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ReUSE2020 National [virtual] Conference Highlights

Posted By Annika Bergen, Monday, July 27, 2020
ReUSE Minnesota’s first virtual conference, ReUSE2020, was a big success! 212 attendees joined from around the country (and Canada!) for this 2 day reuse-centered event. If you weren’t able to join, we’ve created a quick summary of the highlights…

Conference Day 1  |  July 13th, 2020

  • ReUSE2020 Opening Keynote
    Internationally recognized for his polar expeditions, Will Steger showed another side of his work during the ReUSE2020 opening keynote. Steger shared about his upbringing and the critical role reuse has played throughout his life. He also gave a detailed overview of his Ely wilderness center, which is built entirely using sustainable materials (most of which are reused!). The Will Steger Wilderness Center is “designed to activate our understanding of what it means to be interdependent—with each other, with our earth and as a society.”
  • 1st Break-Out Sessions
    • Session A: My Electronics, My Rights... To Repair
      Panelists: Amanda LaGrange, Tech Dump/Tech Discounts; Tim Schaefer, Environment Minnesota; Kyle Wiens, iFixit
      This three person panel broke down the issues we currently see in the world of electronics, from design through end-of-use. The "Right to Repair" movement works to ensure consumers, repair shops, and others have full access to the tools and parts they need to extend the life of electronics. While many have long known the environmental benefits of repair and reuse, we are in critical moments to make urgent progress. The urgency of repair goes beyond repairing "stuff" and expands to repairing our communities impacted by COVID-19 and systemic racism.
    • Session B: Reuse Centers People Are Talking About
      Presenters: Lori Blais, Western Lake Superior Sanitary District & Diane Cohen, Finger Lakes ReUse, Inc.
      Reuse, the too-often-overlooked middle in the Reduce Reuse Recycle mobius, has enormous promise as a low-investment, high-return skill-building job-generating initiative that every community might begin considering in order to develop a better catchment system for valuable materials and conduit into meaningful careers. While The WLSSD and Fingers Lakes ReUse models are quite different, this combined session showed two great examples of reuse centers that should be recreated in other communities. 
    • Session C: There's Money to be Made! Finances of Building Reuse 
      Presenters: Olivia Cashman, Hennepin County Environment & Energy; Mayur Dankhara & Jessica Marschall, The Green Mission Inc.
      One of the main hurdles identified with building deconstruction over demolition is the added cost of skilled labor. However, there are clear opportunities for government entities to help offset the cost upfront, and also ways for individuals, pass-through entities, and corporate taxpayers to take advantage of deductions following material donations. This panel did a fantastic job of introducing a MN-based grant opportunity for deconstruction, and then diving into the financial weeds of how to take advantage of deductions when you deconstruct as a part of your projects.
    • Session D: Power to the [Sustainability] People: Psychology of Zero Waste
      Presenters: Alyssa Erding, Charlee Gorham, Dr. Christie Manning & Norah Ntagungira, Macalester College
