The Genuine Article: Reuse and Your Personal Brand


Whatever our taste in fashion, brands, design or style, what we chose to wear and carry is a meaningful and perceptible identifier of our own personal brand. What we chose is only the beginning. How we combine, match and mismatch is our choice of self-expression and contributes to our personal brand. We are limited only by our imagination, inhibitions and what we have at our disposal.

The Reuse Movement enhances this freedom as we continue the enjoyment and self-expression of preloved articles, with the added environmental, social and economic value that is inherent in reuse.   Reuse offers an enormous range of choices, styles and designs, in an economical fashion. The environmental benefits are compelling, as clothing, shoes and accessories account for over 26 billion pounds into the solid waste stream each year in the United States. Recycling for reuse keeps this material out of the landfill, avoids the need for remanufacturing and results in sizable savings of water, carbon and other valuable resources.   Socially, reuse connects people in the process, as articles carry the memories, stories and emotional attachments that we imbue in our articles. Preloved items carry a valuable contribution and only add to the style and value of these items. Consider, for example, a well worn pair of jeans, leather shoes that are beautifully broken in, or a handbag that just feels good to the touch. These are the unrealized benefits that we enjoy with reuse that extends to our own self- expression.

Each of us has our own style that we develop, nurture and express. It evolves and changes with the times and reflects our journey.   We get to make this statement in a real and personal way, sometimes without conscious effort. In an increasingly digital world, our personal presentation is tangible, tactile and enduring. It is part of what we share with others and how we seek to be known. Be yourself, express yourself and define your style as the genuine article.  Join the reuse movement and be your own brand.  

The Percentages Are In Your Favor – Reuse with Benefits

The Percentages Are In Your Favor – Reuse with Benefits

In our effort to enlighten and delight, we have a few important numbers and statistics to share.  These will make you think twice about the value of reuse and we think you will be pleased and surprised. Not only are these numbers impressive (or good cocktail conversation points), they reinforce the value that you are creating and enjoying by participating in the ReuseMovement. Together, we are making a difference and you are part of the solution. Reuse has benefits for you, the planet and your pocket. 

Here are the numbers:

  • 26 Billion Pounds of Clothing, Shoes and Accessories are discarded each year in the US, the equivalent of over 80lbs. per person. Biggest number in the world.
  • Only 15% gets recycled, even though over 90% of this stuff can be recycled or reused.
  • Over 50% of surveyed Americans say that they are likely to reuse if they knew that each year more than a half trillion gallons water are used in dyeing textiles and that 70 million barrels of oil are used to produce polyester.
  • Reuse is the highest and best use of clothing, shoes and accessories and is more effective at reducing green house gas emissions than recycling plastic and glass combined.
  • Over 70% of the world depends on preloved clothing, shoes and accessories
  • The reuse industry employs over 100,000 jobs and over $1 Billion in wages in the US alone.

 Embrace the ReuseMovement today. Simple choices make a big difference for you and your community.  Plus, you will look good, do good and feel good. 




Butterflies, Potential Energy and the Circular Economy - Clothing as a Resource

As we head into the final semester of middle school, I am tutoring my son for a physics final and I am reminded of the terminology and concepts that I worked through when I was in high school so many years ago. Yes, I actually thought physics was interesting. The laws of nature, explained in strict mechanical terms, seemed clear and certain. One of my favorite terms to this day is “potential energy”. As defined by the basic texts, including Wikipedia, the term means energy that is the stored energy of an object. It is the energy by virtue of an object’s position relative to other objects.

I was reminded of this notion when reading a recent article about the circular economy and the potential that resides in the reclamation and reuse of our resources. According to the author, the diagram for this new means of recovering and restoring the resources that we have ignored or discarded can be illustrated in the form of a butterfly. The butterfly diagram, introduced by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, attempts to represent a new model for proper management and reuse of our resources. In brief, we cannot continue to consume and discard at the present rate, especially with anticipated population growth. The model needs to be different and reclamation and reuse of our resources are critical to our efforts to manage our growth and enter the next revolution of our economy.

Back to the future. It is time to rethink our clothing, shoes and accessories as a natural and sustainable resource. As we have recently been instructed, clothing manufacturing is resource intensive and can be damaging to our environment. Among the statistics often quoted, we have learned that it takes around 700 gallons of water to make a cotton shirt, and 2,600 gallons to make a pair of jeans — most of them to grow the cotton. On average, every dollar you spend on clothes and shoes costs about 23 gallons of water.

With that said, the highest and best use of this resource is reuse. Indeed, reuse unlocks the potential energy that resides in our clothing and other stuff. Not only do we continue the useful life of this material, but we are creating an environmental and social win that is unparalleled in recycling. Nothing compares to the reuse of an article of clothing. No additional energy is expended to create something anew, no resources are devoted to remanufacturing and the potential social, human and emotional energy that resides in our clothing creates a powerful bond to connect individuals across communities and cultures. Reuse is powerful resource management that includes a human dimension.

It is time we begin thinking about our clothing as a resource. The potential energy that we unlock through reuse is powerful, human and real. And who does not admire the glorious butterfly!?

May 11, 2016 by Ira Baseman