15 Types of Reuse
John Spacey, updated on March 21, 2021
Reuse is the practice of using items multiple times to prevent waste. It is typically done to reduce costs and environmental impact. The following are common types of reuse.
Adaptive ReuseAn urban design term for repurposing old buildings and infrastructure as opposed to building new ones. For example, a warehouse may be converted to a residential building or a power plant may become an art museum.
Closed Loop ReuseClosed-loop reuse is a system whereby items are reused by a process in a systematic and repeatable fashion. For example, a supply chain may package things in reusable containers that are returned from point of consumption to point of production.
CollectablesThings that are popular with collectors such as toys. Collectables represent a lively economy of reuse such as ecommerce auction sites.
Creative ReuseRepurposing things in a creative way as a hobby or craft.
DeconstructionCarefully deconstructing buildings as opposed to demolition to reuse materials such as wood, pipes and bricks.
DowncyclingA general term for reuse of an item that results in something of lesser value than the original.
DurabilityDurability allows for primary reuse of items. For example, a bicycle build to last five years typically achieves more reuse than a poor quality model that falls apart within weeks.
GreywaterGreywater is any wastewater generated by buildings with the exception of wastewater from toilets. Buildings may be designed to treat and reuse greywater for purposes such as irrigation of a garden.
PartsDeconstructing items such as cars or electronics and selling them for parts.
RecyclingBreaking things down to their basic materials to create completely new items. Tends to be energy intensive and wasteful as compared with reuse. Recycling tends to scale well.
RefillingRefillable containers such as returnable bottles.
RefurbishmentCleaning, repairing and testing items for resale.
RemanufacturingManufacturing new items using some combination of new and used parts.
RepairRepairing items as opposed to throwing them out. Things can be designed to be more easily repaired with features such as standard component parts.
UpcyclingReuse of an item that results in something of greater value than the original.
ReuseThis is the complete list of articles we have written about reuse.
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A list of reuse techniques.
The difference between upcycling and downcycling.
An overview of shipping container architecture.
An overview of repair cafes.
A definition of creative consumer with examples.
The common types of planned obsolescence.
A definition of adaptive reuse with examples.The definition of recommerce with examples.
The definition of right to repair with examples.An overview of existential risk. An overview of the precautionary principle.
A definition of comparative risk with examples.The common types of energy efficiency.
The definition of external stakeholder with examples.
Common examples of an economic bad.
The definition of win-lose with examples.
An overview of climate engineering.
Why carbon soil is important.
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