Another person’s treasure – tips on reuse

By Kaia Johnson Kemper 

Guest Columnist


Many of us are familiar with the saying, “one person’s trash is another person’s treasure.” But sometimes the challenge is finding that other person in order to get rid of unwanted stuff.

Reuse, the second “R” of Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, can mean many things. It can be purchasing items that can be used over and over again, like cloth napkins instead of paper ones, or shopping at reuse retailers instead of buying new. It can also mean looking at an item before you throw it out and asking yourself three questions: Is the item reusable for its original purpose? Could it be used for something else? Could someone else use it? You can also look for ways to extend the life of items you already have by repairing them or renting items you only use occasionally.

Reuse strategies and ideas

Donate, resale, fix, maintain, borrow and share are all good reuse strategies. Try out a few of these reuse ideas:

• Check with your local library to see if they accept book donations or if they hold used book sales.

• Donate clothing, household goods and possibly furniture to charitable organizations like The Salvation Army and Goodwill.

• Check with women’s and homeless shelters to see if they accept used work clothes for clients going on job interviews.

• Have your favorite pair of shoes re-soled or have the heels fixed.

• Sew or patch your clothes or make something new from them.

• Rent tools from your local hardware store or borrow them from neighbors.

• Ask friends or try a second hand store for used sports equipment.

• Sell items online at sites like eBay and

• Hold a garage sale to get rid of your used goods and earn some money.

• Consign your goods at consignment shops and stores that sell your goods through online auction houses.

Reuse resources

Visit, click Residents, then Reuse for more opportunities, tips and resources.

Getting a book from the library is a great way to reuse. Get Reduce, Reuse and Recycle books from the Recycling Association of Minnesota’s library.

Happy treasure hunting from!


About The Solid Waste Management Coordinating Board launched its first education outreach campaign in 2003 to help citizens living in Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey and Washington understand the urgent need to make environmentally responsible purchasing and disposal decisions in their daily lives. The board is proud to sponsor its current campaign,