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When used clothing surpasses fast fashion

When used clothing surpasses fast fashion

Alicia Polacok from the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability shares what she learned about sustainable fashion and how to waste less clothing.

The Sustainable Fashion Forum was held in Portland in April, providing an opportunity for those in the fashion industry – and those who may be curious (like me!) to learn more – to have an open dialogue about the social and environmental effects fashion has on our world and what we can do to improve it. 

A panel of experts spoke on a variety of topics from cities around the country. There were plenty of Portland connections too, including panelists, stylists and more.

From learning about fair trade certified clothing and what personal stylists can do for you, to thinking about repurposing and repairing, the day was packed with new ideas, tips and tricks, and professionals who can help if you need more inspiration!

Repair, Repurpose, Reinvent

The world of fashion has an overproduction issue. We have plenty of clothes to choose from, so why not wear what you already own, or shop at thrift stores to add to your wardrobe in new ways. Extending the life of our clothing is key and we can do this by wearing what’s in our closet. Organize by color, category and try new things together. One stylist said if you get compliments, then it is working! Confidence is key.

Here’s an idea from a stylist that I am going to try too: Take out 10-15 of your favorite pieces from your closet and put them away for a week. This will force you to wear other stuff you have instead and experiment with different styles.

Another stylist who specializes in buying used clothes at local thrift stores gave this advice: Shop early and often and return to the same places. Once you find some signature pieces, have them altered to fit your body type. Know your body type and measurements, especially when shopping online. Try an item in a new way before getting rid of it, especially if it’s a signature piece. Wear it inside out, backwards, upside down, or experiment and mix-and-match with pieces you already own. Fashion is about breaking the rules with shapes, colors and textures.

A collective path to sustainability

The forum also shared what happens to clothes that make their way to donation centers that can’t use them. Not surprisingly, a large percentage are sent abroad. It is tough to combat these practices, however there are alternatives.

The Fair Trade Certified campaign, We Wear Fair, informs shoppers who is behind the clothes we buy, supporting livelihoods for factory workers and creating transparency in the fashion industry. Consumers drive change when they shop their values, so get informed on brands that are certified by learning more with the guide to fair trade clothing.

FABSCRAP is trying to do something about reusable fabric. Sorting is a difficult but important part of the process by separating out the types of materials that are recyclable. Fabrics that can be recycled are cotton, polyester and wool. Mixed materials may end up as “shoddy”, which is a shred material and not recyclable.

FABSCRAP started in response to waste in the fashion industry in New York City, and shows those in the industry that there is financial and environmental value in materials, by offering reuse and recycling options instead.

The Renewal Workshop in Cascade Locks, Oregon, is about waste minimization. They take discarded apparel and textiles and turn them into Renewed Apparel, upcycled materials or recycling feed stock. They provide the apparel industry a circular and sustainable solution and offer customers a way to become zero waste consumers.

There was so much good stuff shared at the event. You can learn more from these related resources:




Reuse, recycle and dispose of unwanted bulky materials at Portland events

Reuse, recycle and dispose of unwanted bulky materials at Portland events

Clean up for spring at Portland Community Collection Events

Portlanders can clean up their garages, basements or other clutter-filled areas and head to one of over 35 Community Collection Events scheduled this spring. Materials accepted at collection events vary, but the sponsoring neighborhood association or community group may offer a combination of bulky waste collection, an onsite reuse section and a litter pickup activity.

A variety of community groups are providing this convenient service for a reasonable donation or fee. Besides bulky items like furniture, mattresses and appliances locations may accept items for recycling and reuse, like scrap metal and household goods.

The City of Portland’s Community Collection Events, also known as Neighborhood Cleanups, offer neighborhood, community and nonprofit organizations funds for proper disposal of bulky household waste that may otherwise be disposed of inappropriately. The events prioritize recycling and reuse over disposal.

These events do not accept the following items: Hazardous waste materials; all construction, remodeling or demolition materials; all kitchen garbage; residential yard debris and trimmings; commercial landscaping; roofing; waste and recyclables collected curbside; and waste not allowed at a regional transfer station. Learn more about asbestos containing materials at the Metro transfer stations.

Your support in protecting community volunteers and transfer station staff from exposure to asbestos and keeping our neighborhoods clean and safe is appreciated.

