Reused tin cans for planters

Reduce my waste

Repair and reuse

Show some love to the stuff you already own.

What can you do?

Not that long ago, repair was a way of life. Darning a hole in a sock or a tear in a shirt was the done thing; part of a mentality of ‘make do and mend’, of valuing one’s possessions and making sure that things lasted so they could be passed down to the next generation.

Person reusing materials to make face masks

Fast forward to the present day and the world, society and our perspectives have become very different. Cheap, mass-produced products and higher disposable incomes have transformed our attitudes and behaviours when it comes to consumption and our belongings. Nowadays if we lose a shirt button, if the kettle stops boiling or we drop our phone and smash the screen, more likely than not we will throw the broken item in the bin and simply buy a new one. Old or broken items will at best join a junk graveyard in an out-of-sight, out-of-mind drawer, and at worst end up incinerated or in landfill along with the other residues of our lives.

It has become increasingly obvious that our planet’s resources are being drained dry. Our current habits of consumption are unsustainable. Since the first observed mass coral bleaching event in 1983 to the wildfires which ravaged Australia in 2019, our earth’s distress signals have become harder and harder to ignore.

The power is in our hands! Instead of throwing away and replacing, repair your things and show them some love.

Sew your clothes

Did you know that in the UK, 38 million items of new clothing are bought every week and 11 million go to landfill? If any of your clothes are ripped or torn, or if you have a hole in a sock, often you only need a few stitches to fix them up. Check out Mimi g Style for loads of free tutorials, you can also follow her on Instagram.

If sewing really isn’t your thing, there are a bunch of London-based repairers who can fix your clothes right up. Lots of them can also do alterations and customisations for you as well! Check out:

If your clothes are beyond repair, you can re-use them as cleaning rags and then recycle them at textiles recycling banks across London. Check with your local council to find one near you, or

Fix up your furniture

95 million short clips have been uploaded by crafty TikTokers using the hashtags #ikeahack and #ikeahacks which you can use for some home DIY inspo. We love the following:

@jessiefinds
@middo4789
@thethriftguru
@sovehome
@love.fromerin

British Heart Foundation offer a free recycling collection for your furniture if upcycling isn’t your thing. They’ll fix it up and re-sell it or recycle it. Book a collection.

Mend your electricals

Fixing your electricals is a bit trickier than mending a hole in your clothes! Most people can do some super simple repairs from home, such as replacing a fuse, but you might not have the confidence to try out anything more complicated.

Don’t worry though, more businesses than you’d think offer a repair service if you’re in contract with them (such as a phone contract for example). And if your things are really done for, many will send them off for recycling instead.

If you’re feeling up to the challenge, The Spruce have a series of online tutorials covering all sorts of different items, which you could check out.

If you’re like us, and would much rather someone else do the fixing and avoid potential disasters, the following businesses all offer a repair service:

If your electricals are totally done for, you can recycle them at small electricals recycling banks across London. Check our postcode locator tool to find your nearest one or ask your local council.

Currys PC World also offer an electricals and white goods recycling service! They can take old items away when you buy new ones, or you can take your things to your closest store (no purchase necessary if you take things in yourself).

Check out more tips for reducing your waste

Have a look at our other pages for loads more ideas for reducing your waste.

Reduce my waste