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  • 2023-07-14 10:40 AM | Reuse Minnesota (Administrator)

    Every six years the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency updates the Metropolitan Solid Waste Management Policy Plan with input from government entities, waste management companies, nonprofits, and the general public. This plan directs the actions related to waste reduction, reuse, and other materials management for the seven metro counties, which then set policy for cities within those counties. 

    Recently MPCA held a virtual public meeting on the draft plan and coverage of the meeting was written up in Waste Dive. Reuse Minnesota's Executive Director Emily Barker attended and spoke in support of the emphasis on reuse in the plan, which also includes reference to our 2022 reuse impact report. Despite waste reduction and reuse being top priorities on paper for many years, prioritization of policy and programming has been low, especially when compared to recycling. Many government entities in the Twin Cities metro are doing great reuse work including hosting fix-it clinics and swap events, providing deconstruction and building material reuse grants, and creating online maps of reuse businesses. The draft plan outlines a path to further increase reuse in government, including leading by example by using reusable foodware at public meetings and joining and/or actively participating in a reuse network like Reuse Minnesota. We see this much needed focus on reuse as an important step forward in building truly regenerative communities. 

    We invite our members and other reuse advocates to review the draft planattend a public meeting, and provide comments to ensure the next 20 years supports a strong reuse community in Minnesota. 

  • 2023-06-27 8:58 AM | Reuse Minnesota (Administrator)

    On June 26, Reuse Minnesota traveled to Dodge County to host a workshop on how to host swap events and fix-it clinics, followed by a tour of the newly built ReUse Center. Fifteen people from various counties attended the event.


    News station KIMT3 was on site to cover the workshop. You can view the newsclip and writeup.


  • 2023-05-01 4:08 PM | Reuse Minnesota (Administrator)

    We are quickly approaching the end of the Minnesota legislative session and we need your voice on Right to Repair!

    Last week the Minnesota House passed the Digital Fair Repair Act as part of the House Omnibus Commerce Finance/Policy Bill (HF2680). Search for [325E.72] DIGITAL FAIR REPAIR to find the language. 

    The MN Senate passed similar language (SF2744), but with an amendment that has the potential to gut large portions of the bill under the guise of cybersecurity.

    The bills now go to conference committee and it is crucial that the members of the committee hear that we cannot give tech companies a loophole to undermine your right to repair.

    What you can do

    Write the members of the committee, even if they are not your legislator.

    We encourage you to emphasize the importance of adopting the current House version of the bill, which includes language in the cybersecurity section to allow parts as necessary for repair or maintenance of equipment. Without this, any tech company can implement locks and say it is for cybersecurity, and continue to deny you your right to repair.

    Sample language

    Dear Conference committee member,

    I am contacting you today in support of the Digital Fair Repair language in the Commerce omnibus policy bill.

    Right to Repair:

    • Gives Minnesotans throughout the state the freedom of choice of where to bring digital equipment for repair.
    • Supports and expands jobs across a spectrum of Minnesota industries.
    • Reduces the growing amount of e-waste in our world.

    It is crucial that language related to cybersecurity remain strong. The current language in the Senate version leaves potential loopholes for companies to lock out individuals and independent repair shops under the guise of cybersecurity. Please adopt the House version of this language: Nothing in this section requires an original equipment manufacturer to make available parts, documentation, or tools related to cybersecurity, except as necessary for the repair or maintenance of equipment.

    Please support Right to Repair for all Minnesotans! Thank you for your time and consideration!

  • 2023-04-21 1:00 PM | Reuse Minnesota (Administrator)

    Reuse Minnesota has been selected as a finalist for the 3rd Annual Reuse Awards #TheReusies, presented by Upstream and streaming live from #Circularity23 on June 7!

    This is considered the OSCARS of the reuse movement, and we are deeply honored to be considered among those who are at the forefront of innovating reuse solutions and working toward a waste-free future.

    Here’s how you can get involved

    ❎ VOTE for Reuse Minnesota to win now in the category of Community Action: Building Reuse by visiting TheReusies.org and support us by spreading the word to others!

