Reuse Visionaries

We are dreaming of something BIG! This something is essential to protecting our planet and future. Surprisingly, this “something” doesn’t seem to exist in reality (yet) or even as a concept on the internet. Please read on to learn about our vision for a large scale reuse economy that will help our planet and protect our future.

Big box thrift store - envisioning a reuse economy that will protect our planet from overconsumption by building a robust circular economy that rivals traditional retail in size, convenience, and numbers.
The circular reuse economy needs to be BIG to protect the planet from overconsumption.

Visionaries for a Robust Reuse Economy – With over a decade of first hand experience in waste diversion we have spent a lot of time imagining and dreaming of a robust reuse economy. We see the enormous volume of waste everyday and know there is a better way! Our minds are full of innovative circular economy reuse models that will help our planet and local communities.  We recognize that our store is just scratching the surface of the waste problem in our town, but we do not have the funding to implement many of our ambitious ideas ourselves.  We feel an urgency to get these ideas out to the main stream quickly in order to reduce the planetary harm that is currently underway and protect our earth from climate change.  Here on our website, we will share our ideas, innovations, and blueprints along with info about other reuse initiatives already happening around the globe in the hopes that people all over the world will be inspired, motivated, and able to implement reuse operations in their communities.

We need more than a few thrift stores in each town; instead, we need a robust reuse infrastructure that rivals the big box stores and strip malls that dominate our landscapes.

We need mega thrift stores and lots of them along with collection centers and distribution centers to restock these stores.

We need specialized thrift stores in large strip-malls that sell all types of material and not just clothing and furniture: used building material stores, a used office supply stores, used craft supply stores, used electronics stores, etc.

In order to reduce our impact and begin solving the climate crisis we need to completely reinvent the concept of a “thrift store” and then build a large scale reuse economy now.

Once it gets put in the garbage, crushed in the trucks, and dumped on the tipping floor the items are lost forever. We need a system to collect reusable items at the source and it needs to be easy and convenient for residents. We need convenient donation sites and pickup services.

The Problem – Over consumption has exploded in the last 70 years to an extremely unsustainable degree. We are using up the earth’s resources faster than the earth is generating them and throwing away resources at an alarming rate. Many of these resources are finite, meaning when they are gone, they are gone forever. Burning resources is a very unwise thing to do because the amount of energy recouped in the waste to energy process, pales in comparison to the amount of energy used in the original manufacturing process to make the item. The stuff we buy is a major contributor of climate change. Why? ….deforestation, soil degradation, mining, harvesting, manufacturing, packaging and shipping all release large amounts of carbon into the atmosphere.

The Solution – We need bigger, better, and more diverse reuse stores and we need A LOT of them. We need investors, both private (philanthropists & entrepreneurs) and public (government), to invest in these reuse operations. We need a reuse infrastructure that is equivalent in size to current retail big box stores and strip malls both in square footage and number of stores. We need municipal collection and distribution centers for reusable material, and we need to ensure that usable material does not enter the waste stream. We need a variety of reuse stores that salvage all sorts of materials and not just clothing, furniture, and household goods that you find in traditional thrift stores. We need specialty thrift stores based on all the types of retail available: building material reuse stores, electronics reuse stores, appliance reuse stores, art & craft reuse stores, dollar store thrift stores, etc. We need many of these in every town in this country and all over the world.

Zero Waste Communities and the entire planet need more reuse stores, larger thrift stores, and stores that resell many different types of material.  Building a large scale robust reuse economy is essential in fighting climate change and protecting our planet and resources for future generations.

The Benefits – The benefits of building a robust circular economy are many and extend well beyond just environmental benefits.

  • The reuse industry creates tons of green jobs. These jobs are satisfying and range from highly skilled ones requiring a high degree of education all the way to those requiring little skill, which can provide employment to individuals with little to no education.
  • A robust local re-use economy makes a stronger and more resilient community by making us less reliant on outside supply chains. We have seen recently how fragile our exterior supply chains are. A re-use infrastructure that keeps supplies circulating locally for as long as they are useful makes our communities stronger and safer.
  • Lower cost salvaged supplies help local residents, especially those most in need. The lower prices help them attain things they require and frees up the saved income for necessities like housing, utilities, and childcare.
  • Lower cost salvaged supplies help our community in general with lower cost supplies: teachers, students, non-profits, start-ups, local businesses, artists, etc.
  • Residents save money on disposal costs. If a local government decided to invest in building a municipal reuse collection and retail center, curbside pickup fees could possibly be reduced to all residents.
Rural and underserved areas would benefit greatly from dollar store thrift stores that carry essential items. IDEA: partner reuse stores with local farm distribution organizations and place these stores in food deserts.

Reuse Infrastructure – What do we need?


Municipal Reuse Collection & Retail Operations – Local governments pick up our trash and recycling and some have begun to realize that the most valuable part of the waste stream are reusables IF the reusable items are collected prior to being trashed. They are also realizing that when the good material is taken out of the trash they are left with less of a burden at the tipping floor and landfill. To learn more about existing examples of innovative municipal reuse collection programs click here.

Bigger and more specialized re-use stores (and a lot more of them) – It’s time to reinvent the idea of a thrift store. Currently, thrift stores are too small, there aren’t enough of them, and the types of material they resell are very limited. We need an innovative and thriving re-use economy redesign to process and resell the enormous volume of still usable material being discarded. Some innovative models are creative reuse centers (arts & crafts thrift store), architectural salvage stores (building material thrift store), and reuse malls.

Our Re-Use Dream – We want to combine them all and add more of our own unique ideas to create a robust local reuse infrastructure that can be replicated elsewhere. This model of reuse will help our planet, it’s people, and ensure a healthy and sustainable planet for future generations. Learn more about our local reuse dreams and proposals and bring them to your local governments, investors, or philanthropists so we can spread the benefits of reuse .

climate change solution nobody is talking about.  Party Supply reuse store is one example of a reuse store option that doesn't exist most places but needs to.  We need a circular economy of used goods that compares in size to traditional retail in order to build zero waste communities protect our planet from overconsumption and keep the valuable resources circling in our communities.  Building circular cities will build resilient cities.

Here are some examples of innovative municipal reuse collection programs.

Reuse Facility attached to a transfer station:

Reuse Stores run in collaboration with municipalities

Material Diversion and Reuse Search


Building Material Re-use Stores

Creative Reuse Centers

Online Reuse Sites:

Fix-It Events

Student out collection / student in sales:

Tree Reclaiming

Recycling Articles:

Reuse Explorations Guide – Innovative Programs and Strategies https://nerc.org/documents/Reuse/Reuse%20Explorer%20Guide_FIN.pdf

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