Environmental guidance for your business in Northern Ireland & Scotland



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

In this Guideline

What is the circular economy?

Using fewer resources

Managing your waste for the Circular Economy

Designing your products, and your business model to support the Circular Economy


Repairing goods



Protect and regenerate natural systems

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