    RSVP for the show (it’s FREE!) at The Reusies.org so you don’t miss out on this exciting event!

    Read the full press release here: Upstream Announces Finalists of The Reusies® 2023 — Upstream | Sparking innovative solutions to plastic pollution (upstreamsolutions.org)
  • 2023-04-21 9:00 AM | Reuse Minnesota (Administrator)

    Reuse Minnesota builds partnerships and supports a vibrant network of reuse organizations in our state. We amplify our members’ stories to help them build sustainable futures. We champion policies that reduce barriers and increase funding for reuse. We provide networking opportunities for organizations and individuals to make new and exciting connections.

    One of the ways we fund this work is through paid memberships. Memberships support our staff, pay for our website, allow us to do policy work, and cover other basic expenses of running a nonprofit. We strive to keep our memberships affordable and accessible to a wide variety of reuse businesses. But as we know, the last few years have been tough on a lot of small organizations. In addition, there are many great organizations out there that run on volunteers and minimal budgets. While a membership offers great benefits, for some it simply is too much of a stretch to join.

    In 2023, as we continue to reflect on our first decade, we know it is crucial that we bring more of these smaller reuse organizations into our network in ways that make sense for them financially. But the reality is, paid memberships are critical for funding our work, and offering discounts is not a sustainable option for our organization. This is where you can help!

    As part of our 10-year anniversary celebration, we have a goal of raising $10,000 in donations by June 30. We are committed to dedicating $2,000 of these funds to membership scholarships for small organizations that cannot otherwise join our network. 

    Your gift of $100 fully covers the membership for a small business or nonprofit. $50 can bridge the gap between an individual membership and an organizational membership. Any amount will help us reach this goal. Will you donate today to support this effort?

    Donate today

    Together we are building regenerative, reuse-centered communities in our state!


  • 2023-04-13 8:43 PM | Reuse Minnesota (Administrator)

     

     

     

    The time for Right to Repair has come. This year, at least 29 states introduced some sort of bill to address the need for individuals and businesses to be able to repair things from cell phones to tractors. Folks across the US overwhelmingly support the policy. Here in Minnesota, SF1598 and HF1337 would give Minnesotans the ability to access parts and manuals for fixing a wide variety of items.  

    At this point in the legislative session, many bills have been combined into omnibus bills. Right to Repair has been included in both the Senate and House Commerce omnibus policy bills. Our coalition of supporters has worked to address questions raised by the opposition and to clarify language, while ensuring that key elements of the bill remain intact. Unfortunately, opponents of the bill are actively petitioning legislators to water down provisions currently included in the bill. In addition, an exemption was added to exclude agricultural equipment in the Senate. We want to ensure that nothing is watered down and that agricultural equipment is included in the final law. Farmers already had a win in Colorado, it is time for Minnesota to follow suit!

    From what we understand, the bill will be heard on the Senate floor very soon. We encourage you to call or email your Senator today and tell them to stand strong on the proposed language and to not add any further exemptions. 

    Here is sample language:

    Dear Senator,

    I am contacting you today in support of the proposed Fair Repair language in the Senate Commerce omnibus policy bill.

    Right to Repair:

    • Gives Minnesotans throughout the state the freedom of choice of where to bring digital equipment for repair.
    • Supports and expands jobs across a spectrum of Minnesota industries – agriculture, tech, education, etc.
    • Reduces the growing amount of e-waste in our world.

    It is important that agricultural equipment be included to ensure farmers of all sizes can perform repairs in a timely fashion.

    Please support Right to Repair, without further exemptions. Thank you for your time and consideration!

    Learn more about Right to Repair on our advocacy page.


  • 2023-03-08 3:27 PM | Reuse Minnesota (Administrator)

    The Birch Group and Scrapbox Salvage founder, Petrina Rhines was interviewed and featured in an article by Next City. Read the article to learn more about the impact her nonprofits are making on keeping building materials out of landfills.

