Make do and mend

Making Wise Choices and living sustainably shouldn’t mean buying lots of things just because they are ‘plastic-free’ or made from bamboo. Often the most sustainable choice you can make is to buy nothing and make do with what you have or reuse/repair items to save them going into the landfill.

Refuse ➡️ Reduce ➡️ Reuse ➡️ Repair ➡️ Recycle

Buy right in the first place
Many things we buy these days seem not to be able to be repaired when they break or are just not made to last in the first place. Buy wisely!

  • Support manufacturers who design products to be repairable
  • Where you can, buy quality products built to last
  • Futureproof your technology purchases by buying as-higher specification as you can afford (and do you really need to upgrade?)


Can you try to repair your item before you throw it away?
  • Sugru is a great product – a moldable glue that sticks almost anything to anything, remains flexible and is heat and water-resistant
  • Even with the most basic of sewing skills, you can find help online to repair tears and holes in clothes
  • If you don’t have the skills yourself – find a Repair Café near you (or a local tradesperson) and save your items from the landfill

Just wait

Do you really need it? We mean REALLY need it?
  • Try leaving those items in your online shopping basket overnight – the urge to buy might have gone by the time you return
  • Can you borrow the item from a friend or local Buy Nothing group
  • Are you sure there’s not something you already have that you can use instead (see below)


Use what you have

Reusing and upcycling what you already have is a Wise Choice

  • Upcycle worn-out items with a lick of paint or a new cover
  • Get creative – repurpose something you don’t use into something you can use
  • Say no to faddy, poorly-made gadgets that will likely be used just once or twice and then thrown away – Christmas and Halloween are terrible for this. Make your own, reuse what you have – AND have fun doing it!


Our WiseOceans team tries to lead by example. For some, living on islands with limited shopping opportunities this is out of necessity, but either way – reusing and upcycling is a way of life for us.

When it comes to climate change and plastic pollution the size of the challenge can appear to be overwhelming but making small lifestyle changes can make a big difference to the health of our oceans if enough of us do them. It can help us inspire others to make Wise Choices as well as help drive policy changes in both business and government.

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‘Buyarchy of Needs’ image © Sarah Lazarovic

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