Skip to content
Glasgow City Council

REUSE - top tips to circular living

Make Glasgow Greener - Think reusable

Circular economy - what is it?

In today's throwaway society goods are often produced for single use consumption - to be used and then discarded. This approach is known as a linear economy where the flow has a clear beginning and an end - 'take, make, waste.'

A circular economy works very differently.

The circular economy values resources and aims to change the way we think and consume items.

It focuses on increasing the life cycle of the product/service - helping us to make sure that nothing of value is thrown away. Items are produced so that they can be reused and during the manufacturing process the use and waste of resources is reduced - such as raw materials, water and energy. Material waste is redirected back into the process chain where possible and away from landfill - creating a circular flow.

A circular economy supports localised production and encourages the motto of previous generations to 'mend and repair' to extend the life of an item. Together these actions can work towards creating a sustainable world.

Our Circular Economy Route Map - is our framework for creating a sustainable economic future in our city, focusing on how to reuse, recycle and repair. To increase how we make things last - change behaviours and processes. Glasgow has committed to being a circular city by 2045. Have a look at our circular route map - it includes some inspirational case studies.

How can I get into circular living?

Reduce, reuse, recycle 1

So how can you start to change your behaviour and put 'reuse, recycle and repair' into practice in your own lives to help the environment?

Every little action we can take is part of the solution to helping reduce climate change.

By learning and following the basic principles of circular living - whether it is being more intentional with our purchases, to seeing if you can repair an item before you replace it - we all have a role to play.

So why not see if you can start to change your behaviour and think:

  • Reuse - could I join my local upcycle community group to swap and gift items that still have life in them - that others could reuse to help reduce materials going to landfill?

  • Repair - could I fix an object instead of simply disposing of it? Could I disassemble it, recycle or upcycle some of the parts and get pleasure and satisfaction from transforming it into something totally new?

  • Recycle - could I buy a used, but not abused, item of clothing or furniture, to help me save money and reduce waste, as always buying new is expensive and quickly depletes stretched resources?

Try a top tip today on how to reuse items 

Reduce, reuse, recycle 2

Single-use products, particularly plastic ones, tend to end up in landfill and the ocean, causing harm to wildlife and the environment. You can help to prevent this by choosing to use reusable and eco-friendly alternatives instead.

Here we give you some top tips to get started on how to use reusable items:

  • Use a reusable water bottle or a reusable coffee cup - keep it to hand and add it to your check list when you leave the house, bag, phone, keys and bottle/cup! In the Greater Glasgow area it is estimated that a staggering 95 million single-use cups are bought each year that have the potential to end in in landfill! As part of the Glasgow Cup Movement you can find out more about where you can recycle these too.
  • Replace wet wipes and toilet wipes with a water or a toilet spray as the vast majority of wet wipes contain microplastic fibres which do not biodegrade in the environment. Not only do they cause trouble in our waste water systems by creating blockages when flushed - they can find their way into oceans and cause long term problems for sea creatures and marine life.
  • Buy a reusable straw - in the UK, an estimated 8.5 million straws get thrown away every year, creating a huge amount of plastic waste. Lots of companies have begun banning plastic straws as part of their efforts to use less plastic. So, if you use plastic straws at home, follow in their footsteps by purchasing a pack of reusable straws instead - you can get them in metal, glass, silicone and bamboo.
  • Reusable grocery bags - buy a 'bag for life' to help eliminate the need for single-use plastic bags. They must be used at least four times to be better for the environment than single-use plastic ones - keep it handy and try and use yours for every shop.

  • Rechargeable batteries - batteries contain a number of chemicals which can cause water and soil pollution when they end up in landfill. Rechargeable batteries are a fantastic alternative - they are far better for the environment and can save you storage, space and money.

  • Use a wax wrap for your leftovers - lots of us use single-use products, such as cling film and plastic bags when wrapping up leftovers. These products create unnecessary waste. A great environmentally friendly way is a reusable beeswax wrap. If you feel creative they are really simple to make - have a go!

  • Change your toothbrush for a bamboo one - although plastic toothbrushes aren't single use, it's estimated that 3.6 billion of them are used across the world every year, with 80% of them ending up in the ocean. These toothbrushes add to the already huge amount of plastic polluting the ocean, causing undue harm to marine life. Try using a bamboo toothbrush instead. Unlike plastic, bamboo is biodegradable, so you can use one knowing it won't sit in landfill or the ocean for thousands of years.

Glasgow case-study - Revolve (Zero Waste Scotland)

Revolve Logo

From clothes to household goods and electronic equipment Zero Waste Scotland has championed the perception that "second hand is not second best" and have developed the national Revolve initiative.

Revolve provides a certification for retailers and this distinguished mark gives consumers confidence when considering to shop with approved retailers knowing their repaired and second hand reuse products are of the required quality. The network also supports social enterprises who are providing career opportunities and employment prospects for those furthest from the job market.

Revolve is currently helping with training and business support to 59 organisations with 141 shops throughout Scotland. The certification process supports re-use stores to meet all relevant legislative and trading standards including product checking for second hand goods.

Read more circular living case studies here.


Made the swap or got an idea - get in touch and share your story

Food Waste 4

There are lots of eco-friendly alternative products you can try.

If you have made a swap, or have another great reuse idea, please let us know at so that we can share your story and photo with your colleagues.



Share this page:

A to Z:

Council Services