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REUSE22: a day of discussion, networking, and discovery

2022-10-11 10:02 AM | Deleted user

Congrats to the Reusers in Minnesota for a great conference on October 4, 2022! The energy—from check-in to the last session— was vibrant, exciting, and inquisitive.

The previous day, our team had the pleasure of connecting conference attendees with four Reuse Minnesota members: Repowered, Keys 4/4 Kids, Bridging, and Scrapbox Salvage. The attendees of these site visits received tours of each facility as well as a deeper understanding of what organizational reuse is here in the Twin Cities and the impacts they have on our communities. While these four organizations perform varying work and services, they all hold the values of sustainability, equity, and of course, reuse!

Later that day members of the reuse community gathered together at GRAZE Libations and Provisions to kick off REUSE22. Residents from Minnesota and beyond spent the evening connecting and discussing their work and opportunities in topics across the reuse and repurpose spectrum. Special thanks goes to the staff of GRAZE for hosting our event and to Fredrikson & Byron, P.A. for sponsoring the evening’s food.

Offering a fantastic start to the day, keynote speaker Deonna Anderson from GreenBiz covered how reuse can be equipped and utilized as a tool for change. This message echoed through the rest of the conference presentations and provided attendees with a reminder of the impacts of reuse and how they can better incorporate it in the work they do—whether they came to the conference representing a government agency, a nonprofit, or were just looking to learn more.

Following the keynote, attendees had varying sessions they could choose to attend covering many relevant topics of reuse today. These breakout sessions proved that reuse is much more dynamic and encompassing than people may believe. One session that intrigued many conference guests covered recovering history and materials, drawing insights to how reuse can better emphasize equity and engage BIPOC communities into decision making. Conference guests attending the small business perspectives session got to hear first hand accounts of business owners experiences with reuse on varying scales.

A few attendees commented on how they particularly appreciated the action steps provided by some speakers, allowing them to make immediate change. Another focus of the day was strategic collaboration between different agencies and industries. Waste is a problem for everyone; uncoincidentally, reuse is a solution everyone can partake in! By combining the strengths of non-profits, government entities, and local businesses, Minnesota can make reuse a viable and even preferred way to reduce waste and inspire sustainable living, production, and behavior.

Overall, REUSE22 was the culmination of passionate, knowledgeable, and dedicated individuals pushing for sustainable changes in Minnesota. We are thankful for the opportunity to host the event in-person at St. Thomas, as well as include some virtual options to make these discussions more accessible and far-reaching. For many, this was their first Reuse Minnesota conference and shows the growing commitment of reuse for individuals new to the field. While most attended the conference because reuse is directly related to their work or passions, the guests, speakers, and exhibitors benefited from the built-in networking opportunities throughout the day. Moreover, many attendees shared that the conference positively impacted their professional and personal development. Reuse Minnesota is grateful for the speakers, volunteers, sponsors, and attendees that made the event so fantastic.

If you are interested in learning more about Reuse Minnesota and member organizations, or would like to stay up to date, please visit our website and contact us with any questions or engagement opportunities. See you next year!

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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