Repurposeful, giving materials new meaning to the community
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Help our community save literal tons of materials from the wastestream.
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Re_Purposeful started four years ago by a group of designers the were sick and tired of throwing away their own discontinued or no longer needed design materials such as carpet squares, tile and wood samples and fabric. We all joined forces…and materials… and began spreading the word about our collection. In the first four years we’ve collected 120,000 pounds of materials and then gave it all away for FREE to teachers, non-profits, daycares, crafters and homeowners.
For the first three years we collected materials and hosted the event at the Green Design Center in Waukesha, WI. We asked designers and product reps to drop their discontinued materials off and we weighed each delivery as it came. We had people drop off one box of loose samples, full car loads after cleaning out their libraries and even the occasional box truck with a couple of pallets to unload.
Going into our 4th year, we realized we had out grown the donated space and so a new sponsorship program began, opening up donations to more locations. These locations sponsored the delivery of a moving POD to collect material in different parts of South East Wisconsin. This allowed for more convenient drop off locations as well as potentially driving new traffic to the sponsors.
Along with new drop off locations, we are now hosting the open house event at the Waukesha Expo Center. All of the materials collected starting after the first of the new year are brought to the expo center and sorted based on type of material. The materials are then taken for FREE by teachers, non-profits, libraries, daycares, crafters and the general public to be re_purposed. Many of these community members assist in the set up process and in exchange get early bird access to the materials.
2017’s event brought people in from many causes. A number of people always come for fabric samples to quilt, a few of which who sent finished products down to those affected by Hurricane Irma and Harvey right away. A minister brought a few of the churches members to collect materials to improve both their individual homes of those on fixed incomes as well as the church itself. A teacher concentrating on working with adults with disabilities uses laminate samples as white boards for answering questions. And, a preschool teacher uses the paint fan decks to teach her students colors.
To date, Re_Purposeful has collected 120,000 pounds of discontinued design materials with a 98% diversion rate. These materials have been reused by over 1,100 community members to improve their efforts in different program, making a difference for many more.