Interested in reusing and sharing? Many groups and organizations are free and offer Portland-area residents’ simple ways to move useful materials through the community and into the hands of others who need them.

Have bulky items at other times of the year? Your garbage and recycling company can remove large items that are not reusable or recyclable for an extra charge anytime of the year.

Need a list of this year’s events? Contact the Curbside Hotline at 503-823-7202 to find a Community Collection Event near you.

Shwop is your local membership swap shop

Shwop is your local membership swap shop

Shwop is a membership-based swap boutique for the whole family. It is the smart way to shop and swap your unwanted or unused items in your closet, drawers and jewelry boxes. Everyone shops, members swap!

Owner Marci Pelletier is celebrating both the shop’s seventh anniversary and a recent membership drive that reached 1,000 members. Marci is celebrating both highlights on April 20, 2019.

She found the current location in Sellwood in October 2018 after she outgrew a few other places in Portland. The inventory comes from members and takes items for the family, including men’s and kid items too. They don’t care about seasons and if it’s the right time of year (think sweaters in the summer!) like some used clothing stores do. And they aren’t brand or style specific, which also sets them apart from consignment shops.

The website includes a menu of accepted items, including:

  • Clothes – pants, shirts, sweaters

  • Shoes

  • Jewelry

  • Coats, jackets, fleece

  • Exercise attire

  • Belt, scarves, hats

Marci shares shop and volunteer needs through social media and frequent membership communications. There is structure around volunteering for those who have capacity to help and she welcomes volunteers to sort on Mondays, when the store is closed.

She has offered free pop-up stores for schools during conferences and worked with teachers on clothing drives, particularly in outer Southeast Portland. She sees a need to help others who may have fallen on hard times. Twice a year, she hosts free weekends with no questions asked.

She is hosting events, like tie dye and upcycled t-shirt workshops. These are free to members and open to the public for a small fee.

There is recycling, and reuse efforts made for items not sellable or wearable. Some textiles and fabrics find homes through relationships with artists; items like denim, flannel and cashmere that can be upcycled into usable, sellable goods.

Here are several ways to Shwop!

  1. Become a member: Swap to your heart's content.

  2. No-swap shopping: Just stop by and shop.

  3. Donate: Clean your closet of those items you're not wearing, and they'll donate a shopping voucher to others in need.

Curious about this membership-based swap shop? Learn more about Marci from a previous blog post, get your questions answered online or visit the store for yourself!

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.”

Reduce, reuse – and refuse

Reduce, reuse – and refuse

Does your garbage can fill up fast with bulky take-out containers? Rethink how to remove plastics and single-use items at home, work or play.

Americans use 500 million straws in the United States every day! Do your part to reduce single-use items by creating a to-go kit so you’ll have what you need when you need it.

Start a new habit

Change your mindset and start a new habit. Those everyday items you use at home can find another life outside the home – that goes for replacements for napkins, cutlery, coffee and smoothie cups, water bottles, grocery and produce bags - and straws.

Try one new option and begin to be consistent until the habit takes shape. This can take the form of buying in bulk, bringing your own container or giving feedback to companies that use excessive packaging.

Remember to reuse (and reduce disposables)

Make a reusables kit for your car, day bag or bike bag. Include reusable shopping bags, a coffee or travel mug, produce bags, cutlery or small containers for leftovers. After you use something from your kit, replace it when you get home so your kit is always with you and ready for anything.

Having an on-the-go kit is good if you eat out a lot, make frequent stops at the store, or tend to forget your reusables (we all do!).

Choose to refuse unwanted items

If you don’t need the straw, plastic cutlery, napkins or a bag, say so!

Find more ways to ditch plastics at Zero Waste Wisdom. And if you really want to reduce waste, join the Plastic Free July challenge.

Love your stuff

Love your stuff

This Valentine’s Day, fall in love with Portland local resources to find ways to be resourceful and get more out of your stuff.

Borrow your way to more love

Do you love cooking?

Portland has many options for you to borrow kitchen tools to try them without purchasing new items. Expand your kitchen knowledge or take a food workshop at a kitchen share. NorthNortheast and Southeast Portland residents can connect with each other and find a new gadget to love.

Already thinking about giving your garden or home some love?

For those with home, yard or garden projects, locate the tool lending library based on where you live. The Green Lents Community Tool Library in East PortlandNorthNortheast or Southeast all offer residents low-to-no-cost options. Find home improvement project ideas from previous blog posts.

