ôTHenˈtisədē (authenticity)

It is said, at least many places on the internet, that authenticity is the most attractive item that you can wear. And given our desire to promote people first at ReuseNation, we strongly echo this sentiment and celebrate self-expression in all that we do and wish to accomplish.

We also know that being authentic has value and meaning and we strive to deliver on that promise in all that we do. In our world of both people and cool stuff, authenticity clearly matters and we know that you are holding us to that standard. For our part, we use all reasonable efforts to curate, closely examine and investigate each and every item we consider for ReuseNation. We have done our homework and we continue our studies to learn more on each and every article that we hold and provide for your pleasure. When we doubt ourselves or have some nagging suspicion, we pause and consider our responsibility to you, our fellow members of ReuseNation. When there is a question, we choose to only provide you with the best that we can.  Therefore, we do not seek to harbor the inauthentic or fake. But, to be fair, we will not be perfect and mistakes may occur. When that happens, you have the right to act – love it or leave it. Check out our return policy and you will not ever be disappointed. Together, we are changing the world of reuse and seek to be truly authentic.   You will look better wearing it.

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

REUSE; Personal By Definition.

My son and I were recently talking about what the world would be like without the convenience and immediacy of Wikipedia. When I was growing up, my uncle worked for Encyclopedia Britannica and, consequently, our house was filled with all the latest editions. For anything I sought to learn, that was my point of reference. All of my early knowledge was drawn from single resources that seemed at the time rich in detail, pictures and, if you were lucky, really cool overlays.

In today’s world, nobody remembers Encyclopedias and Wikipedia is among the most top ten sites searched in the world. With that said, I was doing some research on “reuse” and wanted to share some basics from the newest source of all knowledge.

To reuse is to use an item again after it has been used. This includes conventional reuse where the item is used again for the same function, and creative reuse where it is used for a different function. In contrast, recycling is the breaking down of the used item into raw materials which are used to make new items. By taking useful products and exchanging them, without reprocessing, reuse help save time, money, energy, and resources. In broader economic terms, reuse offers quality products to people and organizations with limited means, while generating jobs and business activity that contribute to the economy. (Wikipedia)

I was actually quite pleased to see the simplicity of this contrast. However, there is one critical piece missing: the personal and human connection that occurs with reuse. By far, this is the most powerful element and distinguishes reuse from recycling in the most unqualified way. Yet, there remains confusion between the two concepts. This is particularly true with the reuse of clothing, shoes and accessories.  

By definition, the concept of reuse denotes a personal engagement or investment with a return that is enriching, smart and responsible.   Often without conscious regard or intention, when we engage in reuse of clothing, shoes and accessories, we are continuing the lifecycle of an article that we ourselves selected or which was selected for us.   In many instances, we have imbued these articles with a part of our personal history, stories or events that have had a meaningful impact on our personal lives. These personal memories have an emotional currency that is unique to our belongings and to us and certainly transcend any relationship we could enjoy with other recyclable commodities.   While our clothing, shoes and accessories provide a particular utilitarian purpose, they define our fashion interests, our growth and other important milestones. When we have determined that these articles no longer serve our needs or we have outgrown them in some fashion, reuse is by far the highest and best use for both personal and environmental reasons.

When we reuse our clothing, shoes and accessories, something fundamentally human happens. These items are handled and treated differently, as they are destined to be in the hands of someone else in the immediate future, with the specific intention to reuse them and carry on the lifecycle. The connection between and among people engaged in the Reuse Movement is paramount. This is a personal and human event that carries an importance that gains in value every time.     

In short, then, reuse makes recycling personal.

 

April 24, 2016 by Ira Baseman

SUSTAINABILITY IS MORE THAN YOU THINK.

"A new type of thinking is essential if mankind is to survive and move toward higher levels".
- Albert Einstein

Yesterday, we received a call from the executive director of a community thrift operation in St. Louis, MO. What began as a discussion about providing gently used shoes to their thrift stores, we focused on the group’s efforts to heal the city from the Ferguson riots and racial discord that erupted nearly two years ago by providing sport shoes to the local teens.  Presently, the plan is to have local police had out sport shoes to the local teens as a means of building trust and confidence.  The city and local region is still reeling from these events and so much needs to be done to restore a sense of humanity and trust. Sometimes, it is a simple conversation like this that reminds us that we are part of the larger picture.  And yet, this is a very local connection that is meaningful.  The simple connection between two people is an essential element to sustainability and serves as the foundation for much of what is possible. To my thinking, these local and personal  efforts are part of a larger sustainability that we embrace when we talk about people recycling for people. The inherent humanity of that connection is powerful and is part of the effort to restore and maintain sustainability.  Reuse is the bridge.  

EINSTEIN ALSO WAS QUOTED WITH THE FOLLOWING:

“A human being is part of a whole, called by us the ‘Universe’ —a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts, and feelings, as something separated from the rest—a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest us. Our task must be to free ourselves by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty.”

