Submitted by: The RE Store

The RE Store announces the launch of the Manufacturing Waste Diversion program this spring. Manufacturing Waste Diversion will join The RE Store’s line-up of award winning building materials reuse services, and is aimed to assist local manufacturers in the diversion of waste from the landfill.

Each year, manufacturers in the United States send 7.6 billion tons of usable material to the landfill — that’s equivalent to throwing all the buildings in Bellingham into the landfill, twice. A recent survey of local manufacturers identified multiple high-value products that are sent to the landfill every day. These include products that can easily be reused, such as pre-fabricated furniture parts, orphaned cabinet pieces, pre-cast stone and concrete products, and dimensional lumber “ends.”

Manufacturing Waste Diversion will be managed by Program Development Manager Tim O’Donnell, previously General Manager for The RE Store. O’Donnell has been with The RE Store for eight years. “The endless creativity of our community continuously inspires me,” says O’Donnell. “Our customers here at The RE Store are natural problem solvers; their inventiveness for these manufacturing by-products is the key to the program’s success. I’m very excited to act as a conduit for our community, connecting items that were perceived as waste with creative minds that can bring them new purpose”

The program was piloted in 2014 with a partnership between The RE Store and Bellingham-based Itek Energy. At that time, Itek was forced to throw away hundreds of sheets of damaged glass that didn’t meet their quality control standards. Today, The RE Store sells the glass to the community for use in outdoor showers, greenhouses and cold frames based on models developed by staff. Since 2014, Itek has saved $35,000 in labor costs and disposal fees, and The RE Store has generated $98,000 in sales for their Community Jobs Training Program.

Today, Manufacturing Waste Diversion supports a growing number of local manufacturers in their efforts to reduce their environmental impact. After initial contact with manufacturers, O’Donnell performs a waste assessment to identify materials that are well suited for reuse. Materials are sold through The RE Store to community members at steeply discounted rates. Manufacturers are eligible for a tax receipt to further offset disposal and labor costs.

Manufacturing Waste Diversion is supported in part through a $100,000 three-year grant awarded by the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust of Vancouver, WA. The grant will enable The RE Store to support local manufacturers in sustainably managing their by-product. Since January, we have diverted over 80,000 pounds, representing $57,000 in value.

“The RE Store is very grateful to have Tim working in this capacity,” says Kurt Gisclair, The RE Store Director. “He brings many years of expertise in managing and operating re-use businesses. As past General Manager of The RE Store, his knowledge of materials and understanding of our customers’ needs makes him an ideal person to be focusing on our new waste diversion efforts.”

Darin McQuesten, previously Store Manager has been promoted to General Manager of The RE Store. McQuesten has over six years of experience managing dynamic retail settings. He is a huge proponent of the DIY movement and is very excited to help customers use salvaged materials in their home improvement projects.

For more information visit re-store.org/manufacturing-waste-diversion.

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