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'Tis the Season for Reuse!


December 16, 2013
Christmas is nine days away...officially right around the corner. If you're like us, and the holiday season snuck up on you a bit this year, you may be searching for some really great last minute #DIYs. We've rounded up a bunch of projects that will get you in the holiday mood. Most importantly, they all reuse, repurpose or upcycle items in the process...something that's sure to get you on the "nice" list.

Warning: if you're a grinch, this post may cause your heart to grow three times in size.

Yardstick Reindeer. Noel book decoration. Upcycled feather wreath.
Hollowed out log candleholders. Rustic box decoration.
A window and holiday greens. Cake tins silvery centerpiece.
A repurposed pallet tree. Use book pages to makeover ornaments.
Cabinet door stocking sign. Wine bottle Christmas tree. Pumpkin seed trees.
We knew we'd win him over. 

Celebrating the Re-sourceful Brian Alferman

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December 12, 2013

Sometimes your coworkers win really important awards for their outstanding environmental work and you just have to tell the world about it.

PlanetReuse's very own Brian Alferman was recognized by MARC during it's annual Solid Waste Management Awards Ceremony.  The highly regarded Mr. Alferman - whose commitment to social change organizations is only slightly better known than his pingpong skills - was honored as the 2013 Individual Supporter. The accolade is presented to someone who has made "exceptional contributions and commitment to the district’s waste reduction and recycling efforts." 

We couldn't be prouder to have you as a colleague. Here are a few pictures of the man of the hour.

Brian giving a speech after accepting his award. 
The award, made out of recycled glass, of course. 

All of this year's Solid Waste Management Award winners.
Brian modeling his newly won award at the office. 

Repurpose fixtures & bulbs into brilliant holiday decor!


December 11, 2013
Tis the season...for reuse! The weather turned downright frigid and forced us inside in recent days, causing us to dream up DIY projects to fill our hours while we wait for Old Saint Nick. What better way to celebrate the holiday than making cheerful decorations? Especially if those Christmas-y creations reuse, repurpose or upcycle items in unexpected and awesome ways.  
Below is a roundup of delightful DIYs that reuse light fixtures, lanterns and burnt out lightbulbs. It's a torrent of terrific ways to trim your tree and add merriment to your mantle. 
Want even more ideas? Check out our Holiday board on Pinterest

Christmas lights give an outdoor lantern a twinkly, cheerful makeover.

Add ornaments to a repurposed lantern for a table top display.
Half of a pendant light serves as the backdrop for a winter scene.
Add holiday lights and red berries for a perfect christmas light fixture. 

Add some merriment to your mantle with multi-colored strand lights.

A wall sconce gets a second life as a christmas decoration.
Double the lanterns, double the Christmas fun! 

Create an enlightened tree out of light bulbs
Paint lights then dust with glitter for adorable ornaments.

a light bulb makes the perfect penguin body! Too cute!

Up, up and away with this hot air balloon ornament. 

Glue together painted bulbs for a funky, retro decoration

Fill old bulbs with confetti stars for a glimmering, glamorous ornament. 

A Thankful Heart


December 03, 2013
In the days before Thanksgiving, Silicon Prairie News asked us, along with entreprenerus from across the midwest, what we were thankful for. This annual tradition is a great opportunity to pause and count our blessings, and we were delighted to contribute. Read below for a few of the many reasons Nathan is grateful this Thanksgiving season.  

Nathan Benjamin, Planet ReUse

My list of reasons to be thankful is large and growing. I'm grateful to go to work every day at a company whose mission I truly believe in, surrounded by a community that encourages and fosters the entrepreneurial spirit. I have incredibly encouraging friends and family and I am lucky enough to be married to a woman who is the most patient, smart, amazing person in the world.
And most importantly, I am so thankful for the delivery of one tiny, perfect baby boy a month ago.
Check out the entire article here.

GreenBuild: The Wonderful Week That Was


November 26, 2013
Oh, GreenBuild. What a great 3 days it was. There were riveting panels, networking events, interactive sessions, a keynote address by Hilary Clinton and a rousing rockfest led by Bon Jovi. 

