Reaching zero waste requires a new approach to how we buy, use and dispose of everyday items, including how we give gifts! Instead of buying new things, choose products made of recycled content, second-hand items or repair what you already own. You can also reduce waste by refusing what you don’t need or renting what you won’t use every day. The Austin Reuse Directory makes it easy to find local businesses that sell pre-loved items or offer rental and repair services.

Learn the benefits of shopping zero waste

When you shop zero waste you:

  • Support local businesses, artists and nonprofits.
  • Keep products out of the landfill.
  • Save money by buying second-hand items.
  • Avoid the energy and resources needed to manufacture new products.
  • Find unique, eco-friendly gifts for your loved ones.

Please note that most of the videos on this page were created prior to 2020, and do not reflect safety measures around COVID-19.

Learn how to shop zero waste

Buy responsibly

Buy from businesses that sell products made from recycled, upcycled or reused materials.

  • Shop at thrift and second-hand stores.
  • Search for products made with recycled content.
  • Buy from local reuse artists.

Fix what you already have yourself or work with businesses that offer repair or refurbishing services. Repair what you can

  • Resole a worn pair of shoes.
  • Restore damaged photos.
  • Repair an old bicycle.
  • Attend a Fix-It Clinic and learn how to repair household items.

Share items

Rent what you don’t need every day or give experiences as gifts.

  • Rent outfits for special occasions.
  • Explore Austin on an electric scooter.
  • Rent tools for projects.
  • Gift annual state park passes or kayak rentals.

Learn more about how to give a great story

Austinites may be looking for safe ways to spend time with friends and family to keep relationships alive as we social distance. Consider giving a great story for creative and zero waste gift giving in this unprecedented year. Giving a great story means thinking beyond brand new items and finding gifts that create new memories with your family and friends (even if they must be virtual). Whether it’s the anticipation of the experiences you will share, the thoughtfulness of having a beloved item repaired, or the excitement of receiving a reused item that has lived a life before getting to you; giving a great story means a personal gift that shows you care about your loved one and the environment. This year, instead of buying something they don’t need, give the gift of a great story—and put a lasting smile on your loved ones’ faces. You can give a great story as a birthday, anniversary, congratulatory, holiday or "just because" gift. Give a great story all year long.