Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland

Reuse

Reuse

The concept of reuse is well understood at a community level and the practice is widespread for domestic goods. However, to support the transition to a circular economy, the practice needs to be adopted more widely at a business and industry level.

Reuse is about enabling a material or product to continue being used for its original purpose even though it has become surplus to your needs – simply by changing the owner. Doing this retains the inherent value of the materials and requires no reprocessing of the product. This makes it a better option for the environment than recycling, which involves breaking the product down and remaking the same thing or producing something else.

By re-using materials and goods we are reducing the use of virgin materials and energy; and the air and water pollution associated with the extraction (e.g. mining, quarrying and logging), processing and manufacture of raw materials.

How this can benefit your business

  • cuts your disposal costs and generates revenues
  • reduces your impact on the environment
  • provides a practical demonstration of your green credentials
  • enhances your reputation.

What you must do

What you can do

  • prioritise reuse in your procurement policy – buy from an accredited reuse supplier
  • make your surplus items available for reuse, for example through online exchanges such as freecyle groups Northern Ireland or Freecycle groups Scotland
  • see our guide Reusing waste which provides a range of ideas about how to reuse within your own business e.g. furniture; IT equipment and carpet and how to donate materials for reuse by other organisations
  • if you sell second hand goods in Scotland, become a Revolve accredited business - Revolve is a reuse quality standard, which demonstrates your commitment to quality and improvement.

Further information

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Permits

NIEA - Apply online

SEPA - Application forms