Cardboard boxes, water bottles and refined copper are examples of reusable resources. Unlike recyclable resources, which require reprocessing to be usable again, reusable resources can be used several times without having to remanufacture them.
The benefits of reusing resources rather than discarding or recycling them include raising environmental awareness, supporting teaching and learning, encouraging creativity and reducing negative environmental impact. Reuse demands foresight and planning, requiring businesses to keep track of existing resources and the number of times these resources have been used. The initial expenditure in time and resources for a business to begin reusing instead of discarding can be recouped in savings on new materials and tax breaks for being environmentally aware.
Community-scale reuse also yields a positive impact, promoting social responsibility when businesses donate their old equipment and materials to charities and schools. Reuse may require creative thinking to utilize existing materials in new ways. For example, many environmentally aware businesses shred unwanted paper for usage as a packing or insulating material.
Even a business that cannot directly benefit from the reuse of its resources can barter these resources with other businesses in a mutually beneficial relationship. Reuse at a personal level can be done through second-hand stores and online directories, such as Craigslist or Freecycle.