It was such a pleasure to be able to present, along with our friends from BNIM and Henderson Engineers, on salvaging and reusing materials after natural disasters. It's a topic that has, unfortunately, seen an increase in recent years with the occurrences of powerful superstorms, typhoons, hurricanes and tornados and is important to plan for in the years to come. 

We were inspired by the Rebuilding Exchange, whose work with Whole Foods in Chicago resulted in reclaimed materials being beautifully incorporated into the design of the Engine Room.

A major highlight of the conference was the keynote address by Hilary Clinton. She detailed the partnership of the Clinton Foundation and USGBC, and we were particularly impressed by Clinton's philosophy of "greening democracy." We also applaud her ambitious goal of providing a green building in every community in a generation's time. 

The Conference was also a platform to launch LEED v4, a major stepping stone for our industry. This new version, according to the USGBC, is "one that offers flexibility for all green building projects, with new market sectors and global best practices built-in."  Check out the video below for more details. 

The conference was a great opportunity to fortify us for the year ahead. Immersing ourselves in the sea of inspiring mentors, innovative colleagues and brilliant change makers pushes us to continually strive for excellence. It's not always easy trying to change the route of design, construction, demolition and deconstruction into a more sustainable pathway. But after this week, we know we're headed in the right direction.

Bon Jovi just rocking it. 

Gobble Up These Thanksgiving Reuse DIYs


November 21, 2013
For me, Thanksgiving is a time to sit back and reflect on how lucky I am for a plethora of blessings, everything from the ordinary (that girl at the cafe gave me an extra cookie!) to the huge (job, house, family). Celebrating the changing season with a big meal surrounded by loved ones puts me in a permanent good mood (and a prolonged food coma), and in the weeks leading up to the big day, you'll find me crafting holiday decorations.

Below I've rounded up several awesome DIY projects that reuse, repurpose and upcycle everyday materials into terribly terrific Turkey Day treats. Because, for us at PlanetReuse, being thankful means using what you've got and stopping to appreciate all the little things along the way.

Gobble Gobble!

wine bottles + paint = a DIY we're thankful for!

Reclaimed wood makes for a great FALL sign

Be ready to rake in the compliments with this DIY project

Repurposed burlap is used to make a cozy, autumnal pillow

This sweet sign is made from upcycled art & chalkboard paint

Put everyone in their place with these wine cork namecards.

These turkey decorations are made with acorns and feathers and are adorable!

Need a pie server? This one is made with a wine glass and a plate. Genius!

A log and candles combine to make a rustic centerpiece

Set sail for Holiday style with this charming namecard DIY
Want even more great DIY ideas? Get on over to Pinterest and follow us! 

Top 5 reasons to attend GreenBuild 2013


November 15, 2013

That’s right, it’s officially time for GreenBuild! Need a little convincing of how great the conference is? We've rounded up 5 reasons not to miss this event. 
FIVE: All of your (environmentally friendly) friends will be there. 
November 20-22 will find Philadelphia, PA teeming with passionate people concerned with the future of sustainable building. As one of our favorite events of the year,  it's a chance to gather like-minded designers, builders, suppliers and other eco enthusiasts. The largest conference of its kind, GreenBuild aims to act as a catalyst for sustainable innovation with industry showcases, networking events and educational speakers.  

FOUR: The opportunity to attend the interactive session led by Anne Nicklin, Elise Zelechowski, Michael Ross and David Walsh.

The title of the program is "The Reincarnation of Building Materials" and the discussion will center on providing opportunities to reuse materials in creative and conscientious new ways. If you're at GreenBuild, do yourself a favor catch this session on November 21st at 3:30 in room 122, 100 level. You won't be disappointed.

And if you have a quick 60 seconds to spare, let BMRA know what will be on your mind at GreenBuild.  

THREE: See how natural disasters have created a unique opportunity for building material reuse.

