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Join us at our February Member Meeting!

Posted By Administration, Friday, January 25, 2019
Updated: Thursday, May 30, 2019


Join us at Eureka Recycling for our February Member Meeting! Enjoy a tour of their Material Recovery Facility, a discussion of the happenings of the reuse community, networking with people in the reuse sector, and a tasty lunch courtesy of our host.

The meeting will be on Tuesday, February 26, from 11:00 am - 1:00 pm at Eureka Recycling in Minneapolis. RSVP here or call 612-352-9119 to reserve yourself a spot.

As a zero waste demonstration and lab, touring Eureka Recycling's Material Recovery Facility (or MRF for short) shows you how recyclable materials are collected, separated, and then sold – all within the framework of a triple bottom line business and a locally-focused social enterprise model. On the tour we’ll also talk about how reuse fits into Eureka Recycling’s zero-waste vision and how reuse benefit recycling facilities. We’ll learn more about how recycling impacts our community, our local economy, and the environment. Please wear closed toed shoes if you plan on joining the tour. Also note that parking is limited, so we recommend carpooling or taking transit when possible. Limited spots are available to the right as you enter the facility both to the north of the office building and directly in front of it. Street parking is available on Kennedy Street as well.

This is the quarterly meeting for members of ReUSE Minnesota to network, discuss the happenings of the reuse community, and meet new people in the Reuse sector.

The event is open to everyone interested in reuse–you don't have to be a member to join us!


Tags:  meeting  quarterly meeting 

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Your clothes can say a lot about you. Do you like what they’re saying?

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, November 14, 2018
Updated: Friday, May 31, 2019

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.

Tags:  Do It Green! Minnesota  GGF  green gifts fair 

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Catch ReUSE Minnesota at the State Fair!

Posted By Administration, Thursday, July 26, 2018
Updated: Thursday, May 30, 2019

 Catch ReUSE Minnesota at the State Fair!


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.

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Become a ReUSE Minnesota Ambassador!

Posted By Administration, Monday, July 2, 2018
Updated: Thursday, May 30, 2019

Are you passionate about saving our planet for future generations? What about helping others realize how they can reuse more and conserve resources? Then you'd be the perfect ReUSE Minnesota Ambassador.

Our mission at ReUSE Minnesota is to support sustainable living and prevent waste by connecting people to local, thrifty, and eco-friendly reused goods and reuse-related services.

We're building a team of volunteer ambassadors that will help us spread the power of reuse to organizations and individuals throughout the state. There are a few different ways you can get involved, including...

  • Staffing the ReUSE Minnesota table at events like the Minnesota State Fair and the Green Gift Fair
  • Organizing and participating in short info sessions for people who want to learn more about how they can reuse, repair, and rent
  • Helping recruit new ReUSE Minnesota member organizations
  • Writing blogs for our website and quarterly newsletter

Give as much or as little time as you like–choose just one or a few of these activities! Or, if you have different ideas about how your unique skills could contribute to the ambassador team, let us know.


Have questions about becoming an ambassador? Contact Annie Pottorff.

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UPDATED - ReUSE Minnesota Request for Proposals (RFP) For Association Management Services

Posted By Administration, Monday, May 14, 2018
Updated: Thursday, May 16, 2019

ReUSE MN is seeking proposals from association management companies with the values and talent required to implement and complete the activities outlined in the Environmental Trust Fund proposal (included in this RFP). NOTE: The award of this association management contract is contingent on the Legislature fully funding the grant proposal. Historically, the Legislature makes its decisions by June 1 st.

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Our Favorite Fix-It Stories

Posted By Administration, Monday, March 12, 2018
Updated: Thursday, May 16, 2019

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!

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ReUSE Minnesota February Member Meeting

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, February 7, 2018
Updated: Thursday, May 30, 2019
Join us at the ReUSE Minnesota Member Meeting!
Tuesday, February 13, 2018
11:00 AM - 1:00 PM
University of Minnesota Reuse Program Warehouse

883 29th Ave SE Minneapolis, MN 55414

Hello Members and Friends of ReUSE Minnesota!

Our member meeting is coming up next Tuesday, February 13 at the U of M ReUSE program warehouse, located at 883 29th Ave SE, Minneapolis.

Join us for lunch, networking, and a tour of the warehouse! We're excited to hear a presentation from member Steve Pincuspy, of PaintCare MN. Steve is an environmental professional with over 15 years of experience working in hazardous waste site remediation, pesticide reduction, and green building programs. If you have food allergies or preferences, please email to let us know. We're happy to accommodate all requests. We'll also have water available, so please bring your reusable water bottle to refill–we're aiming for a zero waste event. Parking instructions are available here.

I look forward to seeing everyone!

Your President,
Todd Tanner

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Make it yours without making waste

Posted By Administration, Monday, February 5, 2018
Updated: Thursday, May 30, 2019

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!


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!

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Give Green Tech this Holiday Season

Posted By Administration, Friday, December 22, 2017
Updated: Friday, May 31, 2019

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 Discounts, Tech 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!

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Newly elected and reelected board members talk about reuse.

Posted By Administration, Monday, December 11, 2017
Updated: Friday, May 31, 2019

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?

1. 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 doyou 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”

2. 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.

3. 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:

4. 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.”

5. 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.”

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