Newly elected and reelected board members talk about reuse.

Dec 11, 2017 Posted by: admin Comments

We’re excited to welcome three new board members to the ReUSE Minnesota team! We asked

them, along with our two reelected board members, a few questions about reuse, including the

daily challenges they face. What makes YOU passionate about reducing waste?

1. Steve Jameson, Bridging

Steve joined bridging in 2006, and after a brief hiatus, rejoined in 2014. He has more

than 25 years of experience in retail management and financial services, and specializes

in team building and employee training. He’s been involved in many aspects of the

operational side of reuse, including client deliveries. At Bridging, Steve is responsible for

the overall efficiency and effectiveness of internal operations, and for building

relationships with partners to procure product donations.

ReUSE MN: What’s challenging about creating a reuse economy/community? How do

you confront those challenges?

Jameson: “From the perspective of a furniture bank that is trying to get people to donate

things that are still in good condition and appropriate for our clients, the biggest question

we get is “what are we supposed to do with the items that Bridging is unable to take?”

Whether it is donating items or recycling/reusing, we are a society that has convenience

ingrained into our DNA. If someone can’t find a home for unwanted items easily, they

will more than likely throw them away.

At Bridging, we have developed a piece of literature that helps people find a home for

their unwanted items. If an item is in good condition but is just inappropriate for our

clients, we provide a “Donor Resource List” to anyone that is interested. This is a piece

that we put together that lists other non-profit organizations that accept all sorts of

different items. We provide phone numbers and websites and what each organization

takes, by category. We also provide information on a couple of recyclers for common

items such as mattresses or electronics. We update this once to twice per year and

make sure people know to contact the organization directly since accepted items will

change periodically”

2. Chris Bollman, Duluth Technology Company

Chris is the found of Duluth Technology Company, a repair business specializing in Apple

products, and salvaging and rental services. They also offer classes and individual lessons in

Mac computers, iPads, and iPhones, at their office and through Duluth Community Education.

He’s passionate about keeping tech waste, in particular, out of the waste stream.

3. Allison Sawyer, Minnesota Waste Wise Foundation

For the last two years, Allison has worked as a sustainability specialist with the Minnesota

Waste Wise Foundation, a nonprofit affiliate of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce. They

provide energy and waste related consulting services to Minnesota businesses. Allison has also

served as a Minnesota GreenCorps member, where she spent two years at St. Louis County

Environmental Services. She holds a bachelor of Environment Studies in Geography &

Environmental Management with a focus on International Development.

ReUSE MN: What does reuse mean to you?

Sawyer: “To me, reuse is all about encouraging consumption habits that go beyond just

recycling. Recycling is great, but still relies on the disposal of items to be re-processed. When

that step is eliminated altogether, not only do we use fewer natural resources, but we create an

economic cycle in which consumers are more mindful and intentional about the things they own

or use.”

Our terrific returning board members also weighed in:

4. Todd Tanner, University of Minnesota ReUse Program

Todd is the ReUse program coordinator at the University of Minnesota, which salvages

discarded materials from across campus to be repurposed, preventing them from ending up in

landfills and incinerators. He has also worked as a US Army Reserve Noncommissioned Officer

in charge of communications for the 13th PSYOPS battalion, as well as for the Met Council.

Todd is the current president of ReUSE Minnesota!

ReUSE MN: What does reuse mean to you?

Tanner: “ReUse means being conscientious about how I practice consumption. Before I

purchase something I ask myself, do I really need this? If the answer is yes, then I ask if I can

borrow or rent the item next. If that isn't an option, or it's something I will use regularly, so renting or borrowing isn't appropriate, I consider where I could get the item used instead of new.

Reuse means not submitting to the consumption model we are accustomed to and have been

trained to practice. It means considering how to live life with less and only having what is really


5. Neal Lewis, Minnesota Computers for Schools

Neal has served as the Director of Operations for Minnesota Computers for Schools since

January of 2012. During his time there he has been responsible for regulating environmental certifications to protect employees, the community, and our environment. As an R2 (a safety

standard for the electronics refurbishing and recycling industry) recycler, his first goal is to reuse

products whenever possible. He also volunteers on the Seri R2 Technical Advisory Committee

(TAC), helping make routine revisions to the R2 standard.

ReUSE MN: What diverse reuse experience do you bring to the board?

Lewis: “Throughout my life I have helped people keep the products they have running and

functional. I have worked in the automotive repair and auto-body field, repaired appliances and

furnaces, and have been in the computer service industry for over 30 years. Both professionally

and personally I have had a reuse focus all my life.”