  • 2023-02-27 7:00 AM | Reuse Minnesota (Administrator)

    Reuse Minnesota continues to track various bills moving through the state capitol. Among them are bills that propose to restrict the use of PFAS (Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances) chemicals in the manufacture of various products. HF1000 and SF0834 propose prohibitions in several categories of products including cookware, clothing, and upholstered furniture, along with other items. Reuse Minnesota supports these restrictions because the presence of these legacy chemicals in consumer goods creates an environmental and ethical dilemma in the reuse sector. These items become a burden for our thrift stores who must decide if they want to sell such products to their customers or deal with the expense of disposal. For charitable organizations that rely on used goods to assist people who are in need of household goods, items with PFAS become an environmental justice issue as they get passed on to communities that rely more heavily on secondhand items. In addition, our government members educate the public on the proper way to recycle or dispose of items. It can be difficult to determine what the “right” answer is when it comes to items containing PFAS, due to the long-lasting nature of the chemicals and if they might show up in recycled products. Eliminating the use of PFAS chemicals in the manufacture of products addresses these concerns upstream and in turn reduces the number of problematic items passed on to Minnesota reuse organizations.

    SF0834 is scheduled to be heard in the Senate Environment, Climate, and Legacy committee on Thursday, March 2, at 3pm. While we will not be testifying, we have submitted a letter in support of the bill.

    If you or your organization would like to sign up to testify (in-person, unless remote is requested 24 hours in advance), submit written testimony, or provide hand-outs, email Committee Administrator Kara Josephson at kara.josephson@senate.mn by 5pm on Wednesday, March 1. Include your name, organization, and title of all testifiers (if you wish to speak). Please provide any handouts/letters in PDF format.

  • 2023-02-17 8:00 AM | Reuse Minnesota (Administrator)

    The House Commerce Finance and Policy Committee hearing on February 15 was a success, and HF1337 was referred on to Judiciary Finance and Civil Law Committee. You can see a recording of the hearing here. Thank you to all the testifiers who spoke in support of the bill, as well as all those who wrote letters. We will continue to post updates for everyone to follow the bill progress at reusemn.org/right-to-repair.

    In the meantime, we wanted to share the latest scorecard from U.S. PIRG on laptop and cellphone repairability. While there are claims that the industry is responding to consumer demand for repairable technology, that paints a grossly inaccurate picture of what is actually available. "Failing the Fix" shows that many of the largest manufacturers have a long way to go and why Right to Repair is so necessary.

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    ADVISORY: ‘Failing the Fix’ scorecard grades tech giants including Apple, Google, on how fixable their devices are

    Households in the United States spend nearly $1,500 on new electronics per year. We rely on our cellphones and computers to work, learn, stay connected and much more. When your device breaks, you need to be able to fix it for a reasonable price. Unfortunately, many phones and laptops on the market are built to be difficult to fix, so they become essentially disposable. How can you know if you are buying a product that can be repaired? 

    In this year’s updated “Failing the Fix” scorecard, U.S. PIRG Education Fund calculates a repairability score for the most popular cellphone and laptop brands. Our updated scorecard reviews more than 330 products on the market. To determine the rankings, we used the "Repairability Index," which makers of laptops, cellphones and some other devices need to put on their products in France. We give good grades to manufacturers that are designing devices to last and bad grades to those that are failing the fix.

    The prevalence of unfixable stuff is a problem for both consumers and the planet. Electronic waste is the fastest-growing waste stream in the world, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reports that it is now the fastest-growing part of our domestic municipal waste stream.  Americans could save a combined $40 billion if they were able to repair - instead of replace - products and extend those devices’ lifespans by 50 percent.

  • 2023-02-15 12:00 AM | Anonymous

    Right to Repair is moving forward again in Minnesota. Bills have been introduced in both the House (HF1337) and Senate (SF1598). The first hearing (House Commerce Finance and Policy) is Wednesday, February 15, at 1pm (central). Watch live here.

    Several organizations will be testifying in support. Reuse Minnesota staff are unable to participate due to our quarterly member meeting at the same time, however, we submitted a letter of support, and eagerly await the hearing outcome. 

    As the bills progress, we will be reaching out to supporters to contact legislators. To stay up to date, follow progress on our website and subscribe to our Right to Repair email list

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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