With a special interview from Pottery For The Planet.
We have all heard the slogan.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.
These three words are synonymous with what we can do to help reduce our impact on the environment. It’s stamped on products, posters- everywhere!
But did you know that those words are in that order for a reason? Because reducing and reusing have a more substantial impact on our environment than recycling alone.
We want to chat about REUSE. What it means, why it’s important and what factors need to be considered when creating a product that is built for reuse. We even brought in an expert.
Our friends at Pottery For The Planet share their story on how their products were built with reuse in mind.
What does ‘REUSE’ mean?
We probably don’t have to explain this one too much. But the concept behind ‘reuse’ is all about repurposing an existing material or item. Unlike recycling where an item goes through a process to be turned into something else, reusing is about keeping something in its original form- therefore reducing the amount of resources connected to the product. Things like using an item more than once (or forever), repurposing it into something else or passing it on to someone else are all examples of reusing.
By doing this, we add more value to that item. We can save money by not buying replacements or we can even sell them when we are done. Sounds pretty good right?
Why is it so important?
Long term, reusing has pretty significant environmental benefits from the beginning and end of a products’ life. With less of a reliance on virgin materials, we are using fewer natural resources (that we don’t have a lot of by the way). And then, we also reduce what ends up in landfill too.
Reusing also changes our thinking around products and consumerism in society. We’ve got to admit, ‘a disposable society’ is something that we have become familiar with. Whether that’s through coffee cups, fast fashion or even electronics- it is very easy for people to throw away something without thinking of how it can be repurposed or repaired.
The more we reuse, the more we change our thinking around items being created to last. And consider the lifetime investment in a product rather than the short-term cost. We asked PFTP Marketing and E-Com Manager, Andre why they believe reuse is so important.
“For us, Pottery For The Planet exists to contribute to the Earth’s long and healthy life, by eradicating single-use culture and plastic waste across the globe. We love the quote from Renton Bishopric:
‘Single-use’ mentality is something that society has to move away from as quickly as possible if we hope to create a sustainable future for generations to come’ "
What Makes a Product Reusable?
Single use plastics became the easy and convenient option for a few decades, because they were cheap to make and easy to dispose of. Good news for businesses, right? Not so great news for the planet.
Choosing an alternative material can be tricky though. It’s important that it
- is durable enough to last forever
- has a limited impact on the environment when produced and when reused/recycled.
When we created Cove, we stayed well away from using plastic bottles as our ‘reuse’ option. Yes, you can reuse plastic bottles multiple times but, they don’t really tick the reuse boxes. These plastic materials have a shorter lifespan and will eventually end of up landfill.
Firstly, aluminium is a much more durable material so we could be confident that your Cove bottles will last forever. And we know this, because 75% of the world’s aluminium is still in use today. Whether in its original form or as a recycled item. That’s pretty awesome!
Another great material for reusable products is clay. The key ingredient in Pottery For The Planet’s travel cups and bowls. Andre gave us a little bit of insight into their material choice:
“Clay is one of the few natural resources which is being created faster than humans are using it, making it one of the most sustainable materials on the planet. If Earth as a collective can continue to search for and incorporate these types of materials into our business practices, we can establish a sustainable economy and world which will be here for generations to come. Handmade ceramic product are truly from the Earth, for the Earth.”
What Can We All Do To Help Reuse More?
Invest in key ‘reusable’ products.
Things like coffee cups, shopping bags, cleaning products. Although these may be more of a cost initially, long term, these items are a better investment for you and for the environment.
Try To Repair Items
Maybe a hole in your jeans or your broke your favourite mug. Rather than just throwing these out, try and repair them or repurpose them into something else. There are plenty of videos on YouTube to help learn a new skill!
Sell or Donate Unwanted Items
Facebook marketplace, Gumtree or your local charity shop. There are lots of market places out there that are looking give items a new life! Put in the effort to list unwanted items and you might even make a couple of bucks.
To help you start your reuse journey, we have teamed up with Pottery For The Planet and are offering a free travel cup with every Starter Kit. We have limited stock of these items so head over to our product page for all the details.