Notes from ReuseConex Conference

Take away messages on reuse industry

·         Reuse is not recycling

·         Reduce, Reuse, Recycle is not a slogan, it’s a priority set out for how municipalities are supposed to manage materials.

·         Reuse means services and service dollars stay local

·         Reuse and triple bottom line. People: reuse creates jobs in local communities.  Environment: decreases upstream and downstream waste: decreasing manufacturing outputs and waste to landfills. Economy: cost savings and improved quality of life for organizations, business and individuals.

·         Challenges

o   No common terminology in reuse industry and across trades

o   Perception of reuse

o   Lack of infrastructure  - no metrics to measure impact

Network opportunities

·         Durham NC, Reuse Alliance is working with Transfer stations to have a Reuse Section where specific items can be dropped off by individuals and picked up by organizations.

o   King County “What do I do with…?” partner page: provides links to reuse & recycling organizations

·         Waste Management Healthcare Solutions

·         Practice Green Health: membership organization focuses on providing environmental solutions for healthcare sector

·         Furniture Banks: get in donations of medical equipment, have large warehouses

·         Restores: bring in medical equipment after deconstruction projects, need resources to get it reused.

Notes and ideas from other reusers

·         Creative reuse organizations (reusing craft/art material or material for use in arts) ask recipients of donated materials (such as artists and school programs) to write “Thank You” letters which are collected and handed out to donors. No priority put on matching recipient letter to donor.

·         Create Community Repair Groups

o   Fixers Collective:

o   Bike Kitchen:

·         Online repair community to pass on repair information, started with computers and electronics, now collecting user created manuals and tear downs on everything. iFixIt

Creating Reuse Communities On and Of University Campuses

·         FU and MSU both have “community drop off days” or amnesty days where community can drop off specified materials at University Surplus. Items are collected on site by community partners.

·         Student move-out days. Items from students are collected and distributed to community partners.

·         Most campuses have a focus on zero waste and limited warehouse space. If organizations can report on how much waste is kept out of landfills, some universities will divert materials.