Challenge 4 - Think Twice Before You Buy

Mending-Robert-Donovan-cropped-400kb.jpgThink Twice Before You Buy!

Did you know that you can help the environment and reduce waste by simply not buying something? By repairing, sharing, swapping or re-using things, you can avoid wasteful packaging and avoid sending more things to landfill - and you’ll probably save money.

We can buy less, share things, or buy second-hand things to reduce the waste impact of what we own.

This includes things like borrowing a book from the library, or sharing tools with a neighbour instead of buying your own. You can also buy second hand clothing or donate your old furniture to a charitable store.


  • Instead of buying something new, reconsider it – borrow it from a friend, or rent it instead. Or, if you really need your own, buy it second hand. Share a photo and tell us about it!
  • Instead of throwing out something you don’t use anymore, donate or sell it to someone who could use it. Tell us about it! The City of Toronto website lists local non-profit groups that accept donations of used goods.


Take the extra step:
Repair it! Instead of tossing something out, get it repaired, or learn to maintain it yourself so it lasts longer. Mend your clothes, or get them altered by a tailor. Tell us about your repair adventure and snap a photo!

Did you take this challenge?

  • Barbara Hickling
    Took Challenge 2014-05-24 17:32:56 -0400
    The Curb: the best sharing site in Toronto. Don’t need it anymore but it’s still usable, we wait for GOOD weather and put it on the sidewalk (and bring it in if it starts to rain or overnight so it stays in usable condition). Likewise, we’ve scooped tons of great items off of the curb and reused them or taken parts from broken curb items to repair our own stuff.
  • Cirlene Pessoa
    Took Challenge 2014-05-23 18:12:58 -0400
  • Shawn Vanderheyden
    Took Challenge 2014-05-23 06:16:47 -0400
    having trouble finding ways to repair my cycle worn jeans (worn out in the ‘seat’) … but am still holding the ‘stack’ and looking for the solution

