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Reduce, Recycle...RePurpose  RSS feed

 
Ken Peavey
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In a disposable society we use it, consume it, wear it out, replace it, and throw the old one away. The problem is there is no 'Away'. Trash, waste, scraps, construction debris and millions of tons of the remnants of civilization are piled up in landfills to become monuments to civilization.

The exponential growth of the population, combined with technological advancements and economic expansion has produced consumer products like never before in history. Cheap energy and assembly line production keeps the distribution chains stocked. Keep the stores open and hang up a sign advertising "Everything, All The Time.' Come out with a new diet book, a faster processor, a prettier little black dress, a new style for every season or a new type of light bulb and all that stuff you have is obsolete. We live in a finite world. Consuming limited natural resources at an ever increasing rate, then scattering the debris across the terrain is not logical, practical, or sustainable.

Reducing our consumption is part of the answer. Everyone is willing to save the world as long as it does not cost them extra.
Recycling makes good sense. We've come a long way in the past few decades. We have much further to go.
Repurposing needs more attention. Put those things to use rather than throw it away. This trend has spawned Creative Reuse Centers, particularly in urban areas where there is an abundance of stuff to work with.

Have a look at The Repurpose Project in Gainesville, Florida.
From the website:
We are a thrift store that salvages items usually not accepted by traditional second hand stores! Our mission is to capture these overlooked treasures before they end up in the landfill and make them available to the public through our retail store. Here are some examples: art supplies, office supplies, building supplies, legs off a broken table, scraps of wood, craft supplies, etc. We also carry regular thrift store items such as furniture, household items, books, toys, games, etc. The sale of these traditional items help to cover our overhead expenses.


The video on the site explains things better than I can and offers a short tour.


Some items are listed on Craigslist. I think this is how I first found out about the project.
I picked up some books there to add to my Book Swap project.
I found a grain mill which was sold to provide a fine boost to the Farmland Fund.

The response of the community and the abundance of usable items have seen the Repurpose Project move to a larger location over the past few months.
This is a shining example of what can be done to make the world a better place every day.



 
John Mondin
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Great article. I live in Hong Kong and there is no recycling anywhere. Any suggestions you can suggest to start recycling the millions of bottles they throw away in the land fill?
 
Bill Bradbury
pollinator
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Location: Richmond, Utah
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I love these kinds of places!
Habitat for Humanity just opened a Re-store in the local big town. I went there yesterday and spent almost $300. I bought $900 of stone working tools for $30, $700 of marble tile - $100, handmade solid oak bifold closet doors $50, Disston hand saw in like new condition - $2, then I bought a big collection of brass window hardware(all Stanley sweetheart!) for $3, 12 ton jack $5 and a bunch of miscellaneous stuff for fixing old homes.
This is my kind of store!
 
Craig Dobbson
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Location: Maine (zone 5)
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One of my first thoughts was that I would hire artists and creators and give them a space to work in on premises. There are starving artist everywhere and a lot of them could use a job and a place to work. They would have free access to all the stuff and their job would be to make things that would be sold at higher value than the constituent parts. The workers would be salary paid and then given a commission of all profitably sold works. You'd have to allow for some material wastage and failures but I don't thing there are too many expensive mistakes to be made there. These people could also teach classes or workshops for a little bonus cash.

Things that would be nice to have on site:
Every tool known to human kind
A loom
Paint shop
Collaboration space
Kitchen
Fun Zone
Restoration shop
Book Binding/repair
Design space with internet access and appropriate design software
A chicken



There were enough windows in that place to make and sell small greenhouses for a year. It's so good that that place isn't near me. I would be broke... sooooooooo broke.


 
Miles Flansburg
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Here in Denver we have these folks.

http://www.repurposedmaterialsinc.com/

They are growing and have opened branches in other states.
 
Ken Peavey
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I agree.
a chicken
 
Ken Peavey
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Craig Dobbelyu wrote:I would be broke... sooooooooo broke.

I'm in touch with that emotion. Fortunately it's a 90 minute drive.

Craig D suggests bringing in artists to create works with the available material.
Arts and Crafts fairs/demonstrations could draw in some folks.

