Reuse, Reuse, and Reuse!

Of the three Rs of sustainability – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – Reuse is probably the most efficient. Here’s how you can be a part of the ‘reuse’ movement.


We at The Alternative are constantly looking for new ways to live sustainably by reducing waste and using more. This list of thirteen alternative communities looks at exploring how you can reuse your old items, or sell them to groups that are devoted to providing them a better, more aesthetic function. If, on the other hand, you’re looking to just save some money, or want to use something only for a short period of time, this article also lists communities from which you can either buy second-hand or simply rent items, for the duration that you need them.

Communities that ‘upcycle’

To upcycle something means to reuse discarded material in a manner that creates something of higher value than the original. Here are some people who insist on making use of your junk!

Upcycling - do better!

Upcycling – do better!

  1. ReImagine Upcycled Art: Run by two professionals originally in the field of psychology, Lynette Cuotto and Kushy Kuttappa decided to unite over their common love of art, while doing their bit for the environment. They create upcycled objects that are both aesthetic and functional, to promote the idea of beauty in green living. Using glass bottles, jars, and other discarded materials (that are either donated by friends or sourced from restaurants) to create lights and items of home decor, they aim to reject the idea that all recycled objects end up looking like junk. You’ll find their items on display at exhibitions and flea markets, such as those organized by Second to None, which also periodically sells other second hand items.
  2. Karaashilp: Based out of Indiranagar, Bangalore, Karaashilp (‘Hand Craft’ in Sanskirt) upcycles old articles of denim and clothing to make ethnic, beautiful bags, jewellery and accessories. They also use other discarded material, such as bottles and boxes, to produce aesthetic pieces of home decor. You can even contact them personally (orders@karaashilp.com) to have any of your old pieces of clothing upcycled to something beautiful, or obtain any of their products on their website or at their offline stores, and rest assured that you are doing something good – a portion of their sales goes into Karaashilp: Eco, a social cause aimed at aiding underprivileged children with an education.

    Pic Courtesy: http://punaha.wordpress.com/tag/karaashilp/

    Pic Courtesy: http://punaha.wordpress.com/tag/karaashilp/

  3. ReInvention: This recent group, started only in February earlier this year, promises to take off your hands anything old and unused, that you love too much to throw away, and instead create an item of value using the same. You can see for yourself how they’ve used old saris to make thrifty handbags, and contact them personally (reinvent.with.us@gmail.com)to procure their prudent services.

    This is what your junk could end up looking like! | Pic Courtesy: www.savvysugar.com

    This is what your junk could end up looking like! | Pic Courtesy: www.savvysugar.com

Online Communities that help you buy/rent and sell second hand items

'220' - Second to None, Stylized | Pic Courtesy: rangdecor.blogspot.com

‘220’ – Second to None, Stylized | Pic Courtesy: rangdecor.blogspot.com


  1. Second to None: Stylized as ‘220’, this community  was started by a group of volunteers interested in promoting a culture of living sustainably,by reusing, recycling and replenishing. Now their highly active Facebook group, on which items of all kinds are constantly traded, has a strict ‘no new products’ policy, insisting only on used or upcycled items, and their periodic flea markets see old sarees being sold off as new curtains, and shoe boxes being decorated to be show pieces. So if you think you have an old soft toy that somebody could double up as a cushion, or just an old phone you want to get rid of, mail them (secondtononemarket@gmail.com)or follow their blog.
  2. Second Hand Dukaan Bangaloreans: While Second to None boasts of a pan Indian base, if you’re looking for something a little more exclusive, or perhaps based in your locality, Second Hand Dukaan Bangaloreans offers you free ad space for all your used items, with the cushion of checking the Facebook profile of exactly whom you’re buying from or selling to.
  3. Read and Pass On (RAPO): The ideal group for book lovers and spendthrifts, Read and Pass On is a Facebook group that allows you to conveniently read a book, and post about it once you’re done – someone who wants to read it then has the option to express interest, at which point you can send it to them! The group advises you to think of the postal charges as the cost incurred for reading the book, and they have a point when you consider that it’s only a fraction of what it would cost you to buy the book. There’s the added freedom of not having to read it within a stipulated time, unlike a library, with the possible advantage of making several new friends with similar book tastes.
  4. Bums on the Saddle: This website is an amazing initiative that aims at uniting people with their transportation needs, specifically bikes. Its buy-sell-rent marketplace caters both to people who want to sell and those who want to buy (or rent, depending on the duration of the rental), providing inexpensive, feasible solutions to both parties. They also have bike gear and other essentials on sale, making it a complete stop for avid cyclists.

