Reuse & Recycling during COVID-19 (coronavirus)

CRNI Member Services

We invite you to get creative, prioritise second hand goods, learn and continue to support and engage in reuse and recycling during this challenging period. Here are the ways you can work with CRNI Members to help contribute to a just and inclusive Circular transition. 

Where to Reuse & Recycle during phased reopening


Irish Charity Shops Association charity shops will reopen Monday 8 June, government announcements permitting. Check for details.

Habitat for Humanity Restore in Lisburn reopened on the 2 June. Check here for opening hours.


FreeTrade Ireland lets you pass on and pick up items for free here.  

Thriftify has added to its growing fashion selection online and now sells books, media, fashion and accessories and is a great way to support your favourite charity shops. Their work with NCBI was showcased on RTE here as one of the 5 positive things happening in Ireland right now. Visit the online store here. 


Cloth Nappy Library Ireland is lending reusable nappies (sent by post). Book your kit on


Recycle IT in Clondalkin is open now for free electrical & metal recycling drop off. Info here.

They have started a limited WEEE recycling collection service. If you would like to book a safe and cost-effective personal or office collection for all your old electrical equipment, contact Recycle IT here.


BounceBack is collecting mattresses in the Connaught region, taking extra health and safety measurements to protect clients and staff. If you want to recycle your mattress
call (091) 760 877 or send a message here.

Starting on 8 June, Eco Mattress Recycling will be on the road making collections in the Dublin area. To arrange a collection, visit their website here


Sustainable Fashion Dublin is holding a Virtual Flea Market every second Saturday on their Instagram stories.

Reuse & Recycling Inspiration


Follow ReCreate’s wonderful Creative Corner series of six-minute videos on creative reuse available here.

These videos cover a range of themes to give you and your family an idea of different activities to take part in from the comfort of your own home. 

Share what you have made with ReCreate’s Digital Exhibition, for a chance to win family passes to EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum once we get back to normal. ReCreate will select finalists once the exhibition closes, and ask the public to vote on their winners. 


Follow the Rediscovery Centre’s Rediscover @ Home month-long video series here. Uploaded daily, these will go behind the scenes at the Rediscovery Centre and share tips on sustainability and upcycling, provide online tours of the centre and deliver some curriculum-led educational tutorials. 

You can also watch the Rediscovery Centre’s top tips on french polishing, upholstery & upcycling on Ireland AM TV here. Finally, their News page has fantastic reuse information and tips here

You can Ask the Experts at the Rediscovery Centre for reuse and repair support. Check out their social media channels for the current topic area and find out how to ask a question.


Join Sustainable Fashion Dublin’s Patreon page here for positive and encouraging creative content every week including tutorials, recipes, virtual sewing and much, much more.


Learn more about food waste with the amazing FoodCloud in RTE’s Changing Ireland – My Big Idea programme here


The RecycleIT blog is chockablock with excellent recycling information and tips. Take a read here.

See also our videos page here for more upcycling inspiration, tips on reuse, info about the Circular Economy and more.

How to keep supporting reuse & temporary measures


Nearly all charity shops have suspended trading and do not know when their shops will reopen. Charity shops work with people who face difficulties in their lives every day, and these are made more challenging with the risk of Covid-19. 

Please continue support your local charity via:

  • Online donations
  • Saving your decluttered clothing or household goods until your local shop re-opens (or place it in a textile bank with an Irish Charity Shops Association logo). Please do not leave them outside a closed charity shop.
  • Consider volunteering once shops re-open


Duhallow Furniture Revamp is making masks for frontline workers in local social action groups, community hospitals, nursing homes as well for their staff doing meal deliveries and community laundry service. They need ¼” braided elastic (½” elastic will also work) & bias binding. They are also in need of 100% cotton.

Contact Colm or Jessica: [email protected] or 02960633 or IRD Duhallow, James O’Keeffe Institute, Newmarket, Co Cork, P51C5YF


Your old laptops can support exam students who can’t get online to continue learning at this time. No student should be at an educational disadvantage due to COVID-19.

Companies can donate to Camara Education. Find out more here.


FoodCloud is providing surplus food and supporting its network of 500+ Community Groups to feed people in need during this challenging time.

Please consider making a donation to this super organisation here.


When ordering takeaway be sure to say no to throwaways — such as cutlery, napkins, straws and sachets (salt, sauce, sugar). This is a fantastic initiative by Conscious Cup Campaign.


Before cafes closed, some in the Conscious Cup Campaign, were restricting customer’s reusable cups as a temporary measure to minimise contact during an unprecedented emergency situation. It is not permanent and we encourage you to return to normal reuse practice once this is all over and/or stay and sip.

Find out more here

Understand the facts about reuse and COVID-19

Helpful resources CRNI, VOICE & Conscious Cup Campaign found to put reuse and COVID-19 into context. Read these resources (as of 3 April) & continue to follow public health advice to avoid the spread of COVID-19.

New England Journal of Medicine Research

“Tests have have found that the COVID-19 virus survives up to a day on cardboard and up to three days on stainless steel and plastic. There has been no similar testing done on cloth. Some studies have shown that bacteria have been found on reusable bags, as well as in bags of pre-packaged lettuce.”

Read facts from the New England Journal of Medicine here and the synopsis by the National Institute of Health (NIH) here.

Reusables can be used safely

“The short answer is that soap and hot water are effective at killing coronavirus, other viruses, and bacteria. Home and commercial dishwashers are more effective than hand-washing because of the added benefit of high temperature and prolonged washing.

The crisis is also showing us that we need better systems for BYO and bulk shopping. Hands-free dispensers and methods are part of the solution, as are on-site sanitizing for BYO. In addition, businesses can create new systems to provide clean, sanitized reusable containers for bulk purchasing on deposit – similar to how local dairies are bringing back the reusable milk bottle.” 

Read facts from UPSTREAM here

Covid-19 Fears Shouldn’t Trash Your Zero Waste Efforts

“Reusable or secondhand items are unlikely to spread the novel coronavirus, as long as they’re washed or disinfected in between uses.”

“Buying new rather than secondhand won’t protect you from Covid-19. You’re more likely to get coronavirus buying something new that got coughed on by the last person to walk down the aisle than from a secondhand item that’s been washed with soap and water or wiped down with sanitizing wipes. Different kinds of disposable packaging have different microbial limits set by independent standard-setting organizations—and unless a product is explicitly marked sterile, none of those limits are zero. That means a certain level of bacterial contamination is considered acceptable and inevitable.”

Read facts from WIRED here

How Long Will Coronavirus Live on Surfaces or in the Air Around You?

“Surfaces Aerosols Medical experts are on the record explaining that soap and hot water are effective at killing coronavirus on reusable items. If accessible, dishwashers are more effective than hand-washing because of the added benefit of high temperature and prolonged washing. Single-use disposable items are not safer than properly washed reusables as they can harbor viruses and pathogenic bacteria, including exposure during the manufacture, transport, and storage processes leading up to eventual use. The virus lives longest on plastic and steel, surviving for up to 72 hours. On cardboard, it survives up to 24 hours. “We need more experiments like this, in particular, extending the experimental sampling time for aerosolized virus beyond three hours and testing survival under different temperature and humidity conditions,” said Dr. Jeffrey Shaman, an environmental health sciences expert at Columbia University.”

Read facts from The New York Times here

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