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Impact Report

Environmental, economic, and social impacts of reuse in Minnesota

Reuse is the continued use, repair, or repurposing of items or materials which extends the life of resources and decreases demand for new production. These activities result in environmental, economic, and social benefits.

With this study, and again with funding from the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund (ENRTF), Reuse Minnesota intended to refine the methodologies of previous studies conducted by Reuse Minnesota and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (linked below). The goals were to obtain updated results on the statewide impacts of reuse and create a user-friendly tool that will allow Reuse Minnesota to replicate the study in future years. Reuse Minnesota contracted Eunomia Research & Consulting (Eunomia), an international circular economy consulting firm, to conduct this study.

Data on more than 13,000 businesses in Minnesota were pulled from the Dun & Bradstreet database for analysis in the tool. Overall, the research shows that the reuse economy continues to have strong positive environmental, economic, and social benefits in Minnesota.

Key findings

Environmental impacts

  • Avoidance of approximately 500,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions per year.
  • The rental sector has the highest revenue of reuse businesses as well as the highest emissions avoided.
  • The reuse sector reduces the need for 24 billion liters of freshwater withdrawals, mostly due to the avoidance of making new products.
  • The Twin Cities Metropolitan Area has the greatest emissions avoided through reuse, with 66% of the total for the state. This was expected due to it being the state’s largest population center and economic hub.

Economic impacts

  • The reuse economy in Minnesota is estimated to create between $3.1 and $4.7 billion in revenue per year.
  • The reuse sector creates between 36,000 and 54,000 jobs per year.

Social impacts

  • Reuse jobs are usually not outsourced because they handle existing products within a given region. Therefore, reuse jobs are inherently local and provide a direct benefit to the Minnesota state economy.
  • Social value added (i.e., benefits such as taxes, wages, and shareholder profits) is estimated at $2.4 billion.

Reuse impact report and presentation

Funding for this project was provided by the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund as recommended by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR).

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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