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In 2018, Being Vegan Also Means Being a Recycler

Recycling saves the planet (and its inhabitants) and is great for tight budgets.

The definition of “recycling” is the use of something for a purpose other than its original intended use and modifying an item to fit a new use. And while, in the 21st century, recycling can often appear to be a recent trend, the idea of repurposing older items has existed for much longer than a few years. In fact, in some Asian countries, recycling has been a traditional way of life, as older items are passed down from generations to younger family members. This idea isn’t found only in Asia, as all across the world, people are realizing that abundance and waste are not luxuries, and this heightened awareness of recycling has lent itself to include cruelty-free furniture into our recycling routines. By avoiding materials that originate from living creatures, that are animal by-products, or are tested on animals, we can help save the planet, people, and animals. With our greater knowledge about the benefits of recycling, including how vegan design fits into this reusable revolution, we’re teaching you five ways in which you can recycle home or office furniture in an eco-friendly way:

1. Donate, sell, or give away
Nonprofit organizations and charities will redecorate their offices with your lived-in couch and chairs. Yard sales are also an option if you want to make some money for your new purchase.

2. Repair, refinish, or reupholster
Tightening screws, a bit of sanding, applying a fresh coat of paint, or replacing broken parts can extend the life your furniture (and save you money, too).

3. Buy used
Check recycling centers or consignment shops for good-as-new items. Be sure to check the amount of packaging.

4. Don’t throw away
Keep the plastic, cardboard, and other packaging materials that your deliveries arrive in. Store them in a bin, and reuse them to pack and mail gifts, or transport items in your next move.

5. Repurpose items and furniture
Found an old door leading to nowhere but a junkyard? Make it your headboard to cultivate some serious history and charm in your bedroom. Have an old bookcase? Instead of throwing it away, clean it, and use it as a bar to store liquor and glasses. Need a kitchen island but are short on money? Place two vintage demilune chests together to create a round island. Want a beautiful vanity? Use an antique wedding chest and stand (adding a sink and plumbing is easy!). Furthermore, attach wheels to a sturdy large basket and a rolling storage cart is born. Create a nightstand by stacking vintage suitcases on top of another, and use small side tables as stools (or stools as small side tables). Reach the heights of smart design with a small step ladder nightstand that you can keep next to your bed for easy access to all your books, alarm clock, lamp, and other bedside necessities. Next, old benches can be stacked to become shelves. Finally, when your mirror on the wall is no longer the fairest of them all, place it on a table, and attach handles for a chic serving tray.

Deborah DiMare is the founder of 100-percent vegan luxury interior design firm DiMare Design and VeganDesign.org, a go-to source for decorating vegan living spaces.

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