      This staff and student team from Macalester College in St. Paul, MN used their experiences of zero waste at the school, to more broadly talk about the movement and connections to our habits and behaviors. We live in a time of multiple environmental and health crises: air pollution, climate change, plastic pollution in the oceans, and the global coronavirus pandemic. Each of these crises comes with deep inequities in both who contributes most and who bears the greatest burden. From a psychological lens, we argue that these problems are human behavior problems, and thus crafting effective solutions requires starting with the underlying human behaviors.
  • 2nd Break-Out Sessions
    • Session E: Try This On for Size: Textile Reuse 
      Presenters: Kristen McCoy, RETHINK Tailoring & Anita Stetch, Cut Loose Creations
      There is no question that the fashion and textile industries have significant environmental and social impacts. Yet, these industries play a big role in how we define and identify ourselves, and how we socialize with others - it's easy to get overwhelmed with knowing how to improve and make a shift to more sustainable fashion. Often times the best place to start is by working with what you already have. During this session, two expert textile reusers and fashion upcyclers shared how they transform reused garments, and emphasize the need to change how we buy and dispose of clothing. Welcome to the future of fashion!
    • Session F: Positive & Productive Prevention Policies, Programs, and Plans
      Presenters: Kyle Diesner, City of Portland, Bureau of Planning and Sustainability & Heather Trim, Zero Waste Washington 
      Sustainable consumption and waste prevention have a strong foundation in grassroots efforts, but there is a clear need for permanent policies, programs, and government action plans to help advance our society's transition. During this session, Diesner gave a specific overview of consumption based emissions and climate action planning at the City of Portland, while Trim took the audience on a reuse and waste reduction policy tour. The move from just focusing on end-of-life, and instead shifting to sustainable consumption and production is key!
    • Session G: It's Like Baking a Cake: The Right Ingredients for Successful Reuse Systems & Operations
      Panelists: Tim Debus, Reusable Packaging Association; Thomas Fecarotta, Rheaply; Norm Ruttan, iWasteNot Systems
      What are the conditions to scale circular systems? What are some of the critical factors needed to operationalize reuse at a small or large scale? The challenges range from knowing where supply and demand exists, effectively using data and technology, and recognizing the environmental and economic potential. Debus shared about the work of the Reusable Packaging Association and the opportunities and growth continuing in this space, while Fecarotta and Ruttan shared about two great platforms that exist to help with furthering reuse and asset inventory management/sharing. A lot can happen with tech solutions coming into the reuse economy!
    • Session H: Do It Yourself! Community-Centered Reuse Organizations
      Panelists: Katie Carpenter, Perennial; Thomas Ebert, MN Tool Library; Natalie Heneghan, Rethos: Places Reimagined; Kate Hersey, MN Tool Library; Rebecca Nutter, Minneapolis Toy Library
      Some of the most impactful reuse efforts are coming through local organizations that focus on meeting community needs through skills development, lending libraries, and gift economies. Not only do these approaches reduce waste, they help groups of people with different backgrounds and experiences connect, offer access and financial savings, and empower people to make sustainable choices. Each of these awesome panelists shared about their organization’s efforts to educate, share, and get creative – reuse happens everywhere, in your home projects, when you share tools and toys, and when you upcycle materials that already exist.

