BENEFITING: Reuse Institute
Reuse Institute, its international partners, and YOU, are helping to create the global "REUSE MAP APP”, a comprehensive directory for reuse opportunities around the world.
This resource will become a vital tool for anyone seeking sustainable materials management solutions and will immediately fill a significant void in the marketplace. Users will be able to find local, regional, national reuse opportunities and resources, as well as learn more about how and why to reuse. The search feature will filter by location (GIS location), by reuse type (e.g. virtual materials exchanges, building materials reuse centers, food rescue organizations, thrift shops, creative reuse centers, reusable product vendors, deconstruction firms, tool banks, lending libraries, repair cafes), and/or by activity (donate, sell, consign, buy). The map and related database will be populated by Reuse Institute using a moderated crowd sourced, self‐maintaining approach.
Nothing like the Reuse Map App currently exists. Our marketplace review shows that there is no central repository or resource bank for what we are proposing. While there are some recycling‐focused online resources (Earth911), and there are a few city‐based reuse maps (Donate Cambridge), there is nothing like this one‐stop resource for reuse opportunities around the globe.
We need to take concrete action to address climate change and strengthen the global economy in a sustainable way. We can immediately help meet this need by encouraging the use of existing tools. One of the simplest ways you can make a lasting environmental, economic and social impacts are by supporting reuse. The ability to easily promote reuse opportunities via the Reuse Map App will in turn help significantly increase diversion through reuse.
Why Reuse is Important
Reuse is often overlooked even though it is second on the waste management hierarchy. In contrast to recycling, which requires processing ‐ reuse helps us save time, money, energy and resources by taking useful products and exchanging without the need for reprocessing. Environmentally, reuse decreases energy consumption, saves the embodied energy of manufactured goods, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, and conserves natural and man-made resources. Economically and socially, reuse offers quality products to people and organizations with limited means, provides businesses and individuals with tax benefits, supplies sales taxes which contribute to the economy, and is a tremendous source of meaningful, living-wage jobs. In addition to creating meaningful jobs, reuse offers quality products to people and organizations with limited means, provides businesses and individuals with tax benefits, and supplies sales taxes which contribute to the economy. Reuse has a significant social impact. It means nutritious meals for the food insecure. It means kids clothing for a struggling single mother. It means furniture for a formerly homeless person with a new apartment. It means schoolchildren with limited means can bridge the digital divide. It can even mean ‘making do with less’ for someone striving to send a child to college. Examples of reuse include everything from donating your gently worn clothing to a non‐profit and selling your furniture at a garage sale, to repurposing industrial discards for creative art projects and buying a refurbished computer online. There are hundreds of ways for individuals and businesses to participate in reuse in more meaningful ways, but they just aren’t aware of them. Most people wind up trashing unwanted yet usable items, rather than exhaustively researching who will take the item and how to drop it off. Likewise, some people will spend more money to buy new and/or single‐use because they’re not aware of the second‐hand or reusable options available to them. Changing the culture of thoughtlessly trashing items is imperative for reducing environmental impacts but also strengthening and greening our economy. The increasing popularity of websites like 2Good2Toss, Freecycle, Cragislist and eBay show that there is significant interest in reuse once people are aware of the options and it is made convenient for them.
The global Reuse Map App will be a program of the Reuse Institute, a nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing awareness of reuse – a central tenet of sustainability – through educational events, training services and research projects. The work Reuse Institute does is critical to creating a shared understanding of the impacts the reuse industry has on our communities. We focus our efforts on projects that have the potential for far‐reaching, positive environment, social and economic impacts. The Reuse Map App meets this criterion. Please note that MaryEllen Etienne, CEO of Reuse Institute, will be the team leader on this project.
Users & Stakeholders
The users and stakeholders of the Reuse Map App will be large and varied group. This will be a free public resource, so any business, citizen, nonprofit, government agency or institution will be able to access the resources provided, and will therefore be the “users”. Through MaryEllen’s work at Reuse Institute, ReuseNYC and Reuse Alliance and by conversing with colleagues in the field has shown that reuse organizations lack a central repository for information about reuse, including basic information about who does what, when and where. Interaction with businesses indicates that many have the will to divert resources but lack the awareness to do so. Working with the public has shown that many citizens and organizations have a vague awareness that reuse and repair and refurbish and creative reuse etc exists but there is no central information resource for them for what’s available locally, or in other situations regionally or globally. So reuse organizations and their allies (EPA, State and Provincial Environmental Protection Agencies, Environmental NGOs, concerned citizens) will be a central “stakeholders” for the Global Reuse Map and will be invested in its success.
The technology application behind the Reuse Map App runs on mobile and desktop and a particular instance of a user interface version is being beta tested. We are seeking capital to customize the user interface for this purpose, to populate the database, to market and roll the service out globally. We also need to find a method so that the service can be self‐sustaining after initial funding. Your support will help us move the needle on reuse, and have far‐reaching triple bottom line impacts.
Support through the Reuse Map App crowd-funding campaign will create a sea‐change in the world of sustainable materials management. The capital provided will allow us to execute the project as follows:
- Develop database and API (already in place).
- Upload to servers (already in place).
- Beta‐test software (1-2 months).
- Complete the user interface design for software, which can start immediately (3 months).
- Put beta online usable on all browsers on all devices (3 months).
- Population of site by Reuse Institute and stakeholders (6 months).
- Expansion, full implementation (3 months).
- Launch, Marketing (3 months, ongoing)