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What's the difference between reuse and re-employment?

Reuse and repurposing: two pillars of the circular economy for sustainable consumption.

Reuse and repurposing are often confused, yet they differ in definition and application. However, they converge towards a common goal: to reduce our environmental impact by extending the life of products and limiting waste production.

réemploi matériaux construction


  • Reuse: Use of a product that is not waste for its original purpose. It is a product that can still be used as it is, without major repair or transformation. Reuse: Use of a product that has become waste for a function other than that for which it was originally designed. The product often requires repair, adaptation or transformation before it can be reused.


  • Reuse: Give a second life to a piece of furniture by repainting or modifying it, use glass jars to store food, use second-hand clothes. Reuse: Turn pallets into garden furniture, use used tires to create play areas, turn old clothes into rags or bags.


Reuse has many advantages:

  • Waste reduction: by extending the life of products, less waste is sent for incineration or landfill.

  • Preservation of natural resources: Fewer raw materials are used to manufacture new products.

  • Combating climate change: The production of new products consumes a lot of energy and generates greenhouse gas emissions. Reuse and recycling help reduce these impacts.

  • Job creation: New business sectors are developing around reuse, creating jobs in the collection, sorting, repair and sale of second-hand products.

Regulatory framework

In France, the Anti-Waste for a Circular Economy Act (AGEC) of 2020 strengthened provisions in favor of reuse and reemployment. In particular, it requires producers of certain products (telephones, furniture, etc.) to set up reuse and reuse channels.


Many players are involved in reuse and recycling:

  • Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE) structures: They collect, repair and resell second-hand products at affordable prices.

  • Eco-organizations: responsible for collecting and processing waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) and other products.

  • Public bodies: The State, local authorities and their associations can set up policies and programs to promote reuse.

  • Producers and distributors: They have obligations in terms of reuse of their products.

  • Consumers: They can play an important role by adopting more sustainable consumption practices, buying second-hand products and repairing their products rather than throwing them away.

Reuse and recycling are essential solutions for reducing our environmental impact and building a more circular economy. By adopting more responsible behavior and supporting the players in this sector, we can all contribute to a more sustainable future.

Source : e-dechets

At Toit de Paris, our area of expertise lies in the reuse of building materials to enhance our heritage. Our aim is to promote French excellence through upcycling and reuse.



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