The 5 R's: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose, Recycle

Discover 5 Rs: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rethink, Refuse. Transform your lifestyle sustainably.

In recent months, a green revolution has been brewing, with more people embracing the circular economy. Our circular economy report found that 87% of Kiwi have been shopping second hand in the past six months. The rising cost of living seems to be steering folks towards a more mindful and eco-friendly lifestyle. The buzz suggests that pre-loved is in, and new stuff is, well, so last season! 

Recycling is usually the number one thought when it comes to helping the environment, however recycling should actually be the last step you do! There are actually five steps that you should consider on your journey to reduce waste and live more sustainably.

The 5 R’s as they are known consist of Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose and Recycle, and they are an important part of developing a circular economy.Let’s delve into what each of them mean and why the steps are important for making positive environmental changes.

Get crafty and upcycle some jeans.


In our fast-paced consumerist society, we're constantly bombarded with new things to buy. If you're used to a constant wardrobe refresh or the pull of shiny new gadgets, it might be tough to step back and recognise the environmental impact of purchasing new itemsBut fear not! Buying second-hand doesn't mean sacrificing style and it still allows you to get your buying fix. Start small – perhaps commit to \buying secondhand items for a month.


Consumer habits are slowly starting to change with the growing awareness of the effects on the environment. Take a look at your possessions and keep what sparks joy as per professional organiser Marie Kondo, and sell unwanted items on Trade Me for both decluttering and a little extra cash.


Say goodbye to single-use items! Invest in products that stand the test of time – a reusable glass bottle, mix-and-match wardrobe staples, or something as simple as a switch to rechargeable batteries or reusable make-up pads. These small changes can make a big difference.

Instead of throwing it away, why not update your current furniture with a new colour?


If you’ve had something for a while then it might not be looking at its best. Instead of throwing it away, why not look to upcycle or repurpose. Furniture can undergo a stunning transformation with a bit of creativity. Not the DIY type? No worries – list your item on Trade Me and let someone else take on the project.


If all else fails and you’ve exhausted all the other options, there's always recycling. Rather than tossing an item, recycling helps reduce the need for new raw materials, saving energy and reducing the impacts of pollution.  Find out what can be recycled by visiting the website of your local council. 


Sophie Graham
Sophie Graham
Meet Sophie Graham, a seasoned Digital Content Producer with over 7 years of experience in content production and marketing. Armed with a BA degree in TV and Radio, Sophie brings a unique blend of creativity and expertise to her work. Passionate about storytelling and leveraging digital platforms, she crafts engaging content that resonates with audiences. With a knack for staying ahead of trends and a commitment to quality, Sophie is dedicated to delivering impactful narratives that captivate and inspire.