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  • 2019-08-01 2:20 PM | Anonymous

    Guest post by Steve Thomas, Board Member, ReUSE Minnesota

    A July 11 article in the Star Tribune reported on the proposed 362-foot landfill expansion in Burnsville by Waste Management; a mountain of waste looming more than 30 stories over the Minnesota River. Along with creating an ugly eyesore along an essential waterway, this expansion will pollute our land, water, and air for decades, even centuries, to come. (“Stop Trashing the Climate” is one of several studies documenting the link between climate change and the unsustainable practice of waste generation).

    Landfills are archaic, and we know they are harmful to our communities in ways beyond just a stinky eyesore. They are a source of harmful greenhouse gas emissions, including carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and fluorinated gases. Landfills also have a detrimental impact on soil, vegetation, and wildlife. And they are a major source of groundwater pollution in the form of “leachate,” runoff from rain and waste contamination. 

    We can and must do better. We can and must continue to support innovative and proven alternatives to landfills such as the reuse and repair of goods and materials. 

    At ReUSE Minnesota, we are expanding Minnesota’s reuse sector and studying the dramatic benefits of reducing waste through reuse. Research shows that one of the primary ways cities and counties are reducing landfill waste is through the expansion of the reuse sector. Currently, according to the MPCA, Minnesota’s reuse sector directly employs 46,000 employees and generates at least $4 billion in gross sales annually. And this sector continues to grow, showing there is a real desire to grow a sustainable economy and reduce waste across the State. 

    We can take personal steps to reduce waste through reuse and we must hold our policymakers accountable for supporting sustainable, healthy communities. Local, county, and State agencies must heed the warning of the environmental hazards associated with increased waste; instead, these leaders must support reuse initiatives, which will reduce pollutants (including greenhouse gasses), build a healthier future, and a stronger economy.  

    For instance, the legislature must pass the Fair Repair Bill, which would require manufacturers to provide repair information and replacement parts for consumer goods like refrigerators, small appliances, computers, cell phones, and more, to reduce waste. 

    Metro area cities should also look to other forward-thinking cities across the country, which are adopting new policies and practices to reduce waste in landfills. To date, more than 160 municipalities across the country have adopted policies to reduce construction and demolition (C&D) waste, which now makes up the largest amount of waste in landfills. According to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, more than 80 percent of the 1.6 million tons of construction and demolition waste generated Statewide in 2013 was landfilled. Demolishing buildings and burying the waste is simply not a healthy or sustainable practice.

    Instead of expanding the “dump,” we urge local officials to adopt a much more enlightened policy. Reduce waste on the front end. For example, a policy of reusing at least 5% of a building and recycling an additional 70% of its materials, typically results in net zero emissions. This policy also reduces substantially the amount of toxic material to buried in the ground.

    One of ReUSE Minnesota’s members, Better Futures Minnesota, is a local pioneer in the effort to divert building materials from the waste stream. According to a Ecotone Analytics Environmental Impact Analysis, the demolition of 2000 sq ft house emits, on average, 250 metric tons of CO2 which is equal to driving 5 cars for a year. As an alternative, Better Futures diverts 85% of this typical house from the landfill, which results in net zero emissions.

    Minnesota’s estimated 46,000 workers in the reuse and repair sectors are practicing innovative solutions and practical alternatives to the building a 30-story landfill. Reuse helps us protect Mother Earth and build healthier communities. We call for local, county, and State officials to make a new choice: support solutions to reduce waste and help grow a reuse economy.

  • 2018-12-26 12:00 PM | Anonymous

    We can’t wait to host the Repair for Reuse room again at the Minnesota State Fair Eco Experience! You won't want to miss the countless hands-on activities, fix-it resources, and demos from many of our awesome member organizations. Whether you’re new to reuse, a hobbyist, or an experienced DIYer, you’ll learn something new about reuse, rental, and repair.

    Here’s a look at what we have in store:

    • August 23: catch a live broadcast of the Makers of Minnesota podcast, learn simple household fixes from Bridging, and make tote bags from old t-shirts with ReUSE Minnesota
    • August 24: join Jan Hagerman, frequent WCCO TV guest, for a DIY repair and repurposing demo with Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity ReStore
    • August 25: learn more about free local Fix-It clinics and how to repair many household items
    • August 26: make tote bags from old t-shirts and learn new ways reuse your jeans with Mobile Menders
    • August 27: hang out with Repair Lair, the outdoor gear and clothing repair experts
    • August 28 and 30: enter your name in a drawing to win a FREE refurbished laptop from Tech Discounts
    • August 29: get ideas and tips for re-thrifting and upcycling your thrifted finds from the Salvation Army
    • August 31: repair a flat tire and get answers to your bike repair questions with Mr Michael Recycles Bicycles
    • September 1: learn more about free local Fix-It clinics and how to repair many household items
    • September 2: check out refurbished and restyled vintage furniture by Omforme designs
    • September 3: make tote bags from t-shirt with ReUSE Minnesota

    The fair runs August 23-September 6! Help us spread the word by sharing on Facebook.

