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Forgivable loans available through COVID-19 Paycheck Protection Program

Posted By Jen Newberg, Thursday, April 2, 2020

Reuse, repair and rental business owners:

You are a valuable part of the reuse community and we want to help you weather this crisis.  We know that like you, your employees are invested in the circular economy so we want to share this opportunity to support you and your teams.

Consider taking advantage of the forgivable loan program to bridge your businesses and staff for the coming months through the Small Business Association Paycheck Protection Program.  Loans become available Friday, April 3, 2020 and there will be high demand.  Our local advisors recommend that you get your application to your business bank Friday or as soon as possible.

U.S. Small Business Association (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)

Tags:  advocacy  building material reuse  circular ecomony  Do It Green! Minnesota  fair repair  fast fashion  network  repair  reuse  reuse minnesota  reusemn  right to repair  thrift  volunteer 

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Get involved with Right to Repair

Posted By Jen Newberg, Wednesday, January 29, 2020

**From our Partners at MN Right to Repair Coalition**

In the 1st half of the biennial session, the MN Right to Repair Coalition advanced Digital Fair Repair bill (HF 1138/SF 1077) to the floor of the MN House of Reps, but it didn't get a vote.

That means there's work to do in 2020 if we want to:

1) get a vote from the full House of Reps and
2) move Right to Repair in the Senate. Join to learn how you can support this important effort.

Monday, February 3, 2020

Join the call via:
Google Meeting
Phone - (‪US)‪+1 386-628-0297 PIN: ‪221 422#

Questions?  Contact Tim Schaefer (MN coalition lead):

Tags:  right to repair 

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Measuring the Impact of Reuse

Posted By Brio Marketing, Monday, January 27, 2020
Reuse, rental, and repair businesses make an impact on their community, and ReUSE Minnesota is working on measuring it. The stories of our economic, environmental, and social impact, when supplemented with data, are persuasive tools for advertising and advocacy.

This week, we are kicking off this project with a quick 2-minute survey. We are asking all reuse, rental, and repair businesses in Minnesota to complete a survey, telling us a little bit about each business' activities, staff, mission, and the impact it is making.

Businesses that participate will receive an Impact Report that provides some insights to the initial measurements, as well as a strategy guide for using stories to promote and advocate for business. 

Click here for more information and instructions for taking this survey.

Tags:  advocacy  circular ecomony  impact  reuse  reusemn 

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A New Kind of Library - Minneapolis Toy Library

Posted By Rebecca Merrill, Monday, January 6, 2020
Did you know? The Minneapolis Toy Library is a lending program for families with children ages birth - 5 years. Like a book library, you can check out toys, take them home for up to 4 weeks, and then exchange them for new ones when you return!

With a mission to reduce waste, promote development, and build community, the Minnesota Toy Library offers a sliding scale for their annual membership ($40-$100) depending on what works best for your family.

Located in the basement of the Richfield Lutheran Church, the toy library offers an opportunity for families to connect with one another while supporting their child(ren)’s development through play and reducing their impact on the environment.

Toys are broken up into categories:
*Board Games
*Dramatic Play
*Fine Motor
*Large Motor
*Math and Cognitive
*Science and Sensory
*Toy Library Kits (this includes our trip kits and birthday kits) 

Here are some helpful tips for your first visit:
*They accept cash, check or credit 
*You'll fill out a digital membership form at the library
*Consider signing up for our volunteer membership for only $20 (check out the details on the membership page!)
*Bring a large bag to haul your toys home
*There is a small flight of stairs you have to go down - leave strollers outside or right inside the doors

Check out for more information!

 Attached Thumbnails:

Tags:  circular ecomony  network  reuse  reuse minnesota  reusemn  volunteer  volunteers 

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#ReUSEMN19 Conference Highlights

Posted By Jen Newberg, Thursday, November 14, 2019

ReUSE Minnesota’s first regional conference was a hit! 118 attendees gathered at the Humphrey School Conference Center on November 4th for a day of speaker sessions, exhibitor tables, conversation, and networking. If you weren’t able to join, we’ve provided some highlights below, and also loaded the presentation materials on our website.