Our own Nathan Benjamin, along with Jeremy Knoll of BNIM and Ryan Evans of Henderson Engineers will lead a panel centered on the importance of rescuing, salvaging and repurposing materials in the face of natural disaster. You'll be amazed by the stories of triumph over tragedy and the innovative ways people have found to sustainably rebuild after the storm. Come check it out on November 21st at 8 a.m. in room 118A, 100 level. 

TWO: Hillary Clinton is giving the keynote address.

Hear what is sure to be an interesting, inspiring and educational speech by the former First Lady and Secretary of State.

ONE: Bon Jovi will be there. Enough said.

Nike Steps Up To the Plate


November 12, 2013
It's hard to not be discouraged by the amount of waste that goes into making the stuff we buy, wear, use and eventually get rid of.

Lately though, one company is giving us reason to be hopeful for the future.

When you think of Nike, that iconic swoosh probably comes to mind. Or one of their legions of sponsored athletes, Michael Jordan, LeBron James, etc., telling you to Just Do It. Or shoes outfitted with the latest athletic technology, promising to help you run farther, jump higher and play harder. The most popular brand in the sports world is known for many things. But as one of the largest retailers of athletics shoes, gear and equipment, sustainability hasn't always been one of them.

That's why we were so excited to learn Nike is now turning its eye towards a more closed-loop approach to business. Their Considered Design philosophy looks for ways to reduce waste and limit environmental impact through the manufacturing process. The Reuse A Shoe campaign aims to recycle shoes into sports surfaces like basketball courts and running tracks. Their company-wide strides toward lowered impacts on water, labor and waste can be tracked through their site.

Their push to make their built environments more eco-friendly has accelerated in recent years, and they consistently incorporate reclaimed and reused materials into their office buildings, warehouses and storefronts. Their latest move to build a retail space in China completely out of repurposed trash was covered in this great piece by Earth 911.

Oh yeah, and they're still making super rad shoes. Keep it up, Nike.

Write on: A delightful DIY desk roundup


November 07, 2013
A good desk can make all the difference. It's a catalyst for creativity, a push towards productivity, a gentle nudge in the direction of neatness. We've rounded up a collection of DIY desks that use repurposed or upcycled materials in really beautiful, unexpected ways. These desks aren't just functional (which they are), they're also a surprise in stylish sustainability. 
So grab a couple power tools, carve out a few hours of time and get your build on. Whether you're using to read, write, craft or create, you'll have a piece of furniture that's sure to be on your (very short) list of favorites. 
Pipes give this desk a sturdy, industrial look. 

This funky, functional desk makes use of upcycled organizers. 

This table, made with repurposed machine legs is "sew" cute!

Hairpin legs + reclaimed wood = fantastic

Salvaged corbels make for a very "game of thrones" vibe. I dig it. 

Book lover? Prove it with a geek chic table desk. 

Old doors make the perfect tabletop for a new desk. 

Like the bat cave, but for crafters. This hidden desk is so awesome. 

Book cases do double duty in this smart desk DIY.

Our nerd hearts are rejoicing over this novel-stacked desk. 

Reclaimed materials give this desk a wonderful, farm feel.
By: Sarah Rendo

Last Minute Halloween DIYs that Reuse, Recycle and Repurpose


October 31, 2013
Happy Halloween! We're so excited to celebrate with trick-or-treating, an afternoon party and lots (we mean LOTS) of tiny candy bars. If, like us, you tend to wait until the very last minute to make those holiday decorations, fear not! We've rounded up a handful of scarily smart Halloween-themed DIYs that aren't only spookily stylish but also reuse items you have around your house!

Recycled glass bottles are the basis of this bloodsucking decor. 

The kids will love this: upcycle TP rolls into fun monsters!
Need a quick costume? Make this Lego Man from 2 cardboard boxes! Awesome! 

This adorable haunted house is made from several repurposed shoeboxes.

Reuse toilet paper rolls as candy holder "poppers"

Show trick-or-treaters the way with tin can luminaries. 

Leftover wood becomes chic halloween decorations.

Who needs pumpkins when you have milk jugs and christmas lights? Love it! 

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