Reusing household waste is an important way to reduce the consumption and use of natural resources and energy. It can also decrease the amount of waste that we put into landfill sites, help safeguard wildlife habitat, create less air and water pollution, and reduce hazardous waste.
You may have noticed that companies in Qatar are starting to take steps to reduce single-use products and make reusable products available to customers. Reusable grocery bags and vegetable pouches are now available in supermarkets, including Carrefour, Lulu Hypermarket and Monoprix. Starbucks, Costa Coffee and other food and beverage outlets sell reusable cups. Even restaurants and cafes such as Le Pain Quotidien ask customers to avoid using disposable straws unless they need them.
Whether we reuse our household waste, repurpose waste from the community or buy reusable products, we can all get involved. There are plenty of reuse and swapping communities and a variety of places that offer products that come from secondhand sources. Here are some ideas for reusing waste at home—don’t hesitate to get the whole family involved and try to make it fun.
Reusing at home
- Cleaned glass jars, containers and cans can be used as storage containers for all sorts of small items from foodstuffs and screws to pencils and toiletries
- Use leftover plastic containers to store liquids or cut them up to make scoops and funnels
- Newspapers, magazines and paper bags can be composted, used for wrapping and packaging, or craft projects with your children
- Cut up old clothes, towels and bedding into rags and dust sheets, or creative projects including rag rugs and doll clothes
- Seeds from herbs, flowers and vegetables can be collected, planted and replanted over and over again
- Plastic bags can be cleaned and used for sandwich bags, bin liners, pet waste bags, or simply reuse your plastic bags again when you go shopping
- Turn paper towel cores into children’s toys with a bit of paint and stickers or use them to store plastic bags
- Use old shoe boxes to store and organise drawers and cupboards
There are numerous buy and sell community groups and websites where all manner of household and garden items, kids’ toys, electronics, clothing, and more can be bought, sold or traded. There is also a myriad of buy, sell and swap pages available through Facebook. Some of the most popular groups and sites are
- Facebook: Buy It, Sell It Love It, Qatar
- Facebook: Buy It, Sell It, Swap It, Qatar
- Facebook: Buy It, Sell It, Swap It – Kids, Qatar
- Facebook: Buy It, Sell It, Use It, Qatar
- Facebook: Buy ‘N’ Sell, Qatar
- Facebook: Qatar Sale
- Facebook: Doha Sale
There are also community Facebook pages for specific material swaps and repurposing opportunities, including Jars for Doha; Art & Craft & Sewing Supplies Qatar: Sell, buy, swap, give away; and Doha Books Sell, Swap or Buy.
Almost all of us have books that we have read and no longer need. You can donate, sell or swap with www.facebook.com/bookfairiesqatar, Qatar Vet Centre (4016-1366), Qatar National Library (www.qnl.qa/en/donate), or use the Red Booth at Katara—an old red telephone booth near Building 15 where you can leave, swap, or take books.
Donating to charities
You can donate all sorts of gently used items to Qatar Charity (www.qcharity.org) through their TAYF programme. They will gladly accept items such as shoes, toys, clothes, furniture, and electrical or electronic appliances at any of their 95 collection points around Qatar. Contact them to find your nearest collection box location (4466-7711).
Animals shelters are also great options for donating used bedding, towels, cleaning supplies, fans, air conditioners, and appliances like refrigerators and washing machines. Check their websites for their most needed items: www.qaws.org and pawsrescueqatar.org.
Purchase reusable goods
When possible, make conscientious purchases whenever you shop and buy reusable items, including rechargeable batteries and electronic appliances, reusable shopping bags, water bottles, food pouches, snack and lunch bags, reusable wrapping paper or fabric and bags, earwax cleaners (instead of cotton buds), silicone lids (instead of cling film), and cloth nappies.
Use your imagination to find ways of reusing items in your home to help the environment and save money. Be sure to get the whole family involved as well. Old furniture can be repainted or taken apart so that the parts can be reused in new projects. Broken dishes and pottery can be used in the bottom of flower pots to improve drainage for your plants. Or you could try your hand at making mosaics or jewellery with broken dish pieces. You may find that with a little creativity, you can turn what you once thought was trash into treasure!