  • 2018-11-14 12:00 PM | Anonymous

    The clothing industry is one of the most environmentally destructive, and it can be hard to know where to even start to find clothing with a lighter footprint. Luckily, at the Green Gifts Fair on Saturday, November 17, ReUSE Minnesota and the Thrift Stylists from Arcs Value Village will be on hand to show you how to create a wardrobe you love that’s also easy on the planet!

    The 13th annual Green Gifts Fair will run from 10am - 5pm at the Midtown Global Market in Minneapolis. There will be 85 sustainable vendors, education booths, food, prizes, and more. The 2018 theme is #MyGreenJourney—exploring and celebrating ALL of our journeys to live sustainably and have an earth-friendly holiday season. Attendees can also complete an activity passport throughout the fair for (adult and kid-friendly) prizes. Invite your friends, family, neighbors, and coworkers – you won’t want to miss it!

    Visit for the full list of vendors, demos, and the main stage schedule.

    Want to spend more time at the Fair, hang out with ReUSE Minnesota volunteers, and help teach others about reuse? Sign up for a volunteer shift.

  • 2018-03-12 12:00 PM | Anonymous

    Have you ever stumbled upon the perfect find at your local thrift store, only to take it home and realize it was broken? Or maybe that beautiful quilt your grandma made now has a few holes and tears? Well, don’t despair: ReUSE has a great network of repair volunteers around Minnesota ready to help restore your well-loved and soon-to-be-loved items. The Fix-It Clinics in both Hennepin and Dakota County offer fantastic opportunities to repair your items for free, while teaching valuable skills and keeping items out of the trash! 

    For this blog, we connected with a few Fix-It volunteers and asked: what’s your most memorable fix-it story? Here’s what we heard:

    “At our very first Fix-It Clinic in Sept 2012, a guy came in with an antique radio. He and his girlfriend had been browsing antique stores, and this radio was playing a song they loved, so they bought it. A little while later she dropped the radio and it stopped working. For her birthday, he wanted to fix it. All the volunteers ate up the story and were eager to help. They dug in and ended up fixing the problem with the spring from a ballpoint pen. He left happy. Just before her birthday, he tested the radio, and it wasn’t working. Because he participated in the repair, he opened the radio back up, found a loose wire, reattached it and the radio worked. She was thrilled to have the radio working again for her birthday! They later got married and the radio was at their reception!”

    -Nancy Lo

    “A couple of years ago, a gentleman came in with a sewing machine which hadn't been used in several years and he couldn't get to work. It was a not long until Halloween and he wanted to use it to sew costumes for children. It would turn over by hand with great resistance. I did a 'clean and lubrication' which isn't very hard and usually cures such machines.

    Well, this helped a little but it had resistance to moving at some points in its rotation. I began to think there was a bad gear or some such, which I can't fix without a replacement for the broken part. I persisted with little more lubrication on moving parts and more attempts to get it to work using the foot pedal. Finally it began to run smoothly. The fellow who brought it in was overjoyed and began to jump with joy.

    You get paid for doing this in ways better than money."

    -Gary Bank

     Fix #1

    I grew up helping my Dad with lots of projects around the house, including restoring antique furniture. One of my favorite fixes is to make a wobbly wooden chair sturdy again by gluing the joints. Once all of the joints are glued and in the correct position, use a piece of laundry line or other rope (even a jump rope would do) as a clamp for the joints. Wrap the rope around the outside of the chair legs and knot it. Place a wooden spoon or long screwdriver or any other sturdy item perpendicular to the rope and begin turning it to tighten the rope. Be careful as you twist because the wooden spoon will have a tendency to “unwind”. When the rope is snug and provides the right tension needed to hold the joints in place, secure the spoon and wipe of any glue that oozed out. Once the glue is dry (usually overnight), carefully unwind the spoon and rope and your chair will be as good as new and you won’t have to purchase any expensive clamps or grow a third arm to hold everything in place! This technique can be used on just about anything that’s difficult to clamp, providing you’re able to get a rope around it.