Conference Day 2  |  July 14th, 2020

  • 3rd Break-Out Sessions
    • Session I: It's in the Bag! Reusable Products that Make Sense
      Panelists: Natasha Gaffer, Forever Ware; Chad Lundahl, GOATOTE; Renee Lundahl, GOATOTE; Michael Martin, Effect Partners and r.Cup
      The retirement of unnecessary single-use products is long overdue, and there are so many fantastic reusable products out there to prove it. COVID-19 has put reuse in a challenging position, but there are clear facts and systems that exist to keep reuse safe and relevant in uncertain times. During this session, three fascinating products were introduced to the audience – Forever Ware to-go containers, GOATOTE shopping bags, and r.Cup event/stadium beverage containers.
    • Session J: Value This: Successful Grant Opportunities from Coast to Coast
      Presenters: Marie Diodati, Oregon Department of Environmental Quality Materials Management Program & Erin Victor, Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection
      State environmental agencies adopting approaches that recognize the value of materials management and sustainable consumption act as strong partners for reuse, rental, and repair businesses and organizations. Diodati shared about how the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality is launching another round of reuse and repair grants, and Victor shared about the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection’s reuse and waste reduction micro grants. There were also multiple panelists from both states that wer a part of grants programs and have systems-changing approaches progressing the reuse movement.
    • Session K: The House that Deconstruction & Building Material Reuse Opportunities Built
      Panelists: Dave Bennink, Re-Use Consulting; Kelley Carmichael Casey, Grassroots Funding; Andrew Ellsworth, Doors Unhinged, LLC; Alejandro Arce Gomez; GCI and Madrone Construction Resources
      It's been clear for quite some time that we need more advanced solutions to protect and promote the reuse industry. Recent events have made that even more apparent. Within the building sector, deconstruction and material salvage have a lot of opportunities, both in the residential and commercial space. Learn about new innovations in deconstruction overall with job training and assistance to reuse businesses, and also dive into the specifics around the importance of commercial material recovery & reuse, the state of the nascent commercial decon & reuse field, and new opportunities for growth and impact.
    • Session L: How to A.C.E. Reuse through Art, Community, and Education
      Panelists: Emily Barker, Buy Nothing St. Louis Park / City of St. Louis Park; Jamie Facciola, Furniturecycle; Amy Maas, Hennepin County Environment & Energy 
      Industries need to make drastic changes, but never underestimate the power of individuals committing to sustainable habits and creativity. The changes we make in how we eat, how we purchase, how we care for pets, how we share with neighbors, and how we translate actions to art add up to quickly make a big difference. Barker talked about the Buy Nothing Project, which is all about community and neighborhood sharing, Facciola introduced the audience to her creative documentation through Furniturecycle, and Maas overviewed the Zero Waste Challenge in Hennepin County to teach residents the importance of sustainable consumption.
  • Coffee Chat Roundtables
    • Session M: Food Packaging is the "Wurst." But Wait, REUSE!
      Facilitator: Alex Eaves, STAY VOCAL 
      Food packaging unquestionably serves a purpose in a lot of cases, but it is also often a primary example of unnecessary waste and wasted resources. Fortunately, there are reuse solutions happening around the world to combat this problem. Eaves led a lively discussion and shared about how he lives his life in the spirit of reuse.
    • Session N: What Do We Want? Environmental Justice! When Do We Want It? Many Years Ago!
      Facilitators: Alison Lange & Sasha Lewis-Norelle, MN350
      The environmental movement has historically revolved around protecting “wilderness areas” and conserving resources for future generations. For decades, these efforts have almost exclusively been for the benefit of white Americans, leaving poorer and marginalized communities to suffer disproportionately from the effects of pollution, resource depletion, dangerous jobs, limited access to common resources, and exposure to environmental hazards. Environmental justice is recognizing the many inherent structural components and active agents that have created these disparities and working to create a more equitable environmental experience for all. Lange & Lewis-Norelle hosted an informative and though-provoking session aiming to identify many of the environmental injustices associated with current events, especially in relation to racial justice and COVID-19.
    • Session O: The Building Blocks of the Circular Building Sector 
      Facilitators: Joe Connell, Square Nail Consulting & Melissa Wenzel, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
      The industries that make up our built environment have been working in silos for generations, operating with linear systems that build new and demolish structures at an alarming pace. However, we can identify key problems and tangible solutions to preserving buildings, reusing building materials, and keeping valuable, usable C&D materials out of the landfill. Connell and Wenzel prompted participants with interactive polls before going into a lively discussion about solutions to push for systems change in our building sectors.
    • Session P: Patching a Leaky Bucket: Moving from Repair Cafes to Systemic Change
      Facilitator: Alice Henry, Share Reuse Repair Initiative
      Repair has long been a part of our individual lives and communities, but repair has also faced a lot of challenges over recent decades with increasing planned obsolescence and consumerism, and a decline in practiced repair skills. Henry walked the participants through the broader repair context before breaking into smaller group discussions to consider how policy, communities, and organizations can leverage and support repair going forward.
  • ReUSE2020 Closing Keynote
    Sam Grant, executive director at MN350, closed the entire conference with his thought-provoking and timely address on democratizing circularity. The reuse movement is making the same mistakes as the broader environmental movement, in which there are still people and places considered less valuable than others. Grant emphasized to conference attendees that we need to co-create a circular economy without recirculating racism. “2020-2030 is the zero decade for climate justice, and this necessitates making it also the zero decade for zero waste!”

