Reuse is, simply, using something again. Reuse extends and maximizes the material , energy, and water resource life cycles , thereby saving money and reducing environmental impacts for users. Similarly, renting or repairing items can help prevent the purchase or use of new goods.
The reuse sector has a positive impact on the Minnesota economy, employing between 36,000 and 54,000 people and creating $3.1 to $4.7 billion in revenue per year. The reuse economy also avoids approximately 500,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions annually (Eunomia Research, 2022).
Consider whether you can reuse materials in your own process or whether another business might be able to use your materials. Some examples of Minnesota businesses and organizations employing reuse as one of their core principles are:
- RePowered: refurbishes electronics to resell to the community, with a shop that displays various items including phones, laptops, and desktop monitors.
- Bridging: provides donated furniture and household goods to families and individuals coming out of poverty and homelessness.
- Keys 4/4 Kids: repurposing donated pianos to promote music and create educational opportunities.
- Scrapbox Salvage: reclaims building materials and sells them at affordable prices.
- Better Futures: a reuse warehouse and deconstruction non-profit employing men with decreased access to jobs because of incarceration, substance abuse, chronic unemployment, and homelessness.
A great resource for finding, selling, or donating used materials and goods is the Minnesota Materials Exchange. This website links organizations that have reusable goods they no longer need to others who can use them. Consider whether your waste can be reused in your own process or by another organization via the exchange. Bi-weekly newsletters keep members updated on recent events and topics and feature items currently on the Exchange.
- Minnesota Materials Exchange: Links organizations that have reusable goods they no longer need to others who can use them.
- ReUSE Minnesota: A trade association focused on bringing visibility to the reuse, rental, and repair sector through networking, publicity, and events.
- Reusable Industrial Packaging Association calculator: The RIPA “Green Packaging Calculator” helps calculate carbon footprints associated with the use of new vs. reconditioned industrial packaging.
- Use Reusables: Resources related to reusable transport packaging, including a tool to compare the cost of reusable and one-time-use packaging.
- State of Minnesota Surplus Services: Local and state government listings.
- Eunomia Research: Measuring statewide impacts of reuse, December 2022