July 2012 2:27pm

Reusing things rather than throwing them away is a simple way to reduce rubbish, protect our region's environment - and save yourself money.

Find out what you can reuse at home and in your business; and ways you can reuse plastic bags.

Try these tips

  • Donate, swap or sell items like old toys, clothing, furniture, sports gear, books etc. There are plenty of second hand shops and support organisations eager for stock who may take things off your hands or even pay you for them. A garage sale is always fun and sometimes schools or creches need art resources or learning toys
  • Pass on old magazines to friends. Your doctor or dentist may take them for their waiting room
  • Take reusable items like household goods and demolition materials to Trash Palace (Spicer Landfill, Porirua) and Second Treasures (Southern Landfill, Wellington City) They specialise in collecting, process and re-selling items and help stop big volumes from going into the landfill
  • Use glass jars, tins and plastic containers for storage around the home or in your garage or workshop
  • Your local school or early childhood centre may be able to use things like paper printed on one side only, plastic bottles, yoghurt pottles, boxes, cotton reels even tins of paint. Give them a call and ask
  • The SPCA and pet shops often need more supplies of old newspapers
  • Use the aluminium foil trays from pies and cakes as drip catchers under pot plants
  • The black trays meat comes in make great paint trays
  • Enjoy gardening? Cartons, plastic containers, even old shoes and boots are very practical for planting seedlings. Plastic milk bottles with bait inside make great snail catchers that won't harm pets.

There are all sorts of ways you can reuse plastic bags. For example:

  • Freezer bags
  • Bin liners
  • Shopping bags - just keep them in the car and reuse them each time you shop
  • Carrybags for sports or beach gear or to keep wet things separate when you're travelling
  • In the garden for collecting and carrying grass cuttings or hedge trimmings to the compost
  • Extra protection when you're wrapping things (as an alternative to bubble wrap)
  • Got a dog? Use plastic bags to collect the doggy doo when you go walking
  • You could also find one of the supermarkets that recycles plastic bags and return some.

The best thing you can do if you're offered a plastic bag, is to say "no thanks". See the section on plastic bags in Shopping smarter.