Twice is Nice
Reducing your trash begins with what you buy—and don’t buy. Borrow items you rarely use or buy them gently used. Donate or swap used items you no longer need. Buy new products that are made to last and learn to fix and restore them when they break. Seek creative and fun ways to have more for less, while reducing natural resource use, industrial pollution from manufacturing, and our mountain of trash.
“Today’s products are tomorrow’s resources at yesterday’s prices.”
— Walter Stahel, Father of the Circular Economy
Before buying, consider if you can borrow the item, especially for things you’ll use just once or infrequently and don’t have room to store. Be part of the growing share economy for all kinds of things that you need occasionally, but don’t want to own.
Home improvement stores like Home Depot and Lowes offer tool and trailer rentals to help you with those occasional jobs requiring a special piece of equipment. From lawn and garden, to cleaning and painting, to basic power tools, if you can buy it, you can probably rent it.
Tools, fishing poles, binoculars, cake pans, and wi-fi hotspots—check out these items free from the Manatee County Library of Things!
Owning your own bike, car, boat, or RV can be expensive, especially when it spends most of the time parked.
Whether you’re into hardcover or digital, Sarasota County Library and Manatee County Library have a large catalogue of materials, including magazines, movies, and music, all free! Their convenient mobile apps for digital checkout mean you don’t even need to step inside the library.
Look for these free downloads in your device’s app store (library card and PIN required to access materials).
You can leave a book or take a book at Free Little Libraries, pint-sized book boxes popping up in neighborhoods. Check the map or build one in your neighborhood.
Tap friends, neighbors, consignment shops, and garage sales. Buy, sell, and trade with local sellers online using Facebook Groups and Craig’s List. Shop and consign online with the growing number of secondhand e-commerce sites. When you’re done, pass on or resell to give items more life before the landfill. Check out these sources of quality used items, sometimes for free, locally and online.
Say no to cheap, breakable stuff. When you buy new, buy better and more durable things, not disposable. Well-made clothes, housewares, and electronics stay out of the landfill longer, and are easier to fix and restore. Make the most out of the stuff you already own. Learning how to maintain and repair your things also generates satisfaction and self-reliance.
Look for lifetime warranties and products that come with repair manuals. Avoid products designed with planned obsolescence—an artificially limited useful life or a purposely frail design—forcing you to trash and rebuy.
Be your own handyman, seamstress, cobbler, electronics engineer, jeweler, and more.
If you can’t or don’t want to fix your own things, there is someone local who can. Repair and reuse supports local jobs while reclaiming valuable natural resources. Supporting our skilled seamstresses, cobblers, jewelers, and electronics engineers helps keep local repair shops in business so their skills are not lost to the community. A quick search on yelp.com can reveal the fix-it businesses in your area.
Check out the Adult and Community Enrichment (ACE) course catalogue for repair and upcycling classes, like bike repair, upholstery, picture framing, sewing, and small engine repair.
Join a local Facebook Group to give and receive free stuff – search for keywords “Buy Nothing,” “Swap Shop,” “Totally Free Stuff,” “Freecycle.”
Find out what’s happening and join in with our comprehensive community events listing.
Be the first to submit a question related to reuse, repurpose, restore!
Submit your waste-related question to local experts. If selected, they will answer and feature your question on our FAQ. Not all questions will be answered.