Use your imagination...

 

In our world of post consumer clothing recycling, we are met with the challenge and opportunity of solving a consumption question, an environmental problem and a demand for a better model of reuse. I for one love a challenge and an opportunity. Disruption, creative resource management and the execution of new ideas are compelling enough. Changing an ancient industry can be daunting. Where to start?

First, it’s the people. We consume and discard. We love stuff, preferably good stuff and we need to take responsibility that our formerly loved stuff finds a place with others that will cherish, enrich and respect it. Second, it’s about making the process convenient, engaging, transparent and smart. Third, it’s about using our imagination to find solutions that elevate and enlighten people and create a better process of making the world of fashion, clothing reuse and environmental stewardship easier and habitual.

Sustainability and fashion are here to stay and we can enjoy both. So many companies have embraced the movement and this substantive shift is growing in depth and breadth each day. That said, we see the #reusemovement growing into something more. We see so many opportunities to close the loop and promote reuse. What makes this so different from traditional world of recycling is that people are connected through reuse. We imbue our clothing with emotional attachments, stories and memories and these continue with these articles into their next use and to the next person. This connection is radically enlightening and the results are positive and meaningful to people, planet and our pocket. Reuse is a personal experience that is shared. Think about it.

Go ahead, use your imagination.

March 03, 2016 by Ira Baseman

Fashion Has No Expiration Date

Every year people go through their wardrobe to clean out garments that they deem no longer "fashionable" or "trendy". Out of the thousands of tons of textiles thrown away every year, I'm sure 90% of them could be reused and find a new home. Have you ever heard the expression "one man's trash is another man's treasure?" I genuinely believe in that concept when it comes to fashion. 

Seasons in advance, fashion forecasting companies research and display what they believe will be trending in the upcoming fashion runways ahead. Designers/brands base their upcoming collections on these forecasts, proclaiming items that were once "in style" to "outdated". It is my heartfelt belief that fashion has no expiration date! There is no law that tells a person that they are no longer "in- style"; it is all about personal perception. Maybe I don't care about being trendy as much as I care about expressing myself and having a genuine connection to the items in my closet. I'd rather create my wardrobe out of pieces that have character than items that are considered to be "disposable fashion". My style is my own personal brand that I define. Only I have a say in what is "in" and what is "out".

Through a lifetime of building my own style, I have bought "brand new" items as well as pieces that are "new to me". To reuse a piece is not only giving it a second life, but also providing yourself with a new experience. Not only are majority of gently used shoes, handbags, garments, accessories, etc. in great condition, they have character and often an undisclosed meaning. Character is important trait for pieces in my collection. I own a pair of woven, embroidered boots from the Himalayas that have a burn hole on the back left calf. The man I bought them from said he found them among many other unique items at an estate sale in a box labeled "travel junk". When I first put them on I was curious as to where the hole came from. Who wore these boots before I did? Where have they traveled? Will I travel to new places with them? Through a simple hole I felt an unexplainable connection to another person in the universe. Although, we would never meet or know each other, we are linked. To me the burn hole was just character added to the boot's story. Buying reused items guarantees you a different experience than buying something brand new. I have a whole wardrobe built out of reused items and I wouldn't have it any other way.

 

 

 

November 05, 2015 by Lindsey Connor

Reuse and Repurpose - Three Great DIY Home Furnishings

All too often when we need something, our first thought is running to the store, or looking on online. Here are three stories of do-it-yourselfers who were able to reuse and repurpose!

Terrarium from a TV Cabinet

Source: /u/NeakosOK on Reddit

This is a great way to reuse an old TV Cabinet.  They created an awesome new reptile home, and have places to keep food and other supplies underneath.







Speakerbox from Old Skateboards

Source: /u/paulmakesthings on Reddit

Stripping the grip tape off of old skate boards, and then cutting them into strips, this project created an awesome enclosure for an otherwise ordinary bluetooth speaker. 







Play Kitchen from an Entertainment Center

Source: /u/sixstringhook on Reddit

This is my favorite of these three projects.  They started with a $20 entertainment center from the local thrift store, and turned it into a much better kitchen play set than they could have bought their son from any toy store.







November 01, 2015 by Vince Pale
Tags: diy reuse

#ReuseConnects

Once upon a time….

A good story told. Stories connect and motivate us through life. We love the stories that we share, and the people we connect through the simple act of sharing.  So strong is the connection that we create by passing along a story.  This too is the power of reuse of clothing, shoes and accessories.  Our clothing, shoes and accessories are filled with memories, history, excitement, and emotional value that makes them special. Now, we want to hear and share your story and let them inspire others. Attach a story that you want to share about your favorite pair of jeans, shoes or amazing boots. Post to #reuseconnects.

Your stories will continue to live on through reuse. This is and endless journey and your story will continue with someone else across the communities and cultures. What are you waiting for?   It begins with you,

 

Share and Tell.

#reuseconnects

 

April 13, 2015 by Ira Baseman