Reduce, Reuse and Repurpose – Bringing Back the 3 “R”’s

There’s nothing like a long, relaxing walk in a flower-filled park to make you appreciate the natural world around you. There is so much to be in awe of when it comes to the environment, and so much more we can do to help the Earth remain the beautiful, season-changing place we grew up with. As the summer season comes around, it’s time to put into perspective how well you’re incorporating the 3 “Rs” in your life, reducing your environmental footprint by making more environmentally conscious decisions when it comes to your consumption habits, reusing materials whenever possible, and repurposing them with a little creativity and a trip to a sustainable store like your local Goodwill.

Photo: @ptowngirls

Goodwill organizations help communities to extend the life of usable items in environmentally sound ways and prevent items from piling up in local landfills. In fact, did you know Goodwill recovers more than 4 billion pounds of clothing and textiles each year, by giving them a second life and recovering the value of people’s used goods? It sounds like an unimaginable amount of materials reverted from the landfill and into someone else’s closet or home – think of how many thrifted gems were saved just by the practice of donation versus dumping items in the garbage bin.

As you take a minute to reflect on how even the smallest daily actions you take could impact the environment around you, consider how you can better support your community and the Earth, by driving change, one small decision at a time.

Photo: @tandratbh

Here’s How You Can Keep Incorporating the “3 R’s” in Your Everyday Life:

1. Reduce: Minimalism is trendy – and a practice that actually doesn’t take much to embrace. The act of reduction, clearing out what no longer serves you in your closet or your home, frees up space for something that does. The sweater in the far corner of your closet that you bought years ago yet it still has the tag on it? It’s probably time to say goodbye. Same goes for the clothes at the bottom of the drawers that you never seem to get around to wearing. By reducing what you currently have, and making more conscious decisions about anything new or second-hand that you bring into your life, you are making an effort to better respect your space. By donating what no longer brings you joy to your local Goodwill, you’re directly helping your community at the same time.

2. Reuse: As you initiate the practice of reducing your clutter and new consumption, it might be time to determine creative ways to extend the life of your clothing and textiles. For those who know their way around a sewing machine or needle and thread, this step will get the creative juices flowing as you think about how you can create a whole new wardrobe based on the materials currently sitting in your closet untouched. Even the small act of repurposing the material of a beautiful, billowy skirt into a lovely dress or blouse can make a difference, as in repurposing you’ve avoided the fast fashion market which is a known environmental stressor.

3. Repurpose: If you’ve run out of ideas for reusing, or simply prefer the feeling of a “like new” second-hand closet, repurposing through sustainable shopping practices could be where you thrive. Goodwill accepts donations of clothing and other household items – including books, kitchenware and art. There are so many ways one item can be used, that if you haven’t thought of one, another member of the Goodwill family can pick it up at the store and feature it in their home in a totally unique way. Through sustainable shopping habits you can breathe new life into other items for a fraction of what they’d cost at retail, while diverting them from the landfill in the process. The more we can reduce, reuse, and repurpose, the more we will be able to help restore the beautiful place we call home.

Looking for the nearest Goodwill? Use our locator to find the nearest career center (for help finding a job), retail store, donation site, or outlet store (which sells items in bulk) operated by our network of 156 independent, local Goodwill organizations. When you shop at Goodwill, you’re not the only one who gets a great deal. Local Goodwill organizations use the sales from its stores to help change lives of the people served in your community.