Plenary - Keynote

o   Dr. Tim Smith, University of MN  |  Rethinking Reuse - The Good, the bad, and the ugly

The GOOD: In most cases it’s environmentally beneficial to reuse products and materials (with a few exceptions, of course) given the impact of manufacturing and production. Circular economic policies and trends in the sharing economy are likely to enhance the growth and influence of reuse platforms.

The BAD: Few products are designed for reuse or leased ownership – barriers continue to exist with inventory management and psychological barriers to reuse.

The UGLY: It’s complicated – policies and platforms need to:

  • Remove barriers to access for circularity
  • Create incentives and efficiencies to counter non-substitutability
  • Counter effects of increased direct and indirection consumption (rebounds)

Speaker Track - Reuse, Rental, Repair Business Development & Operations

 o   Launching a Reuse Business – Getting Started, Challenges You’ll Encounter, & How to Grow  |  Christian Chamberlin (r.Cup)

With 4 billion single-use plastic cups being used and wasted every year at concerts and other live events, there’s a clear opportunity for improvement. r.Cup is an exciting example of a company that saw an unsustainable practice, and made great strides in changing the system with a reusable option. After having a great idea, however, the challenge is making sure the system doesn’t pull it back into unsustainable territory. The value of reuse is keeping the circularity of take, use, return, repeat!

o   Relationship Marketing Workshop  |  Grant Henry & Emma Tuftin (Brio Marketing) ; Cap O’Rourke (O’Rourke Strategic Consulting)

Brio Marketing specializes in helping nonprofits and social enterprises develop holistic marketing strategies, and is working with ReUSE Minnesota to make that story come alive about the reuse, rental, and repair sector. Over the next year they will be helping identify marketing goals, audience, and “motion,” the ingredients that build and strengthen authentic relationships between businesses and the people who support them. Are you ready to re-energize, align, and super-charge your marketing?

o   Evaluating the Hennepin County Choose to Reuse Program  | Kristin Pierskalla & Angie Timmons (Hennepin County Enviro & Energy)
In the fall of 2018, Hennepin County sought out proposals for community engagement for two projects. One was for consumer research, including conducting focus groups, to better understand barriers and benefits related to purchasing behaviors to help the county market programs that encourage actions to prevent waste and reuse materials. The second was to develop a 5 year marketing campaign strategy for the county to implement, looking for a strategic approach and new ideas to reinvigorate the Choose to Reuse campaign. There are exciting similarities between this program and ReUSE Minnesota’s efforts – seems like a great partnership going forward.

Speaker Track - Policies to Promote Reuse & Grassroots Programming
o   Fair Repair Legislative Session in Review & Upcoming  |  Tim Schaefer (MN Fair Repair Coalition)

Current environmental policy focuses more on remediation and end-of-life, but Fair Repair is shifting the conversation upstream. It seeks to improve access, represented by a broad and diverse coalition, and also return more autonomous ownership to citizens. Our society has shifted away from a repair economy and skillset, but fair repair will require electronics manufacturers provide repair manuals, diagnostic software, and replacement parts and hardware are available!   

o   New Food Code Regarding Returnables & Reusables  |  Sarah Leach (MN Dept of Health) & Nicole Albrecht (MN Dept of Agriculture) 

State statute defines “bulk food,” meaning what foods a consumer can buy in a non-standardized quantity in a self-service fill station, based on its water content, PH levels, and whether it is likely to transfer foodborne illnesses. Food code then defines how bulk food stations need to be designed and when it’s ok for consumers to bring their own containers. It’s very detailed and complicated – check out their presentation to walk through different scenarios you may encounter!

o   Before Recycling: A Municipal Approach to Reuse  |  Emily Barker (City of St. Louis Park)   

Swap it out! St. Louis Park is an excellent example of how reuse can be integrated into existing solid waste management programming at the city level, most notably through their swaps. From clothing swaps to gardening swaps, their efforts cover a broad spectrum. Join them for their upcoming Media & Entertainment swap on January 22nd.

o   Community Rental Through Creative Library Programs  |  Olivia Hedlund (Anoka Library) 

We all know we can check out books and CDs at the library, but did you know you can check out elaborate board games, baking supplies, book club in a bag, outdoor park activity packs, wifi hotspots? The world of [almost always] free rental is being blown wide open by your local libraries. Why own something you only occasionally use when you can have this much variety and a smaller environmental footprint in the process?!

