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Reclaim the holidays

Reclaim the holidays

Customers at ReClaim It! and Community Warehouse Estate Store told us why they choose to give gently used gifts during the holidays and all year round.

Find more ideas to create memories in your life in our resourceful #holiday series. 

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Sam

“There are so many stories to be told through other people’s items. To re-gift them to another human creates the next chapter in the story.”

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Kyle

“I look for raw materials like reclaimed old-growth wood to make a memorable gift for family or friends.”

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Ann Marie

“I celebrate people in my life by giving experiences, homemade gifts and sharing my time.”

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Riah

“I love to create and repurpose with old items and give them a second life. This is also my favorite way to gift those who are special to me.”

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CK

“The chances of finding something unique are so much greater at resale places and I usually discover special things that remind me of someone I care about.”

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Lloyd

“I take friends out on adventures, make them mix tapes, or really anything I think would make them feel loved and appreciated.”

The Buyerarchy of Needs

The Buyerarchy of Needs

Are you already overwhelmed with stressful holiday errands and overspending? Worried about getting buried in all the packaging?

Consider a new low-waste way to approach the holidays this year that might save you some money and bring you a little more joy. The Buyerarchy of Needs is a visual guide to remind you of your other options besides buying something new.

As you look over your holiday lists, take a creative moment and ask yourself:

Is there something I already have I could use in a new way? Could I borrow or swap to get what I need? Maybe a thrift or resale shop has it? Can I make it?

Intrigued? Resourceful PDX is your local resource for tips and ideas to make simple changes in everyday choices. In fact, the Resourceful PDX map includes community-based organizations that help residents reuse, swap, repair and share such items as tools, building or art supplies, household goods or other materials rather than throwing away or buying new.

Resolve to be a thoughtful consumer in the new year to save money and resources. Explore the website for more ideas and tips in our resourceful #holiday series. 

Learn how The Buyerarchy of Needs came to be by designer and illustrator, Sarah Lazarovic.

The Proof is in the Repair

The Proof is in the Repair

Rain Delisle from Indigo Proof gets her hands dirty with denim repair.

Rain sees herself as a repair crafts-person. She wants to help people wear their loved things longer. Her specialty: denim. If you thought your favorite jeans that got holes in the seat are goners, she’s here to prove you wrong and get them back on your legs.

After receiving her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Boston, she moved to San Francisco and worked as a contractor for three years in the fashion industry repairing denim. With much trial and error, she developed her unique style and technique of repairing jeans - and it quickly became in high demand.

She began posting her work on a blog called Indigo Proof, a name she used to describe the blue hands she gets working with indigo and denim - the “proof” on her hands at the end of the day.

In December 2015, Rain moved to Portland to launch her own denim repair company, Indigo Proof Denim Repair. Portland was a natural fit for her business, knowing Portland residents are into a lot of unique things, especially repair as a philosophy.

I love to sew and get my hands dirty. I was interested in creating a niche for repair work I hadn’t seen in the market - a quality repair that lasts and gets better over time. Each pair of ripped jeans is a different problem to be solved and it can be difficult at times to find the answer, but that’s the fun of it!

Not just about Levi’s

Indigo Proof is in East Creative, an artist and creative space in Portland’s Central Eastside. There she has a steady stream of clients who have discovered her mostly through social media, who arrive with their torn jeans and a glimmer of hope that their long gone favorite pair can be able to be worn again. Her Instagram features a hashtag where clients can post and tag her in their wear photos - “jeans that have been repaired are a part of someone’s life, not just another pair of pants.” Depending on the severity of the damage, repairs can take anywhere from one hour to multiple full days of work.

“Raw denim starts as a blank canvas; each wearer creates their own unique fades depending on what they do in their jeans- like a fingerprint. No two pairs of the exact same jean will look the same on two different people- someone could keep a knife or phone in their front pocket creating faded outlines of their daily carry, the other could be a photographer and kneel on their right knee a little more causing accelerated fading in the knees. These little things determine how your jeans look over time.”

People “work on” their denim, meaning they wear in their jeans. Some of those people ship her their jeans from all over the world; New Zealand, Bahrain, Norway and the UK. These denim fanatics are lovingly referred to as “denim heads” and they even compete in global contests for fading a pair of jeans!

“Once they get to this worn-in and broken-in state, all that use can create thinning areas and rips- this is not the time to toss them after you’ve put in all that wear, they’re just starting to get good! I want to help people wear their jeans longer, so they can enjoy their old jeans as if they were new again.”