Or are you ready for a little space?

Clear your closet with Swap Positive, your go-to for multiple swap events throughout the year, including those for families. Share clothes and accessories you don’t love so much anymore with folks who might enjoy something different.

Keep what you love

Ready to repurpose a favorite chair or locate a well-loved heirloom?

Explore Portland’s many second-hand stores to find new-to-you clothing, furniture, electronics, household or craft items, salvage building materials and more. 

Do you have favorite items you have loved so much they need a fix?

Repair PDX offers residents free fixes for bikes, small appliances, clothing and more. Monthly repair cafes bring volunteers who love to fix stuff together with those who have broken items that need fixing.  

Find more ideas to create more love and less waste at New Dream. #morelovelesswaste

Reduce and reuse for the holidays

Reduce and reuse for the holidays

Master Recycler volunteer, Bonita Davis, shares tips to reduce and reuse during the holiday season.

The holiday season is a time when we do more of everything, including celebrating and shopping. It can also be a time when a lot of waste is created in the process, but that doesn’t have to happen. This season, we can have some fun focusing on reducing and reusing to save money and go easy on the environment.

Watch Bonita on KATU Afternoon Live, where she shares some of these tips with host Tra’Renee.

Reduce

Choose experiences rather than things because something out of the ordinary may be the perfect gift for someone on your list – and alternative gift ideas are often waste-free. Know what your family and friends like and want – and if someone has a gift registry for a special occasion, use it!

Resourceful PDX partner, Chinook Book, offers coupons through the print edition or mobile app from local businesses and provides gift ideas and savings at your fingertips.

In the long run, durable materials save us money and significantly reduce waste. Items such as plates, utensils, glasses and linens can be new, used, borrowed or rented. Holiday meals may include leftovers. Plan ahead to save containers, like yogurt tubs, or invite guests to bring their own containers to take home extra goodies.

And don’t forget to use your reusable bags and travel mugs when you are taking advantage of holiday festivities and shopping excursions.         

Reuse

Creative reuse is the name of the game during the holidays. Reusing items and buying used materials can be fun and easy on our pocket. Make SCRAP PDX your first stop for cards, tags, bows, ribbon, gift bags and more.

Collect old maps and the Sunday comics to use as gift wrap. Or use a bandanna or kitchen towel for a no-waste gift.

Return, re-gift, or donate items you know you will not use. It is better to keep them in use with a new owner, rather than cluttering up your space with something you’ll never use. Many people need items during this time of year, so consider donating them instead.    

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

           

Aging parents and the stuff their kids don’t want

Aging parents and the stuff their kids don’t want

A recent article in the New York Times about aging parents with an abundance of stuff resonated because Resourceful PDX has thoughtful consumption at its core. It offers tools and ideas for reducing waste, and specifically, how to act and where to find resources. 

The article explains that the volume of unwanted keepsakes and family heirlooms is poised to grow — along with the number of conversations about what to do with them – because of our aging population.

Resourceful PDX is about making simple changes to help you save money, support your community, conserve natural resources and enjoy more time with friends and family.

There are many online groups and local organizations that offer Portland-area residents simple ways to move useful materials through the community and into the hands of others who need them. Here are just a few:

·         Buy Nothing Project

·         Freecycle

·         Nextdoor

·         Paying it Forward Store

·         PDX Free Store

·         Rooster

Check out the Curbsider Blog for more options for sharing your unwanted or unneeded household goods.

Also, Metro has compiled a helpful list of charitable organizations to contact for pick up or drop off of your usable items. These range from local organization like Free Geek and The ARC of Multnomah County to national organizations like Goodwill and Salvation Army.

Read a previous Resourceful PDX post about Community Warehouse, your local furniture bank. Items that are needed the most include linens, kitchen and household goods and furniture. The Estate Store at Community Warehouse offers collectibles and antiques for purchase to help further furnish homes for local families and will gladly accept your donations.

Unusable bulky items
After sorting out all of your reusable items and finding them new homes, your garbage and recycling company can remove large, unusable items for an extra charge. Call your company a week in advance and they will give you a cost estimate. For a reasonable charge, they will pick up appliances, furniture and other big items. For curbside pickup, set bulky items at your curb on the day your garbage and recycling company has agreed to pick them up. 