Speaker Track - Environmental & Social Impacts of Reuse
o   Reuse & Sustainability in the Arts and Culture Sector [PANEL]  |  Mary McReynolds (Lyric Center for the Arts), Pete Pellinen (Small Parts Players Children's Theater Company), & Alicia Wold (Costume Rentals, Guthrie Theater) 

Within the arts, the size of organization matters – in smaller organizations reuse can be easier, and even critical, to incorporate into day-to-day operations due to limited budgets and material needs. Larger arts organizations often need more rigid structures, resourcing, and management support to incorporate reuse. However, with the right staff and storage space, it becomes more feasible. The greatest benefit of reuse in the arts is the access for others to use and share materials. What’s more it’s supporting how the arts provide a creative medium for educating on reuse, particularly to youth.

o    Measuring & Communicating Impacts of Reuse [PANEL]  |  Sam Drong (TechDump), Jennifer Victor-Larsen (Donate Good Stuff), & Thomas Adams (Better Futures)

It’s challenging to measure impacts of reuse in a business/organization, because tools haven’t been developed yet to show the multi-layer benefits to community, the economy, and the environment. Additionally, the cost of tracking and reporting on metrics needed to quantify the impacts is difficult for many reuse organizations that are small and/or non-profits and need to prioritize operational costs. It will be key to continue developing these tools since measurable impacts are critical for grant and funding applications.

o   #MainstreamReuse & Data-Based Arguments for Shifting the Conversation  |  Julie Kearns (Junket)

While there’s a lot of data available that shows the immense social, financial, and environmental benefits of reuse, the next steps is using it to catalyze change. Life cycle analysis of consumer products is key to understand the environmental impacts from cradle to grave. We need to shift the cultural aversion to reuse and incorporate it into all aspects of life in order to adequately tackle the climate crisis.

o   ReUSE Minnesota’s Plans for Social, Environmental, & Economic Reporting  |  Grant Henry & Emma Tuftin (Brio Marketing)

Over the past couple months, Brio Marketing has been conducting interviews to narrow the scope of the social, environmental, and economic reporting they’ll do for ReUSE Minnesota about the reuse, rental, and repair sectors across the state. Through these measures, they will help the organization highlight the value story of its existence and all of the players in the system.

Conference Interactive Debrief – Building the Reuse Movement
Conference attendees joined together at the end of the day to share their main take-away from the conference and brainstorm next steps to keep momentum going for the “reuse movement.” Check out the word cloud capturing main themes from this energizing session! 

 Attached Thumbnails:

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Re-imagining reuse: The role of reuse network facilitators

Posted By Jen Newberg, Friday, November 8, 2019
Updated: Thursday, November 7, 2019

On November 15th, ReUSE Minnesota will be featured in a panel during the Ellen MacArthur Foundation's online Disruptive Innovation Festival (DIF). Steve Thomas, ReUSE MN board member, was invited to participate in a panel led by students from Bard's MBA in Sustainability. These students developed a toolkit for network facilitators to enable circular economy innovation and collaboration within reuse organization networks, and are looking to discuss approaches for re-imaging donation, repair, and reuse.

Along with ReUSE Minnesota, Furniture Link and Austin Creative Reuse will be represented. This session will highlight the essential role of reuse network facilitators in the circular economy through motivating, inspiring, and encouraging other reuse organizations to innovate, create circular value, and strengthen their communities.

Mark your calendars to listen in on this event using the link included below.

When: Friday, November 15th - 10:30AM - 11:00AM CST

Where: Online - click this link to join

About the Disruptive Innovation Festival (DIF): The Ellen MacArthur Foundation's DIF is an interactive online event series that aims to shift mindsets and inspire action towards a circular economy by sharing and exploring disruptive ideas and stories across a range of topics.

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation is a non-profit organization who works with business, government and academia to build a framework for an economy that is restorative and regenerative by design.