Back in grade school we had what was called a 'Mini-Day'
Rather than our regular class schedule a large number of people in the community came in and offered workshops. For a 7 year old it was exciting to see and do new things all day. We signed up for the workshops in the gym, had to work out our own schedule. It was kinda like registering for classes. Each class was an hour or two.
A geologist came in with samples of rocks. We all got a special rock sample.
One lady came in with a HUGE pile of yarn and we did macrame, took our work home.
There was some sort of wooden block thing with nails that we tied string around to make some sort of pattern. No idea what that was about, but it musta been impressive because I still remember it.
I think there was a workshop for oragami. Mostly I just made paper airplanes.
I'd swear Bob Ross was there.

I'm thinking a Book Swap Event could bring considerable exposure. As a monthly event, it could draw in a few regulars.

What sort of activities and events would you include with a Repurpose Project that would draw in people regularly as customers and volunteers?



 
Craig Dobbson
master steward
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Location: Maine (zone 5)
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With a store like this you could probably have daily/nightly workshops and classes. Classes would be designed around available materials and skill level of teachers and students. For example if you had a ton of fabric scraps and junk clothes, you could host a class on basic rug hooking or weaving. You could get as deep into it as the skill and material allows.

I'd also include weekly (maybe weekend) sales of completed items that teachers or students wish to sell. Divide profits accordingly. win - win

Monthly gallery shows of the best works would also give artists a place to display their work to a larger audience and may help them drum up some extra commission work. Win - win

Giving a seasonal theme or featuring specific crafts would draw a new crowd all the time. Electronics one week and ceramics the next week. Statuary on the first Saturday of the month, Greenhouses on the first Saturdays in April and October. Seasonal decorations and ornaments sold according to time of year. You know, christmas stuff right after your done trick or treating.

I feel like the only drawback with a place like that is that if you don't have a constant rotation of stuff, you'll end up having a huge space full of crap nobody wants. Once it becomes "too big" folks can get overwhelmed and lose interest.
There are lots of options though.
 
Miles Flansburg
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I wanted to search the Denver area for a free book place and one of the hits was this list of repurposing books ! Some pretty creative uses there.

https://www.etsy.com/search?q=repurposed+books&page=7
 
Joel Bercardin
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Location: Western Canadian mtn valley, zone 6b, 750mm (30") precip
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For anyone who may have missed the thread Dale Hodgins started on Permies about the re-purposing of junked machinery, equipment, components, etc, go here:
http://www.permies.com/t/12321/recycling-repurposing/purposing-common-machines-artifacts#322043
Scroll down through it and read... there's good stuff in there.
 
Ken Peavey
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Sure is. The thread has been added to the Recycle Repurpose Forum
 
Mat Smith
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Location: Gold Coast Hinterland QLD, Australia
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That place is a gold mine!
I wish we had somewhere like that near us here on the Gold Coast in Australia, but knowing me, our new acreage property that we just signed a contract for will probably start looking like that soon..........
 
Joel Bercardin
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Location: Western Canadian mtn valley, zone 6b, 750mm (30") precip
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My thanks to Bob Paterson on Pinterest - on his board "Neat Stuff" - for introducing me to this bit of ingenuity. It's a DIY near-genius designed work bench for holding metal parts for welding (or other tooling operations, I'd say). Holds the work at the angle you want.

If you needed something like this, it wouldn't be too costly to gather the things to make it - most or all junk or second-hand.
 
Burra Maluca
Mother Tree
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I beat that pesky youtube link into submission for you...

 
Joel Bercardin
Posts: 240
Location: Western Canadian mtn valley, zone 6b, 750mm (30") precip
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Here's a good one, I think.

Repurposing a bucket, heating element, toilet-tank water valve, and other parts to make a high-output self-refilling humidifier (useful for crop storage rooms, etc) - pictures, description, and a wiring schematic are provided. Also, he's listed where he obtained the parts from.

On Farm Hack: http://farmhack.net/tools/auto-fill-high-output-temperature-controlled-humidifier

A good project for the small farm. The designer/builder used new parts and the cost is reported as $155, but he points out cost could be save by salvaging some (most) of the parts.
annotated humidifier.JPG
[Thumbnail for annotated humidifier.JPG]
Assembled humidifier from repurposed components
 
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