Many materials past their original useful life can be repurposed, keeping them out of landfills. (repurposedMATERIALS photo)

Diving Into Repurposed Materials

The thing about repurposed materials being used in place of new products and machines is that they are much cheaper but no less effective.

Repurposing is a relatively new concept to most of the world. Many people have yet to embrace this ingenious idea, but that's exactly why you should incorporate this process into your work and business.

Repurposing is the process of taking one product and, without changing it drastically, turning it around to be used for a completely different purpose. High school bleachers, for example, can be turned into shelves in clothing or shoe stores, after they been polished and rid of gum. Or an old basketball court, the pieces can be used to create a new floor, but with an interesting pattern or design using the lines from the court they used to make up.

Retired fire hoses are also a product that can be reused in a unique way. They can be transformed into dock bumpers for boats, so that the boats don't ram into the piers and become damaged. And old conveyor belts, which are another rubber material, can be used by ranchers and farmers on the walls of their stalls to keep their animals safe from hurting themselves. They can also be used in landscaping as portable "roads" for machines. The rubber can be placed in front of the tires of the equipment, and the machines will then drive over them instead of the grass, keeping the lawn intact. Advertising vinyl, which had its first life on a billboard with Ronald McDonald's face on it, can be changed into a compost covering. Pool covers, a similar product, can be used as shade covers for plants in a nursery, or just for you and some company. Ski cable can become an artistic flair in a house or building by being turned into a hand railing.

Even unlikely products such as sugar cane can be repurposed. Sugar cane can be dissolved in water to create sugar water for bees. Chemical-like materials, such as high-grade mineral oil, can be used as a fly repellent rub for animals.

The thing about repurposed materials being used in place of new products and machines is that they are much cheaper but no less effective. As Benjamin Franklin, one of the fathers of our country, once said, "A penny saved is a penny earned." And by spending your money on repurposed materials instead of brand-new products for your business, you can save yourself that penny. But repurposing isn't just good for your wallet and your finances, it's also good for the planet, keeping tons of waste out of landfills and keeping Earth liveable for at least a little longer.

Repurposing is a process that involves a lot of ingenuity, but that's what makes it such a successful idea. In this century, the 21st century, new and unique ideas are bound to bring business in. So by applying repurposing to your work, your business can become even more successful.

About the Author

Aubrey Rhoadarmer is a freelance writer currently working for repurposedMATERIALS. She lives and works in Longmont, Colo. She one day hopes to move her writing career to New York and become a journalist.