Tags:  ambassadors  built environment  circular ecomony  Ellen MacArthur Foundation  fair repair  fast fashion  network  repair  reuse  reuse minnesota  reusemn  thrift 

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The True Cost screening - Thursday, October 24

Posted By Jen Newberg, Tuesday, October 15, 2019

The True Cost is a story about clothing. It’s about the clothes we wear, the people who make them, and the impact the industry is having on our world. The price of clothing has been decreasing for decades, while the human and environmental costs have grown dramatically. The True Cost is a groundbreaking documentary film that pulls back the curtain on the untold story and asks us to consider, who really pays the price for our clothing?

Join ReUSE Minnesota board member, Steve Thomas, on the evening of Thursday, October 24 for a free screening of The True Cost, a documentary exposing the global cost of fast fashion.

Thursday, October 24 7-9 PM

St. Thomas More School auditorium
1065 Summit Ave.St. Paul, MN 55105
parking and entrance at the back (north side) of the school

Filmed in countries all over the world, from the brightest runways to the darkest slums, and featuring interviews with the world’s leading influencers including Stella McCartney, Livia Firth and Vandana Shiva, The True Cost is an unprecedented project that invites us on an eye opening journey around the world and into the lives of the many people and places behind our clothes.

Learn more about The True Cost at


Download File (PDF)

Tags:  fast fashion  reuse  reuse minnesota  reusemn  thrift 

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Call for Board of Director Nominations

Posted By Jen Newberg, Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Interested in serving on the ReUSE Minnesota Board of Directors?


If you are interested in being a part of the ReUSE MN Board of Directors, email a short bio and answers to the following questions to (Subject line: Nomination) no later than Friday, November 8, 2019.

1.       Why do you want to serve on the ReUSE MN Board of Directors?

2.       What skills will you bring to the ReUSE MN Board of Directors (volunteer coordination, recruitment, budgeting, grant writing, public speaking, strategic planning, etc.)?

3.       What is your relevant experience with reuse and sustainability (prior board service, business ownership, working with non-profits, etc.)?

The Board of Directors is charged with control of management of the affairs, business, and properties of ReUSE Minnesota. The Board of Directors has fiduciary and strategic responsibility for the organization. All those serving on the Board of Directors must be dues-paying Members in good standing. Board Members serve a 2-year term.

ReUSE Minnesota Board of Directors...

  • Demonstrate commitment to and enthusiasm for reuse, repair and rental in daily life
  • Desire to connect more reuse businesses and build a stronger network
  • Meet 2 hours per month at Board Meetings completing necessary preparation or follow up outside of meeting times
  • Give 5-10 hours per month to ReUSE MN which may include but is not limited to: staffing event booths, giving promotional talks, visiting reuse-focused businesses, helping with internal administration work
  • Serve on 1-2 committees, in addition to the Board of Directors
  • Attend and help facilitate quarterly Member Meetings
  • Lead initiatives and complete associated assigned tasks; follow through on commitments
  • Participate collaboratively in frank discussions about the mission, vision, initiatives, and work of ReUSE MN

The Board of Directors is made up of 4 Officers: President, Vice President, Treasurer, and Secretary as well as Board Members at Large.

President: The President shall be the Chief Executive Officer of ReUSE MN and shall preside as Chairman at all meetings of the Board of Directors and of the Members. The President shall see that the rules of order and decorum are properly enforced in all deliberations of ReUSE MN and shall sign the approved minutes of each meeting. The President shall have general superintendence and direction of all of the other Officers of ReUSE MN and shall see that their duties are properly performed.

Vice President: The Vice President shall preside as Chairman at all meetings of the Board of Directors in the absence of the President. The Vice President shall perform such other duties as the Board of Directors may direct.

Treasurer: The Treasurer shall supervise all dues collections and the accounts of ReUSE MN; shall ensure that full and accurate accounting records are maintained at all times; and shall present such reports, including an annual report of ReUSE MN’s financial condition, as the Board of Directors may direct. The Treasurer shall perform such other duties as may be prescribed by the Board of Directors or the President.

Secretary: The Secretary shall keep minutes of all meetings of the Board of Directors and of the Members; shall attend all sessions of the Board of Directors; shall report unfinished business requiring action from prior meetings; shall supervise correspondence of ReUSE MN; and shall give, or cause to be given, notice of all meetings of the Board of Directors.

Management HQ, ReUSE MN’s Association Management Company, works closely with and supports all Board of Directors Officers and Members at Large in their work and the overarching initiatives of ReUSE MN.