ReUSE2020 Trivia Winners
  • 1st place: Nancy Drumheller
  • 2nd place: Julie Mooney
  • 3rd place: Emily Neuharth

Tags:  ambassadors  avoid single-use  building material reuse  circular ecomony  climate justice  Do It Green! Minnesota  environmental justice  fair repair  network  Omforme Design  policy  reuse  reuse minnesota  reusemn  Rovan Handcrafted Furniture  salvaged  zero waste 

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Position Open: Arc Value Village

Posted By Jen Newberg, Monday, June 8, 2020

Join the Arc Value Village Team as Store Manager! Apply online:                                      

Organization & Position Summary:

Arc’s Value Village Thrift Stores carry fashionable, good-quality clothing and household items that are donated by Twin Cities’ individuals and businesses.  Arc’s Value Village is owned and operated by Arc Minnesota Inc., a non-profit, agency.  The Arc Minnesota promotes and protects the human rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, actively supporting them and their families in a lifetime of full inclusion and participation in their communities. The Arc pursues lasting community change and connections that support people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families in creating a good life.

This position provides overall thrift store management, supervision, human resources, and administration for staff and volunteers.  Responsible for staff growth, development and training.  Assumes overall responsibility for ensuring the thrift store meets all financial and performance goals.  Directs and oversees day to day and long-term operations of the store.

Work Schedule & Location

  • Full Time (40 Hours per Week – Exempt)
  • Arc’s Value Village Bloomington  

Major Responsibilities:

·         Manages and ensures Arc’s Value Village guest service standards are delivered consistently to all stakeholders.

·         Ensures store meets and exceeds annual sales and net profitability goals; and ensures expenses and profit margins meet budget expectations.

·         Identifies opportunities for sales growth, strategy and direction.

·         Ensures acceptable merchandise selection and pricing, and a shoppable sales floor.

·         Responsible to implement and communicate marketing activities effectively.

·         Ensures donations are handled to meet business needs.

·         Provides training and supervision to staff and volunteers.

·         Implements strategies to increase participation and growth of the volunteer program.

·         Ensures recycling & reuse is prioritized.

·         Leads employees to operate as a highly effective team that positively impacts the business.


·         BA/BS preferred, High School Diploma or GED Certificate required.

·         5-7 Years Retail Management Experience preferred.

·         Able to communicate and effectively lead employees and engage with all guests (shoppers, donors, and volunteers).

·         Able to work varied hours/days as a retail business dictates.


  • Competitive salary
  • The Arc pays approximately 55-90% of medical premiums, depending on network and family options
  • Dental insurance starting at $2.02 for single coverage and $16.93 for family coverage
  • Generous time off policy with new employees earning three weeks of vacation their first year
  • Employer paid life insurance for employee and dependents
  • Employer paid short and long term disability insurance

Tags:  reuse  reuse minnesota  reusemn  thrift 

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Circularity 20 Digital - Free - May 19, 2020

Posted By Administration, Friday, May 1, 2020
Updated: Tuesday, April 21, 2020


Interested in the work of GreenBiz and Circularity 20?  Taking place in advance of the larger (and more expensive) Circularity 20 conference (August 25-27 in Atlanta), Circularity 20 Digital will offers a visionary keynote interview, informative panels and valuable networking opportunities - all at now cost to participants.  

Learn more

Virtual Roundtable discussions include:

  • Enabling Repair and Product Life Extension
  • Increasing Supply Chair Resilience
  • Bringing Reusable Packaging to Scale
  • Navigating Product Take-Back and Reverse Logistics

Tags:  building material reuse  built environment  circular ecomony  Ellen MacArthur Foundation  fair repair  fast fashion  network  repair  reuse  reuse minnesota  reusemn  right to repair  thrift 


Celebrate Earth Day with ReUSE Minnesota!

Posted By Administration, Monday, April 20, 2020
Heading into the fourth official week of MN’s Stay at Home order, where the passage of time feels surreal, it's hard to believe it's already mid-April. Yet, heading into spring, we’re reminded now more than ever how incredibly valuable life and nature are on our planet. It's fitting then, that this year marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day in the United States.