    Fix #2

    I love to look for vintage quilts at flea markets. Sometimes they have been damaged or the fabric has simply worn out. To repair a hole in a quilt top without taking the whole thing apart, consider adding a piece of fabric under the hole and hand sewing around it to secure the patch. This type of fix should work on just about any type of hole, whether created by a tear or if the fabric has disintegrated. For quilts that are more damaged, use a mesh like fabric such as tulle to reinforce the area and then secure a patch.”

    -Karen Asmundson

    If you have a story you’d like to share, send it our way! We’d love to add it to this post or include a longer story as a separate blog. Happy fixing!

  • 2018-02-05 12:00 PM | Anonymous

    How to plan a zero waste event to remember

    We all want to throw an awesome event that our guests will enjoy. Why not create a sustainable example for your event-goers as well? It’s easy to show off your commitment to the environment while sharing earth-friendly practices so even more zero waste events will follow! Here are a few ways you can make more memories, not waste, at any function.

    1.     Plan ahead

    Sometimes it’s okay to bother your guests a little bit. In order to cut down on food waste, make sure you know how exactly many people are planning on attending and what their dietary restrictions are.

    2.     Use evites instead of paper invitations

    In our digital world, it gets easier every day to plan and share events online. Plus, if you need to make any last minute updates to the time and venue, you can easily get the word out instead of hunting down paper flyers and invitations. Facebook events, EventBrite, and Evite are all easy (and free!) sites you can use to set up your event and invite friends and family, while scheduling manager sites like Doodle can help you and your guests find a time that works for everyone.

    3.     Ask people to bring tupperware for leftovers

    Even with the best kind of planning beforehand, chances are, you’ll still have some leftovers. Asking people to bring containers to bring food back home ensures it isn’t going to waste. Plus, who doesn’t love some free food?!

    4.     Plan a low waste menu

    When possible, make homemade dips and cut up veggies, fruits, cheese, and other items yourself rather than buying plastic appetizer trays and foods packaged in plastic.

    5.     Work with what you have

    At the venue, try working with what you have during event set-up. Ditch plastic table covers for reusable cloth covers, and collaborate with others to see what kind of homemade decorations you can create. Chances are, a lot of your guests may have mason jars, string lights, and tea candles lying around that can create a cozy event atmosphere in just a few minutes!

    6.     Rent!

    If you are in need of more dishes, napkins, tablecloths, tables, chairs, or even dresses, don’t worry–all these items are easy to rent. In fact, you’ll find a lot of options in the ReUSE Minnesota directory, like Apres Party and Tent Rentals, Bride to Be Consignment, Brides of France, and Hejny Rental.

    7.     Use reusable dining ware

    Instead of purchasing single-use cups, plates, and silverware, bring your own or rent reusable dining ware. Let's be honest, no one likes eating off of plastic utensils. In fact, it's been shown that people think food tastes better when eaten off stainless or other "real" utensils. Depending on the size of your event, you could also ask guests to bring their mugs, water bottles, and more.

    8.     Cut down on party favors

    Do you ever get little trinkets (like stress balls, mini flashlights, bottle openers) from events that inevitably end up in your junk drawer? Instead of passing out gift bags full of stuff people likely aren’t going to use, think of ways you can share the party experience. Having a few polaroid cameras onhand or setting up a photobooth can provide guests with a simple souvenir and a unique way to remember the night.

    9.     Ask for experience driven gifts or donations

    If you’re hosting a wedding or birthday celebration, make it clear to guests beforehand that you aren’t expecting physical gifts. You could ask guests to donate to your favorite charity or nonprofit, or ask for things like cooking classes, concert tickets, or membership passes.

    10. Communicate with guests!

    Clearly mark the recycling bins and compost bins. Hint: making the trash bin smaller than the others can help people think twice about where items need to go!

    Zero-waste events definitely aren’t zero-fun (sorry, we had to). Let us know if you have any other ideas we can add, or want to share how you created a successful zero waste event for a guest blog post!

  • 2017-12-22 12:00 PM | Anonymous

    Are you still looking for that perfect gift for someone but seem to be all out of ideas? Don’t worry–we’ve got you covered. Instead of buying something new this holiday season, consider repairing or buying refurbished electronics for your loved ones!