Directors are expected to be actively involved in 1-2 committees: Finance & Fundraising, Membership, or Education & Communication.

Finance & Fundraising Committee: Oversees the budget and all financial matters of ReUSE MN.

Membership Committee: Develops member retention and recruitment strategies and plans quarterly Member Meetings, the Annual Meeting, and occasional events to highlight ReUSE MN businesses.

Education & Communication Committee: Organizes ReUSE MN presence at workshops, fairs, and other events. Seeks opportunities for ReUSE MN to reach businesses and potential members and guides annual communications plan.


If you have any questions about ReUSE Minnesota, or the Board of Directors election process, please email or call (612) 352-9119.

Tags:  board 

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Join ReUSE Minnesota at our first regional conference

Posted By Jen Newberg, Monday, September 9, 2019

Join ReUSE Minnesota at our first regional conference


ReUSE Minnesota has been busy building a reuse movement statewide, and we’re excited to launch our first ever regional conference! The day will be an energizing gathering for our incredible community to connect and strengthen Minnesota’s reuse, rental, and repair sectors. Here’s everything you need to know about the conference on Monday, November 4th, 2019.

Where will it be?

The conference will at the Humphrey School Conference Center at the University of Minnesota

What will the day look like?

You can check out the schedule-at-a-glance here. Like a typical conference, you’ll hear an inspiring keynote address, break into your first session, eat lunch and view the tabling exhibits, attend the next two sessions, and finally, talk with your old and new friends over drinks and snacks at the networking happy hour. We will announce our speakers soon, and update our online schedule and this post. 

Who should attend?

The conference is open to everyone interested in reuse. Here are a few example attendees::

  • Reuse business owners. This may include more businesses than you think! People who work in repurposing, upcycling, remanufacturing, deconstruction, second-hand stores, tool and toy rentals, electronics repair, antiques, and much more.

  • People interested in starting a reuse business. One of the presentations will focus on how to start a reuse business, and another will focus on effective marketing and retail strategies - come learn some best practices and next steps!

  • Policymakers and local government leaders. We need reuse legislation to reinforce these practices, and establish them as the norm for businesses and consumers across the state. HF 1138 passed out of two Minnesota House committees this session, and came very close to getting the first floor vote on Right to Repair legislation nationwide. At the conference we’ll discuss existing and anticipated policies,  and how to most effectively integrate reuse into municipal programs.

  • Reuse activists and advocates. More sessions will explore how to measure the impacts of reuse, including its social, economic, and environmental effects..

Okay, I’m there. How do I register?

In Minnesota alone, there are over 7,000 reuse, repair, and rental businesses and organizations. You’re invited to support the growth of these industries and connect with the people making reuse happen at our 2019 conference! Register here.

Take advantage of early bird rates through September 30!

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New ReUSE Minnesota Executive Director Announcement

Posted By Administration, Thursday, August 29, 2019
I am pleased to announce that Management HQ (MHQ), ReUSE Minnesota’s association management partner, has hired a permanent executive director to serve ReUSE Minnesota (ReUSE).  Jen Newberg began her work as the ReUSE Executive Director on Monday, August 12, 2019.

After a deliberate and thorough search process, we are pleased to announce the selection of Jen to lead ReUSE.  She shares our vision of a strong Minnesota reuse economy, and she has extensive experience in leadership and development positions with social service nonprofits.

Prior to her selection as the ReUSE Executive Director, Jen served as the Director of Development for Episcopal Homes Foundation of Minnesota; Director of Individual and Planned Giving for YWCA Minneapolis; and Director of Philanthropy Services at Allina Health.

Jen says of the opportunity to serve as Executive Director of ReUSE “I’m authentically interested in supporting the strategic vision and leading the operations of ReUSE Minnesota. So far, my career has focused on creating positive change in the world through philanthropy and ReUSE Minnesota builds on that by engaging Minnesotans in creating change through more sustainable living.”

In her fundraising roles she has worked closely with board members and committee volunteers in developing relationships, visioning goals, project and budget planning, supporting volunteers in decision-making and holding teams accountable to project milestones.

With a solid leadership team selected, I am confident that ReUSE will expand our mission to drive forward reuse in our communities.

Jenny Kedward, Board of Directors President
ReUSE Minnesota

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