Traditionally, Earth Day celebrations center around large, outdoor events and group clean-ups, but this year is obviously quite different. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, an important way you can show support for your local community, while still being sustainable is by incorporating more reuse in your life. When we think about reducing our environmental impact, we often focus on products/packaging when we no longer want or need them and need to manage their “end-of-life” stage (i.e. can I recycle it? can it be composted?). The reality is you have a much bigger impact if you shift your purchasing habits up-front, as the environmental impacts from making new products are typically the most damaging. Reuse (including rental and repair) extends the life of products already in existence and circulation, reducing the demand for new product manufacturing. 

This Earth Day, commit to supporting local reuse businesses – some of them have online shopping and curbside pick-ups, some are looking for donations, and others will need your business when they re-open. While there are many invaluable reuse businesses across the state, we’re highlighting a few that shared updates on how they’re doing and the best ways for you to support them right now.

Arc’s Value Village – Find Everyday Needs, Treasures, and Collectibles
Arc’s Value Village stores and donation centers are temporarily closed. To help maximize your donations when Arc’s is ready to accept them in the future, pre-sort items; clothing in one box, housewares in another box, books in another box. Also, store your donations in boxes or sturdy bags (this will help with transportation too, when the time comes). Be sure to check their website for the items that won’t be accepted.

Bridging, Inc. – Furnishing Homes with Hope
Bridging is currently closed to the public until further notice. If it’s within your capacity and you’d like to financially support Bridging through this difficult time, you can make a donation

Bridal Aisle Boutique – Offering What You Need & Want for Your Wedding, Formal, or Pageant Event
Bridal Aisle Boutique is selling inventory and retail fixtures at fantastic prices. If you’re in the process of planning your wedding, the Bridal Aisle Team should be on your list!

Habitat for Humanity ReStore – Reused Home Improvement
The ReStore Home Improvement Outlets are closed for business until further notice. If you were planning to shop at our ReStore during this time, consider instead supporting our mission through an online donation today.

Kids Rack – Clothing, Footwear, Equipment, and Toys
Kids Rack is doing live Facebook sales and has their online sales set up through commentSOLD. They’re also offering personal shopping for customers, and can ship to the US or they also have curbside pick-up Monday – Saturday (limited hours). 

Lake Country Books and More – Sellers of New and Used Books, Music, and Media
As long as the post office keeps picking up and delivering mail, Lake Country Books is still selling – 6 days a week! Check out their selection of used books, CDs, and DVDs – a great way to entertain, education, and enlighten while staying safe at home.

Minnesota Tool Library – #MTLMADE
Find yourself with extra cash from your stimulus or tax return? Pay it forward and support the MN Tool library – buy/renew your tool library membership, make a donation, or give an e-gift card to your family and friends.

Mr. Michael Recycles Bicycles, LLC – A Special Kind of Bicycle Shop 
During this time, Mr. Michael’s shop is open by appointment only (scheduled by phone only). Call 651-641-1037 to schedule an appointment to purchase reused bicycles and/or to drop off a bicycle for repair.

Repair Lair – Spend Less on Gear (More on Beer)
Repair Lair is busy making masks – in fact they’re running out of fabric! If you have fabric (flat bed sheets?!), drop it off during store hours Thursday – Sunday from noon to 6:00 pm. Or stop by to pick up a mask at a great price.

reTHINK Tailoring & Sewing Lounge – A Different Option for Shopping: Revamp Your Wardrobe!
reTHINK Tailoring is also busy making masks – if you want to contribute to these efforts for making more masks for hospitals and other organizations, make a donation today!

Rethos – Connecting You to the Tools and Skills You Need to Take Good Care of Places You Love
Rethos has a Rehab Resources page on their website with DIY tips, links to local salvage shops, energy efficiency resources, etc. As spring arrives, Rethos is here to support you as you tackle home maintenance, repair, and rehab projects. Follow them on social media too for specific project tips you can use right now!

Tech Discounts – Offering Technology for Every Need
With the shift to working remotely and distance learning, a lot of us have been faced with new technology needs. Rather than spend an arm and a leg on new tech, purchase refurbished, affordable options from Tech Discounts online!

Tags:  circular ecomony  network  reuse  reuse minnesota  reusemn 

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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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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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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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