    If you’re looking to buy refurbished electronics, be sure to check out Tech DiscountsTech Dump’s retail store. You could also offer the gift of repair, through organizations like Duluth Tech, who specialize in fixing Mac products and computers. They also offer free fix-it clinics to the public, where you can learn to repair your electronics and household items yourself. PC Doodle would also be a great place to get your shattered phone or tablet screen replaced. They offer computer, laptop, phones, and tablet repairs, and if your tech is too big to take to one of their locations, they also offer on-site services (and same day appointments!). Device PitStop has a few different metro locations, and offers computer, laptop, tablet, and smartphone repairs. They also trade, sell, and buy refurbished and repaired devices.

    Many major companies also offer refurbished computers. If you want to go this route, you can shop directly at:

    1. Best Buy Outlet
    2. Apple Certified Refurbished
    3. Dell Outlet
    4. HP Outlet for Business
    5. Amazon Renewed

    If you’re looking for other unique and green gift ideas, the MPCA highlights ways you can give “experiences”–cooking classes, shows, memberships, passes, and more will help you “make memories, not trash”. You can also make other holiday traditions greener, like baking cookies and looking at light neighborhood displays, with this list from the Recyclebank.

    Happy holidays from ReUSE!

  • 2017-12-11 12:00 PM | Anonymous

    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.”

  • 2017-09-11 12:00 PM | Anonymous

    Most people think of the “reduce, reuse, recycle” model when it comes to waste that we view as trash, like plastic bottles, food waste, or broken items. However, this mantra can be applied to EVERYTHING including music! The music industry is a huge part of the economy and popular culture. Here is a guide to how you can be more environmentally conscious when it comes to music!

    First – reduce.

    This means thinking about how you BUY your music and not buying physical music in the first place, if you can avoid it. This is incredibly easy with the advent of digital music! Instead of collecting crates and crates of vinyl albums or CDs and needing specialized players, simply download the music you want and play it through your smartphone. This results in a much lower environmental footprint.

    • A 2010 study (by Christopher Weber, Jonathan Koomey and H. Scott Matthews in Journal of industrial Ecology) showed that downloading an album digitally and playing the files without burning them to a CD at home reduces energy use and greenhouse gas pollution by 80% over buying the music on a CD by e-commerce or retail at a store. (That drops to about 40% savings if you burn a CD at home and put it in a jewel case).
    • Using the digital files with no CD reduces all the impact of manufacturing music CDs & packaging and eliminates the problem of how to get rid of it when you’re done with it. Hit delete and voila! No garbage for recycling, burning, or ending up in a landfill. In addition, it reduces environmental impact overall, as the product does not have to be shipped from the manufacturer, to the retailer and to your home.

    Second – reuse.

    • If you really love to hold your music in your hands, the best options are to burn your own CDs at home from purchased files (see above) and to buy your music second-hand. (This goes for instruments and turntables too). Used record stores have always been around, and environmentally, reuse is the way to go. The Current helps by promoting the state’s great second-hand music opportunities – both on Record Store day and all year long.
    • ReUSE Minnesota is a non-profit that facilitates reuse of just about everything. Their website is a directory that connects Minnesotans to second-hand and reuse businesses in the state. We just launched in October of 2016 and are still building the directory. If Current listeners send us their favorite second-hand music stores, we’ll get them listed! Contact us at or through the website
    • Instruments can be easily bought and sold second hand – through Craigslist, Music Go Round, or other vendors. In fact, most instrument/guitar shops these days buy/sell used instruments as well as selling new. Guitars, because of the valuable hardwoods they use, are great things to buy secondhand.
    • Have a CD or record player that needs a fix? Try a local Fixit Clinic in Hennepin,Dakota, Anoka or Ramsey County. Free, community-based workshops where you bring your broken stuff, and handy volunteers help you fix it up on the spot. I took my broken AIWA cassette player and learned it just needed a set of $14 belts – which I ordered and was then able to install myself. My Commitments soundtrack tape is back in action!
    • If you have music you want to get rid of – don’t trash it – donate, sell, or swap it! Again, has places listed that will buy or accept your used music for donation. Take your stuff to a local second-hand music place like Down in the Valley or a Greener Read dropbox, or donate it to Arc Value Village or Salvation Army. You might also use an online option like or
    • Think you can’t sell your old cassettes? Think again. Like vinyl and tunics over leggings, cassettes are making a comeback in some markets.

    Then we get to recycling. Hopefully you’ve gotten the message that this is the last thing you should do with your music.

    • Hennepin County HHW drop-off facilities accept these media from households (not businesses): DVDs, CDs, pen drives, diskettes, thumb drives, flash drives, media storage cards, Blu-ray discs, and video game cartridges. Jewel cases accepted only if holding DVDs or CDs. (metro counties have reciprocity, so anyone in the metro can bring items to Hennepin, list each county that offers reciprocity).
    • And for a fee – you can get a collection box to ship a variety of “techno-trash” for recycling – but they don’t take vinyl records:  GreenDisk reuses or recycles 99% of what they get.