    Bums on the Saddle | Pic Courtesy: www.madhyaindia.com

    Bums on the Saddle | Pic Courtesy: www.madhyaindia.com

  5. City Bikes India: Similar to Bums on the Saddle, this company provides dependable, professional information on prices, resale value, and the availability of both new and used two-wheelers to customers across Bangalore. The website has on display a large collection of pre-owned bikes, spanning multiple brands, and also helpfully offers a consult (info@citybikesindia.com) to those confused customers who aren’t quite sure exactly what such a deal would enter, including extensive research on the vehicles that would best suit your specific needs.
  6. Multi Gateway Computers: Situated on Mosque Road, Bangalore, Multi Gateway Computers deals exclusively in computers – they offer to buy your new, used or broken laptops, and also their scrap parts, in exchange for cash, with free pick-up service. Buyers get a great deal too, with a wide range of used laptops to choose from, including many top brands and a 30-day warranty. The bought laptops are suitably refurbished to meet the best possible standards, and delivered in a state ready to use. Email them(sales@multigatewaycomputers.com) with your specific requirements to know more about your options and the best possible match.
  7. Rentongo: As the name would suggest, Rentongo is a consolidated rental information website for products of all types, from furniture, appliance and electronics to personal items such as hair dryers, straigteners, etc. to bikes, musical instruments, even wedding supplies! The website is the first of its kind, a rental marketplace that attempts to organize all the items available for rent in India, and encourages saving money. It’s easy-to-understand interface directs the buyer’s enquiry to a concerned seller and facilitates negotiation between them such that the cumulative payment, for the item as well as the transport charges, is made directly to the seller. At the end of the rental period, the item is to be returned to the original owner, upon which any security deposit that had been levied for the product would be refunded to the buyer.

Second Hand Book Stores

  1. Blossom Book House: This bookstore is quite possibly the largest repository of second-hand books in the city of Bangalore, with books starting at an amount as cheap as Rs. 30/-. The bookstore itself is three floors high, each floor staggeringly stocked with shelves of books from floor to ceiling, and with each shelf bearing multiple layers of books. The attempt at organization is by category, and then by alphabet, but it remains a humble attempt due to the sheer number of books in the store. Any book lover’s stay in Bangalore is incomplete without at least a visit or two to this paradise.

    And this is only one-sixth of one of the three floors of Blossom | Pic Courtesy: thisisexpatindia.com

    And this is only one-sixth of one of the three floors of Blossom | Pic Courtesy: thisisexpatindia.com

  2. Bookworm: Not more than 200 metres away from Blossoms, Bookworm is another second hand bookstore, albeit smaller, and offers a similar range of books. It remains open on all days from 9 am to 10 pm, and is in close proximity to Hysteria, the popular music and pop culture merchandise store. An entire day’s worth of activities could be comprised of visiting these three stores.
  3. Goobe’s Book Republic: Touted as Bangalore’s ‘best little book store’, Ravi Menezes says about it, “Goobe means ‘owl’ in Kannada, and it is like a pet name with a conundrum. The duality of the word symbolising both the intelligent bird as well the fool for books interested me.” Goobe’s Book Republic functions both as a library, with a large part of Ravi’s personal collection adorning its shelves, as well as a bookstore with discounted rates. You can become a member for life by paying a one-time deposit of Rs. 900/-, which would allow you to borrow four books at a time for two weeks, against 15 per cent of the price of the books, with a maximum of six books per month. Follow their blog here.

    The pithy sign outside Goobe's Book Republic | Pic Courtesy: https://www.facebook.com/GoobesBookRepublic

    The pithy sign outside Goobe’s Book Republic | Pic Courtesy: https://www.facebook.com/GoobesBookRepublic

We hope you consider this a comprehensive list that could help you meet all your buying/selling needs. In case you know of a store that we’ve missed out, please do comment below. Happy buying!


  ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Currently pursuing an engineering degree from BITS Pilani, Goa, Sanjana is a Chennai-born girl settled in Mumbai, and writes for The Alternative in a humble attempt to fulfill the stereotype of being a frustrated engineer. more

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  ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Currently pursuing an engineering degree from BITS Pilani, Goa, Sanjana is a Chennai-born girl settled in Mumbai, and writes for The Alternative in a humble attempt to fulfill the stereotype of being a frustrated engineer. more

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