    swaps and the ‘sharing economy’ (i.e. toronto tool/kitchen library) are key – so glad to see the options growing.
  • Yvonne Ho
    Took Challenge 2014-05-22 15:09:31 -0400
    Instead of throwing out my old clothing and bags, I donated them to Goodwill.
  • Farah Motani
    Took Challenge 2014-05-18 20:52:07 -0400
    Who needs to go shopping when you have great friends that will lend you their cute clothes? The newest additions to my closet are all items I got from my friends or clothing swaps! Give it a try; you’ll be surprised at the great new outfits you’ll find!
  • Laura Hallman
    Took Challenge 2014-05-16 20:12:31 -0400
    Yes, I was going on a trip and rather than buying a new travel guide, I borrowed one from the library.
  • Andrew J Holownych
    Took Challenge 2014-05-16 15:38:43 -0400
    absolutely! i’m a DIY creative type, who has a house filled with “treasure” that can be reused. any project/gift/repair always starts with a “…. what do i have at home that i can use…”
  • Mieke Foster
    Took Challenge 2014-05-16 12:02:26 -0400
    I’ve been following the Rs for many years and will often retrieve items others have designated for disposal. I rarely buy new.
  • Patricia McPhail
    Took Challenge 2014-05-15 07:36:30 -0400
    We have been doing all that for many years !
  • Heather Marshall
    Took Challenge 2014-05-14 18:15:37 -0400
    Rather than toss away two pairs of jeans, I brought them to a local shop for mending. Not only did I save money and support a local business, I did right by the environment AND I get to keep on wearing my favourite denim! Just picked them up from Joe’s Cleaners on Harbord St. today!
  • Emily Green
    Took Challenge via 2014-05-14 12:01:10 -0400
    I was going to buy a new soap dispenser but decided to try to find an old one at my parents’ house instead, which I did! It’s as good as new :) I admit that I am (well used to be!) a shopper. But with help from the Waste Free Challenge I am now challenging myself to only buy second hand or just not buy at all. If I need to get my shopping fix, I just go to Value Village, which has become my new fave store. I also always donate any old items I don’t need to Value Village or Salvation Army, or H&M accepts clothing in any condition so the materials can still be used for other purposes, even if it’s ripped or stained! Other than gifts for friends/family, I think the only new item I’ve bought in the past month is a compact reusable bag that fits in my purse and has come in very handy for reducing waste! By not buying new things, not only will I have less stuff (I already have a lot of stuff!), but I will also save money and most importantly reduce my impact on the planet.
  • Katherine A Skinner
    Took Challenge 2014-05-13 12:46:53 -0400
    I did this! First I tried to see if I could recycle some sofa cushions or their contents (purchased in 1982 – so they’d gone their distance!) but couldn’t s I took unpicked two to re-stuff my dog’s bed and gave two of them away to friends with dogs who need a cushion for floor sleeping. It took some extra time, but definitely worth it in satisfaction.
  • Marilyn McKim
    Took Challenge 2014-05-12 21:21:17 -0400
    I refused to discard our dehumidifier and got it repaired. It’s working just fine! I darn my husband’s socks at least once. We sold our 10-year-old car to a mechanic. He fixed it up and it’s giving him much satisfaction. I bought spinach the other day. Would have been convenient to buy it in a clear container. Turned around and bought it loose to wash and store in a reusable bag. We make our own wine at Village Wine, so the wine bottles are constantly being re-used. Sorry, I’m not great at taking and sharing photos.
  • Nadia Heyd
    Took Challenge via 2014-05-09 21:29:05 -0400
    A great place to donate furniture you no longer want: Furniture Bank, a registered charity and social enterprise collecting gently used furniture and distributing it, free of charge, to newcomers to Canada, women and children coming out of abusive situations and the formerly homeless. They will even come and pick up that heavy sofa bed in your basement. You get rid of stuff you don’t want, you do pay for the pick-up, but you may be eligible for a tax receipt for the value of the donated items. And, someone facing barriers to employment gets employment experience in the process. All good! furniturebank.org
  • Ayaz Zafar
    Took Challenge 2014-05-08 22:19:49 -0400
    In first few days the challenge is hard but after doing this challenge it will be easy..i tried this challenge it was difficult for me for first month. Now i live with simple simplicities
  • Kady Cowan
    Took Challenge 2014-05-08 14:45:00 -0400
  • Mary Goldman
    Took Challenge 2014-05-08 08:56:08 -0400
    I am already practicing this fairly often. I just donated two large garbage bags of household goods and clothing to a charity that does pick-ups. Often, I will set items I no longer want out on my curb and they are usually picked up by someone for their own use.
  • Terrie Tucker
    Took Challenge 2014-05-08 08:50:15 -0400
    torn zipper on a beautiful leather Roots backpack. It’s at the repair shop right now. Too nice to throw away!
  • Judy Newman
    Took Challenge 2014-05-08 08:08:44 -0400
    Small appliance repair is a challenge. Are there repair shops for microwaves and other small appliances without returning them to the manufacturer?
  • Paul Roppolo
    Took Challenge 2014-05-07 23:36:02 -0400
  • John Ellis
    Took Challenge 2014-05-07 20:01:04 -0400
    As someone with limited mobility, it isn’t always convenient to go to the library, and I love books (including owning books). I do try to extend the use of clothes – I recently shortened the legs on pants that had become frayed (and am now thinking about having another similar pair made into shorts). Thanks for the great Re-Use It lists!
  • Michael Greason
    Took Challenge 2014-05-07 19:43:42 -0400
  • Jody Yu
    Took Challenge 2014-05-07 12:02:04 -0400
    I reuse glass jars as containers for flour, baking soda and cornstarch, which I buy in bulk. I reuse pulp bottles of laundry detergent and soap as table top dispensers, which I refill with massive jars. I reused a broken clay cooking pot as a container for my worm castings. I donate all my unwanted clothing that is still in good condition.
  • Chris Flanagan
    Took Challenge 2014-05-06 23:44:26 -0400
    Instead of buying a new one, I had my stereo which wasn’t working properly repaired.
  • Antoinette Battaglia
    Took Challenge 2014-05-05 14:45:11 -0400
    I just repaired a pair of boots! I try to donate my clothing as much as possible – but its great to remember that brand new isn’t always necessary.
  • Dusha Sritharan
    Took Challenge 2014-05-05 13:41:50 -0400
    My family recently had a blender that stopped working. Rather than throwing it out and purchasing a new one, I had a family friend fix it for me. It’s great because now I’ve saved money, and I’m able to cut back on my waste.