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  • Writer's pictureLalita Dileep

Re Purpose: Rather Than Recycle

Re-framing our circumstances with fresh perspectives



We have been constrained in ways we had not imagined before. Vanished vacations, restricted quarantine and customary summer delight that we were familiar with all pilfered from us. We are at a tipping point.


This limited access has caused us to swivel inwards, to take a fresh look at our existing surroundings. Warranting a second, maybe a third look at our possessions and appreciated them for the memories they evoke, their sentimental value and finding fresh meaning in repurposing them.


Recycling has been somewhat over-hyped through the years. As an initiative, it’s praiseworthy and needs to be practised but we must also be aware that to break down our waste and recreate something else (or the same thing) still requires a lot of energy. What’s more, if we simply recycle everything, we are using new resources each time we buy that item again.

Disposable is not a "dirty" word but it should give us pause since it is hardly the most environmentally friendly option.

Reusing on the other hand, are both a step back and the way forward. We are at a juncture in our lives when we can and should re-examine every tenet. So why not the stuff we are surrounded by, we live with, wear and use every single day?


Repurposing can be creative, fun, challenging, soul-stirring, fulfilling, environmentally friendly, purposeful, all the while teaching us to value what we own and what we pass on to future generations, reducing waste - you get it - the list is endless.


Quality over Quantity


Where do we start? Anywhere and everywhere. I started by looking at my personal spaces. Rearranging furniture to create a more inviting feel, swapping out side tables, small knick-knacks, plants and wall hangings to give a fresh look to our rooms. With some simple repurposing, I created a zen atmosphere which in turn led to lightness in my step and an unequivocal sense of accomplishment.


My husband has several thousand photographs taken over the years in the course of our world travels, family events and vacations. We began streaming these on our television screens - reliving the happy memories they evoke as the images flicker past in colorful succession. These opened the floodgates to the outside world even as we remained homebound - a virtual tour that revitalized our minds and uplifted our mood.


Friendly Fun Activities at Home


During the initial days of the Coronavirus lockdown, I was seeking ways to keep myself occupied. So I went through my closets and cupboards to pare down my stuff, but I was equally determined to repurpose as well as donate. I discovered things I had not worn for years on end and made a conscious decision to use them with renewed purpose, often embellishing them with a belt or a broach. My son Adit discovered the joyful craft of tie and dye and repurposed many college and gym T-shirts while having hours of endless fun creating a "new product".


With time on my hands, I discovered the delights of #DIY solutions for beauty masks for my face and pedicures. Google became my friend as I trolled the internet looking for advice and then scourged my pantry for organic solutions. Homemade #masks became a lively indulgence and swapping notes with friends to combat that zoom fatigue.

Repurposing can be a compelling way to give a new spin to used items as well as be conscious of the environment. With a little thought, the most unlikely of items can be given a new lease of life. Items that I considered to be "junk" transformed into treasures. Working with my hands and looking at things with a fresh set of eyes has made me feel more calm and appreciative of what I can do with what I have.


Do you agree we can be more responsible to ourselves and our planet? Let's take a pledge to consciously adopt this Life Hack to repurpose, to re-pledge to a more meaningful existence as we face a pivotal moment in our existence.


We are stronger together


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