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15 Types of Reuse

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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 Reuse

An 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 Reuse

Closed-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.


Things that are popular with collectors such as toys. Collectables represent a lively economy of reuse such as ecommerce auction sites.

Creative Reuse

Repurposing things in a creative way as a hobby or craft.


Carefully deconstructing buildings as opposed to demolition to reuse materials such as wood, pipes and bricks.


A general term for reuse of an item that results in something of lesser value than the original.


Durability 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.


Greywater 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.


Deconstructing items such as cars or electronics and selling them for parts.


Breaking 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.


Refillable containers such as returnable bottles.


Cleaning, repairing and testing items for resale.


Manufacturing new items using some combination of new and used parts.


Repairing items as opposed to throwing them out. Things can be designed to be more easily repaired with features such as standard component parts.


Reuse of an item that results in something of greater value than the original.


This is the complete list of articles we have written about reuse.
Adaptive Reuse
Creative Consumer
Found Objects
Interchangeable Parts
Modular Design
Planned Obsolescence
Producer Responsibility
Repair Cafe
Right To Repair
Simple Living
Used Goods
More ...
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The difference between upcycling and downcycling.

Shipping Container Architecture

An overview of shipping container architecture.

Repair Cafe

An overview of repair cafes.

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A definition of creative consumer with examples.

Planned Obsolescence

The common types of planned obsolescence.

Adaptive Reuse

A definition of adaptive reuse with examples.


The definition of recommerce with examples.

Right To Repair

The definition of right to repair with examples.

Existential Risk

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The definition of win-lose with examples.

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