By Todd Tanner, board president
It’s the time of year for giving gifts and, no surprise, ReUSE Minnesota wholeheartedly supports and encourages handmade, upcycled, repurposed, and repaired gifts. Members of our Board recently attended the Green Gifts Fair at Midtown Global Market and were blown away by the number of local artisans who repurpose common items and turn them into something wonderful. We saw bowls made from vinyl records, jewelry derived from almost anything, candles made with old glasses, scrap fabric turned into new clothes, magnets made from bottle caps, and notebooks and journals fashioned from discarded metal. It’s hard not to be inspired by the creativity! At our table, we helped attendees turn old books and greeting cards into gift tags and small notebooks, people seemed to really enjoy the project, and we had a great time interacting with attendees at this bustling and energetic event.
Those same wonderful consumers also contributed to the health of our environment. How? Purchases at the Green Gifts Fair had a minimal carbon footprint because the items were made locally and the environmental impact of transportation was minimal. Also, many of the items were created from something that otherwise would have been trashed. For example, if someone bought an item made from discarded clothing, they helped avoid the 3-4 pounds of CO2 emissions that occur for every pound of clothing that hits a landfill. And finally, items made from previously used materials extends the useful life of those materials and avoids the additional impact of manufacturing something new.
As an organization working to raise awareness of the reuse, repair and rental business sector, it’s fantastic to know that so many in our community already share our goals of sustainable living and reducing waste. And, even though the Green Gifts Fair is over, many opportunities remain to purchase environmentally friendly presents, and to be inspired to see gift-giving in a new way and exploring ideas for creating your own gift items by re-purposing things you already have.
We encourage you to investigate member businesses that specialize in reuse gift items that might be perfect for someone on your shopping list including Junket, Mr Michaels Recycles Bicycles, U of M Reuse Center, A Greener Read, Tech Discounts, Better Futures, Arc's Value Village, Magers and Quinn and Strange Boutique.
We also want to take this opportunity to wish you a healthy, happy, and peaceful holiday season! Thanks for your past and future support of ReUSE Minnesota!