Repair, Repurpose or Recycle: What’s better for the Planet?

Everything has it’s breaking point. No matter how well built something is, there will come a time that you need to make a choice: repair, repurpose or recycle. All the stuff you have at home – whether it’s furniture, electronic appliances, toys, clothing, shoes, accessories and other items – you’ll need to have an idea of what to do when the time comes so you can avoid getting stuck with useless clutter.  


Repairing old or broken stuff is probably the most rewarding option on an emotional level. They don’t make things like they used to, which makes prolonging the life of something you love using extra special. Take an old pair of sunglasses. We all know that fashion has a habit of going on a loop: what was hot in the 70’s and 80’s are the trendy choices today.

If you’ve got an old pair of fashion sunglasses from the top designer sunglasses brands of yesteryear, and it just needs a little attention, take it out of storage and give it a little spit and polish! Old designer sunglasses just need a little cleaning and polishing. If the lenses are a little scratched, there are ways you can remove scratches by using toothpaste, baking soda or just by sanding them.

Just do an online search on how to remove scratches on sunglasses and you’ll find a lot. For furniture and other wooden works of art, the choice is easy. If you’ve got a solid oak desk or table, it would be foolish not to repair it and restore it to it’s former glory. Old wood is beautiful and strong.


If the old wooden furniture you have has seen better days and if some of the parts are unusable due to dry rot or other problems, you can make another piece of furniture out of it if you got the skills. You can make a shelf, a set of side tables, a center console, a small desk or even a chair. Just make sure you inspect all the parts you salvaged for woodworm infestations or other structural issues.

Another awesome repurposing project involves old clothes. Be sure to sell or donate your clothes that are still very much usable and keep the ones that have holes, tears and other issues so you can repurpose them into something else. There are a lot of really cool projects online you can follow, such as turning your old shirts into a colorful quilt, as a headband and even a scarf.

Repurposing gives you an endless stream of things to do with your old stuff, with the only limit being your creativity. If you can dream of a purpose for an old item, there’s always a chance you can do it. The perfect example is two sets of eyeglasses with different prescriptions, both missing a lens. You can take each lens out, stick one on either side of a used paper towel tube and you’ll have a fixed scope that your kids will spend hours playing with.


Recycling is the easiest of the three. You just gather up everything you want recycled and send them away or leave them on the curb. Not really a creative way to handle your old stuff, but at least someone else can find a use for some of the parts after segregation. Old newspapers become paper again, glassware transforms into bottles, plastic is melted and reused for something else.

If everyone just practiced recycling, the planet wouldn’t have to deal with so much waste. If you’re one of those people who buys a new phone every year, think about the environmental impact it has on the planet and it’s inhabitants.

Parting Thoughts

Saving the planet is equal parts determination, collaboration and imagination. If every single person just practiced all three, the world would be a greener and healthier place to live in. There are a lot more ways to contribute to this concept, such as working your way towards minimalism, growing your own vegetables and never throwing anything that can be useful for other cool projects.


Repair, Repurpose or Recycle: What’s better for the Planet? — 1 Comment

  1. Thank you for an interesting article. I just watched an interesting documentary about this very subject which highlighted the company Patagonia’s efforts to repair things. If you get a chance take a look….the company had a traveling truck going around repairing things at events….Seemed pretty cool to me…

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