We’re excited to welcome three new board members to the ReUSE Minnesota team! We asked them, along with our two reelected board members, a few questions about reuse, including the daily challenges they face. What makes YOU passionate about reducing waste?
Steve Jameson, Bridging
Steve joined bridging in 2006, and after a brief hiatus, rejoined in 2014. He has more than 25 years of experience in retail management and financial services, and specializes in team building and employee training. He’s been involved in many aspects of the operational side of reuse, including client deliveries. At Bridging, Steve is responsible for the overall efficiency and effectiveness of internal operations, and for building relationships with partners to procure product donations.
ReUSE MN: What’s challenging about creating a reuse economy/community? How do you confront those challenges?
Jameson: “From the perspective of a furniture bank that is trying to get people to donate things that are still in good condition and appropriate for our clients, the biggest question we get is “what are we supposed to do with the items that Bridging is unable to take?” Whether it is donating items or recycling/reusing, we are a society that has convenience ingrained into our DNA. If someone can’t find a home for unwanted items easily, they will more than likely throw them away.
At Bridging, we have developed a piece of literature that helps people find a home for their unwanted items. If an item is in good condition but is just inappropriate for our clients, we provide a “Donor Resource List” to anyone that is interested. This is a piece that we put together that lists other non-profit organizations that accept all sorts of different items. We provide phone numbers and websites and what each organization takes, by category. We also provide information on a couple of recyclers for common items such as mattresses or electronics. We update this once to twice per year and make sure people know to contact the organization directly since accepted items will change periodically.”
Chris Bollman, Duluth Technology Company
Chris is the found of Duluth Technology Company, a repair business specializing in Apple products, and salvaging and rental services. They also offer classes and individual lessons in Mac computers, iPads, and iPhones, at their office and through Duluth Community Education. He’s passionate about keeping tech waste, in particular, out of the waste stream.
Allison Sawyer, Minnesota Waste Wise Foundation
For the last two years, Allison has worked as a sustainability specialist with the Minnesota Waste Wise Foundation, a nonprofit affiliate of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce. They provide energy and waste related consulting services to Minnesota businesses. Allison has also served as a Minnesota GreenCorps member, where she spent two years at St. Louis County Environmental Services. She holds a bachelor of Environment Studies in Geography & Environmental Management with a focus on International Development.
ReUSE MN: What does reuse mean to you?
Sawyer: “To me, reuse is all about encouraging consumption habits that go beyond just recycling. Recycling is great, but still relies on the disposal of items to be re-processed. When that step is eliminated altogether, not only do we use fewer natural resources, but we create an economic cycle in which consumers are more mindful and intentional about the things they own or use.”
Our terrific returning board members also weighed in.
Todd Tanner, University of Minnesota ReUse Program
Todd is the ReUse program coordinator at the University of Minnesota, which salvages discarded materials from across campus to be repurposed, preventing them from ending up in landfills and incinerators. He has also worked as a US Army Reserve Noncommissioned Officer in charge of communications for the 13th PSYOPS battalion, as well as for the Met Council. Todd is the current president of ReUSE Minnesota!
ReUSE MN: What does reuse mean to you?
Tanner: “ReUse means being conscientious about how I practice consumption. Before I purchase something I ask myself, do I really need this? If the answer is yes, then I ask if I can borrow or rent the item next. If that isn't an option, or it's something I will use regularly, so renting or borrowing isn't appropriate, I consider where I could get the item used instead of new. Reuse means not submitting to the consumption model we are accustomed to and have been trained to practice. It means considering how to live life with less and only having what is really needed.”
Neal Lewis, Minnesota Computers for Schools
Neal has served as the Director of Operations for Minnesota Computers for Schools since January of 2012. During his time there he has been responsible for regulating environmental certifications to protect employees, the community, and our environment. As an R2 (a safety standard for the electronics refurbishing and recycling industry) recycler, his first goal is to reuse products whenever possible. He also volunteers on the Seri R2 Technical Advisory Committee (TAC), helping make routine revisions to the R2 standard.
ReUSE MN: What diverse reuse experience do you bring to the board?
Lewis: “Throughout my life I have helped people keep the products they have running and functional. I have worked in the automotive repair and auto-body field, repaired appliances and furnaces, and have been in the computer service industry for over 30 years. Both professionally and personally I have had a reuse focus all my life.”