Today we live in a global consumer society and people across the world purchase, use, and dispose of a huge variety of products which make our lives easier and more comfortable. However, this leads to massive damage to our environment. It is imperative for all of us to recycle, reuse or reduce waste to reduce pollution to the environment.

What is re-use? Re-use is defined as reusing things for the same or new purpose.

In the first articles of Zero Waste Series where we do our part to make the environment better together through our small ways, we are going to share with you 4 ways to reuse items found at home.


Item 1 – Electronics

electronic waste

Look at the number of electronics being thrown away!

How many of you readers here have old mobile phones or laptops or any electronic items stashed as back up but you never used it in the end? The pre-loved electronic items can be put to good use to others.

You can trade-in your electronic devices to organisation which will be willing to do so. For example, if you are thinking to get a new mobile phone, why not trade in your current phone with your telcommunication company and get a cash discount from it for your newly purchased phone?

Most of them are in good condition just that humans prefer new items. Why not repair and recondition faulty electronic appliances to extend their useful lives?

Repair Kopitiam will be one of a place you may consider. Repair Kopitiam is a community repair meet-up where people meet together at a designated space to repair simple items such as spoilt electronic appliances to broken furniture mentored by Repair Coaches who are volunteers. If you have prior repair experience or totally no experience but still want to play a part to reduce electronic waste, you can join the Repair Coach Training!


Item 2 – Clothing


Do you have days where you open your wardrobe and still sigh at the fact that you do not have enough clothes?

We never will be satisfied with our clothes. Worse, many adopt the ‘buy and throw away’ culture without realising that many of the items that are bought can be reused for a different purpose. For example, we throw away clothes after wearing it only once or twice just because we might outgrow it or the fashion just faded.

We all know that instead of throwing new clothes away, we can donate the usable clothes to charity organisations or pass it down to people or even sell in on Carousell.

How about those old cloths, rags, towels and bedding that are too worn out to be used? Well, we could donate to animal shelters to be used for bedding, drying the dogs and many other purposes.

cloth to useful product

Other than that, you may also consider donating your reusable linen to NTUC Health for their Linen for Life project! Each senior spends good hours every week on the linen as part of their Day Care activities. Linen such as bed-sheets, curtains, and staff uniforms where the seniors convert the linen into tote bags to stuffed owls. This project has helped to improve the seniors’ physical coordination and attention span.


Item 3 – Plastics

plastic bag reuse

Though plastic bag is really useful in our lives, we should not throw away plastic bags as it will take thousands of years – or even more – to break down in a landfill. Instead, we should reuse them first so as to not pile up our landfills with plastic waste. Even the smallest of the plastic bags can be rinsed and reused – ask your mother for she definitely did it, just like the above photo.

paper bag

Furthermore, we should also bring our own recycled bags or paper bag for shopping instead of using plastic bags to carry our items. If you have extra paper bags or recycled bags, you may share it to those who might need it too!

Another way will be turning waste materials into art pieces and useful items. Ms Didier Ng, a local designer makes products like lamps, furniture, bags, wallets and accessories from waste like plastic bottles, tyres, used banners and rice bags that are typically thrown away without thinking.

plastic turn into decor

Photo credit: Using plastic bottles for decoration 

Didier uses her creativity to showcase how items that are typically thrown away could be used for other purposes instead of ending up in the dumpster and piling up our landfills. So can you!

Here you go, 3 items which you can reuse at home! Wait no more and get your creativity juice running!

Here is an immediate action for you (Co-operatives and Coop Clubs’ students only) to show us how you reuse items at home!

go green challenge 2020

As we celebrate the International Day of Co-operatives this year on 4 July 2020, we would like to invite our fellow Co-operators to show that we care for the environment as we advocate Co-operatives for Climate Action.

Fellow Co-operators can send photos, videos and other innovative ways of going green to us and stand to win attractive prizes!

You may consider the 5 focus areas of the Sustainable Singapore Blueprint:

  1. Less Strain
  2. Less Me
  3. Less Waste
  4. Less Today
  5. Less Footprint

Submit your submission to before 12 June 2020 and include your co-op’s logo. Points will be given for group effort.


1st prize: $100 NTUC FairPrice vouchers

2nd prize: $60 NTUC FairPrice vouchers

3rd prize: $30 NTUC FairPrices vouchers

This article is brought to you by a student from Bukit Batok Secondary School who was having his internship at SNCF during the November holidays and Esther Wong, a staff from Singapore National Co-operative Federation, Campus and Youth.