    Trash. Last, and definitely least, is throwing music in the trash. Cassettes, tapes, and records are allowed in the trash and can be thrown away, but we hope you wouldn’t think of doing this.

    Check out The Growler for more on this subject.

  • 2017-08-15 12:00 PM | Anonymous

    New Re-Users, Hobbyists, and experienced DIYers of all ages can all enjoy ReUSE Minnesota’s section of the Reduce, Reuse, Recycle area at the Eco Experience building. Learn about reuse, rental, and repair from demonstrations of repair techniques and reuse projects set in a Craft/Hobby Room illustrating clever ways to reuse and re-purpose a wide range of items.

    Demonstration times are 10am-noon, 12:30-2:30 p.m., 3:00-5 p.m., and 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. every day of the fair. Activities change daily and include the opportunity to put together your own basic sewing kit, learning basic hand sewing, identifying tools and learning their uses, learning about outdoor gear repair, basics of bike repair, and a walk-through of what happens when technology is thrown away. Each Saturday, Fairgoers can upcycle t-shirts into reusable grocery bags, while Sundays offer sample Fix-It clinics with info on common repairs.

    Join us and become part of the circular economy of reuse!

  • 2017-07-10 12:00 PM | Anonymous

    Guest post by Amanda LaGrange, CEO of Tech Dump and Tech Discounts

    Businesses in the reuse sector face a variety of barriers to success. Some of these challenges, such as managing cash flow and employee retention are shared by businesses of all types. However, other challenges are inherent in our shared mission to extend the material life of goods. For example, Tech Discounts must absorb the ridiculous cost of a specialized fastening screw for a certain fruit-branded phone. Another unique obstacle our sector faces is raising awareness about the whole idea of reuse.

    Most consumers here in the U.S. don’t think of reuse as an option, probably due in part to something called default bias, which is the human tendency to do whatever is easiest and do what’s always been done. In the case of consumer goods, this means throwing items away and buying new things. Overcoming existing behaviors is hard, but it can be done. Look at all the progress that’s been made in promoting recycling in the City of Saint Paul, which introduced alley carts in January 2017 and is now on track to increase the materials collected by 35 percent in the next five years.

    Success is within reach, but the first step is raising awareness about our work!

    In my own field of used electronics, we’re getting better about letting people know about their options, but we need to provide more education. For example, a recent report from the Wisconsin DNR indicated that the percentage of residents who knew where to take old electronics rose from 28 percent in 2013 to 45 percent in 2016, but that still leaves a majority of our neighbors to the east in the dark with a “pile of denial.” In fact, the Wisconsin DNR reported that 48 percent of cell phones in homes around the state were unused in 2016. Those numbers are not unusual. In fact, many consumers hold on to their electronics, especially cellphones; the EPA estimates that only 11% of mobile devices are properly recycled. When I hear those statistics, as an e-waste repair shop and retailer with a commitment to the environment, I think about the number of cellphones and PDAs that could be put back into circulation! On the recycling side, the amount of untapped gold, silver, palladium and copper that could be recovered is mind blowing.

    All those unused devices are why Tech Dump launched Cell Phone Summer, our campaign to collect ONE TON of cell phones between June 10th and Labor Day. The funds raised through recycling and reselling a ton of phones will provide1,000 hours of work for our social enterprise’s employees, which is great, but it’s not the only reason we’re doing the campaign.

    We also created Cell Phone Summer to raise awareness about recycling and reusing mobile devices. Despite all our traditional marketing and communications efforts – advertising, social media, google SEO, media relations, etc. – there were still plenty of people with old electronics that didn’t know about us. We needed to try something new to get them to bring in their stuff, so we launched the campaign. We’re placing Paul Bunyan and Babe collection bins around the metro, our staff is appearing at key summer events, and we’re hosting our own shindigs. We’re also engaging our networks in sharing information about Cell Phone Summer. (Hint: You can help us by Tweeting, Instagramming and on Facebook using the hashtag #CellPhoneSummer.) We’ll finish up in the Eco Experience at the Minnesota State Fair. I look forward to seeing all of you there and discussing your plans for raising awareness about the work your organization does and the great potential of the reuse sector!

Reuse Minnesota was founded in 2012 and is a member-based nonprofit that supports repair, resale, and rental businesses, bringing visibility to the reuse sector as a means to lower our state's impact on the environment.

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