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.

Give a great story

There's more than meets the eye when it comes to gift giving. Gifts are responsible for a lot of waste.

On average, people generate 36 more pounds of waste in December than in other months of the year. Instead of buying new, consider giving a great story with creative and zero waste gifts. Giving a great story means finding gifts that are thoughtful and can create memories with your family and friends. It means giving a personal gift that shows you care about your loved one as well as the environment. Instead of buying something they don’t need, give the gift of a great story! 

Why do my shopping choices matter?

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.

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.

Reuse and Recycle: Fix what you already have yourself or work with businesses that offer repair or refurbishing services. 

  • 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.

  • Build community and share tools with your neighbors. 
  • Rent outfits for special occasions.
  • Rent tools for projects.
  • Gift annual state park passes or kayak rentals.