Get your jeans fixed

Contact Rain for repair rates, which are based on a full evaluation of what the jeans need to be restored. This year, she expanded her business to include denim alterations like tapering and tailoring, so Indigo Proof can be your destination for all denim services. She plans on growing even more this next year!

How to shop the bulk aisle and reduce food packaging waste

How to shop the bulk aisle and reduce food packaging waste

We all eat, so grocery shopping is a task we have to do. There are alternatives to help you avoid the clutter created by food packaging, while still getting food you love and need (or want!).

Plastics, paper, metal and glass require natural resources and energy to manufacture into packaging, even if they are made from recycled materials. Think upstream and consider ways to get what you need for yourself and your family by choosing durable options over disposable ones.

Buy in bulk and bring your own containers. Stores like Fred Meyer, New Seasons, Sheridan’s, Whole Foods and Winco make it easy to buy grains, beans, coffee, cereals and snacks using your own bags and containers. By not taking a new bag at the bulk or produce area, your household can save 500 bags a year!

Try these five easy steps for a waste-free visit to the bulk aisle:

  1. Make a grocery list. Include the exact amounts you need (1 cup sugar, ¼ tsp nutmeg).
  2. Inventory your pantry and check off any items or ingredients you already have.
  3. Pack the containers you’ll need for each of the items on your list. Bring empty spice jars for bulk spices, or larger glass jars for coffee or olive oil. Reusable plastic containers (such as deli or yogurt tubs, or other food-grade plastic containers) work well for dry goods because they are easy to transport.
  4. When you first get to the bulk aisle, weigh your containers. Write the weight and the word “tare” on each container. Cashiers are required to remove this weight from the total they charge you. If your store doesn’t have a scale in the bulk area, you can ask a cashier to weigh containers before you fill them.
  5. Write the PLU (price look-up) number and the name of the food on the side of each container (which is necessary if you have multiple containers that look similar in your pantry).

And remember to bring your bag! Pack your durable containers in reusable bags to take to the store. Bonus: many grocery stores offer a refund if you bring your own bag. 

Oregon takes steps toward more reuse

Cindy Correll, Reuse Alliance Oregon chair and Resourceful PDX partner, shares an update on reuse and repair in Oregon.

Reuse Alliance has a vision of making reuse a mainstream part of people’s lives and as common as recycling currently is in our culture.

The Oregon Legislature recently passed two new laws that involve reuse and repair. Senate Bill 245 and Senate Bill 263 set goals and make funding available to develop programs to increase the practice of reuse and repair.

This creates exciting opportunities to increase the public’s awareness of and participation in the practice of reuse and repair.

The new laws support implementation of Materials Management in Oregon: 2050 Vision and Framework for Action. While earlier versions of this plan focused mostly on recycling efforts and managing waste, the 2050 plan addresses the full life cycle of materials (from raw materials, to manufacturing, purchasing and use, to disposal). It establishes a foundation for our state to use fewer raw materials and to get the most out of the resources we do consume. Reuse and repair play a big role in maximizing the useful life of the manufactured goods that are part of our daily lives.

Highlights from SB 263 addressing reuse and repair include:

  • Waste prevention and reuse education programs in elementary and secondary schools.
  • Funding or infrastructure support to promote and sustain reuse, repair, leasing or sharing efforts.
  • Technical assistance to promote and sustain reuse, repair or leasing of materials or other sharing efforts to reduce waste.

SB 245 will make grants available to government agencies, nonprofits and businesses that want to implement programs in support of the reuse and repair goals outlined in Oregon’s 2050 plan.

With grant funds becoming available early next year, it will take some time before we begin to see results from this important new legislation. Over the next few years, expect to see new, innovative programs that give you more options for reusing and repairing your belongings.

Resourceful PDX gives Portland residents tools and ideas for reducing waste

Get involved with reuse and repair now by tapping into what exists in the community already. Explore Portland’s many second-hand stores to find new-to-you clothing, furniture, electronics, household or craft items and salvage building materials.

If you’re a do-it-yourselfer, how-to classes and online tutorials can help you improve your sewing, bike or home repair skills quickly. There are also community resources, such as Repair PDX and local repair shops, that can fix anything from clothing and shoes, to furniture, tools, electronics, appliances and more.

As you’re repairing, reusing, borrowing and sharing, remember that you’re blazing the trail for others to follow. Keep up the good work!