Large items abandoned in your neighborhood? Contact the Metro Regional Illegal Dumping (RID) Patrol or call 503-234-3000.

 

DIY Bar: Where people come to get their craft on

DIY Bar: Where people come to get their craft on

By Alicia Polacok, Resourceful PDX partner Bureau of Planning and Sustainability

Brothers Adam and Jason Gorske opened DIY Bar in April 2017 as a long-held dream come true. It is a gathering place to work on individual crafts from their project menu while enjoying beer, cider or wine.

I visited on a Friday evening with three friends to get the story of this business from the brothers – and try my hand at a craft.

Coming from a close family, Adam and Jason always thought they would work together in some capacity. When they both found themselves in Portland in 2015, the dream started to take shape into a business. One where their respective skills and interests came into play - reusing, tinkering and mastering a sense of accomplishment.

For DIY Bar, it involved reusing old materials to repurpose into something new and building things based on their home improvement project experiences. Adam explained that salvage materials from the ReBuilding Center and Salvage Works were used to create the facade of the host stand, shelving for project supplies and the inside of the bar.

A place for crafty (and not so crafty) people

The idea for DIY Bar was inspired by paint and sip places, where you can enjoy a beverage while painting with step-by-step instructions and take home something unique.

Adam and Jason have done the work for you to find the projects, gather the tools and materials needed to make beautiful and functional crafts. To maintain consistency, the project materials are new, while the tools are reused by guests.

Adam said, “The future may include collaboration with other organizations and an interest in featuring local artists to do more intensive and in-depth projects.”

The most popular item on the 16-project menu is the rustic nail and string art. There are templates to choose from, or staff will help you create something one-of-a kind. During my visit – my three friends all chose string art projects. Because I put myself in the not-so-crafty category, I was daunted, so chose a leather beer koozie project instead. I love koozies (and beer) so why not try to make my own?!

With detailed step-by-step instructions in hand, and my questions answered by staff, I completed my koozie. There was still time for a drink and to mingle with others in the space. The friendly atmosphere encouraged people to see what others were making and celebrate their finished works of art.

The evening my friends and I were there, the place was full, and it turned out about one-third of the customers were from out of town. Tourists. Coming to experience a bit of Portland while visiting the city.

Feeling inspired? Check out the DIY Bar frequently asked questions to learn more before booking a space.

 

ReClaim It! offers treasures rescued for creative reuse

ReClaim It! offers treasures rescued for creative reuse

What marries reuse and repair with creativity and a whole bunch of volunteers? ReClaim It! The nonprofit arts and reuse retail store salvages materials from the "dump" for artists, neighbors and Do-It-Yourselfers. 

The goal of ReClaim It! is to reduce the number of items that end their journey at the landfill while raising awareness about creative reuse. They do this in partnership with Recology, a resource recovery company, and the Metro Central Transfer Station, where they gather perfectly good materials like wood, metal and vintage items.

According to Volunteer Coordinator Kelly Caldwell, “ReClaim It! relies on our capable volunteers from the community to prepare found items for reuse, repair and reimagination. We glean roughly 2,000 pounds of materials every week.”

Volunteers are trained to collect items that can be reused in the home and garden or for creative purposes. With a goal of going through one ton of materials every week and the store open five days a week, ReClaim It! has plenty of activities where community support is welcome.

Tasks include:

·         Gleaning items from the waste transfer station

·         Making price tags and in-shop signage

·         Participating in social media outreach

·         Repairing found items

·         Brainstorming project ideas with customers

·         Cashiering in the shop

·         Cleaning newly gleaned items

·         Creating engaging in-shop displays

Many of the items recovered from the transfer station only need a little T.L.C. to reenter the home or garden. Volunteers clean and repair items in the store in an effort to save those pieces for future use.

Their customers are often residents who live in the neighborhood, with many who are DIYers.

ReClaim It! is a project of Crackedpots, a volunteer-driven nonprofit devoted to waste reduction in our community. Volunteers get started with a one-hour orientation and have flexible schedule options in a fun and creative environment. Contact Kelly at 503-432-7712 or volunteer@reclaimitpdx.org to learn more.

Find ReClaim It! under Resale Shop on the Resourceful PDX map. The store is open Wednesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.  Or come check it out during one of the monthly Walk Williams events.