Repurpose: Give Your Trash a New Life | Zero Waste Series #4

Lea Plörer
Aspect of repurposing items as 4th step in the pyramid of the 5 Rs of Zero Waste

Our exploration of the Zero Waste principles leads us to the fourth R: Repurposing. While the first three R’s focus on minimizing waste in the first place, repurposing empowers us to give a second life to items that might otherwise be discarded. Often referred to as “upcycling,” repurposing involves creatively transforming old items into something entirely new and useful.


Reusing vs. Repurposing: What’s the difference?

While both repurposing and reusing aim to extend the life of an item and reduce waste, they differ in their approach.

Reusing involves utilizing an item for its original purpose, but potentially in a new context. For example, using a tomato sauce jar to store spices after finishing its original content.

Repurposing, however, involves transforming an item into something entirely new. This could involve taking an old sweater and turning it into a completely new piece of clothing, or using an old skateboard and turning it into a shelf.

Essentially, reusing gives an item a second life in its original form, while repurposing breathes new life into it as something completely different.


Our favorite upcycling ideas

When it comes to upcycling, the possibilities are endless and there is no approach too creative to be made a reality. Some of our favorite ideas include items most of us already have at home, and aren’t too hard to do yourself.


Many things in our household can easily be repurposed and made into shelves. With a little creativity items such as skateboards, old guitars, wineboxes, snowboards, … can be made into shelving space, with only a few tweaks.

upcycling idea #3: guitar corps as shelf upcycling idea #4: skateboards turned into shelf


upcycling idea #2: rake turned into glas holder

Glas holder

Some items don’t even need a lot of remodeling in order to be repurposed, such as this glas holder made out of an old rake. Simply remove the handle and mount it onto the wall – done.


Creative nightstandupcycling idea #1: bedstand from clothe hangers

For the creative minds amongst you, this idea might be right up your alley. Turning some old clothe hangers into a creative nightstand. With only a few screws and some fresh paint and planks of wood you have a unique interior piece.


Remember, there are no right or wrong ways to repurpose. Embrace the process, experiment, and have fun! These are just a few examples to get your creative juices flowing. With a little ingenuity, you can repurpose almost anything! Share your upcycled creations with friends and family, and inspire them to join you in the journey towards a more sustainable future. Together, we can make a difference, one repurposed item at a time.

And for everything new you bring into your life, Faircado is your partner in crime. We want to make sustainable shopping as accessible as possible. That’s why we came up with a browser extension that looks for second-hand alternatives while you’re browsing online. That way, you can instantly discover pre-loved alternatives without the hassle. It’s a seamless way to make more conscious choices, save money, and reduce your environmental impact.

Want to check out our other articles around the 5 R’s of zero waste? Learn more about how to Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.