There are simple ways for us to reuse; using canvas grocery bags, bringing a coffee mug to work or purchasing rechargeable batteries. But how can businesses join the reuse movement? Thanks to the Austin Materials Marketplace, businesses and nonprofits all over the City are connecting to exchange and reuse surplus materials that would otherwise be sent to local landfills.
In our new series, AMM Success Stories, we’ll be taking a look at some of the program’s most impactful and dynamic exchanges. Learn more and get inspired by local businesses who are taking an active role in helping achieving our Zero Waste goal!
It all started with buttons. JOSCO Products had them and Austin Creative Reuse wanted them.
After connecting at a 2015 meetup held by Austin Materials Marketplace, Carole LeClair, Board President with Austin Creative Reuse, and Colleen Halbrook, President and CEO of JOSCO Products, discovered this need and the gears started turning. A partnership was born!
But first, a little back story on Austin Creative Reuse and JOSCO Products.
Austin Creative Reuse (ACR) is a nonprofit that collects and sells donated craft materials. Their goal is to give unwanted materials a new life through crafting and upcycling. ACR is a volunteer-run organization that seeks to “foster conservation and reuse through creativity, education and community building.”
JOSCO Products is a local textile recycler and industrial manufacture passionate about reuse. Founded in 1980, JOSCO creates upcycled industrial cleaning products out of surplus textiles such as clothing, sheets and fabric. Much of the textiles they receive are old uniform shirts used by various City of Austin departments.
Flash forward— JOSCO Products is supplying Austin Creative Reuse with both buttons and workman’s patches removed from shirts before they’re turned into Eco-Rags. As you can imagine, buttons are in high demand at Austin Creative Reuse. From collages to jewelry to mosaics, crafters visit the center to pick up buttons for creative projects every day. This transaction has diverted 965 pounds from landfills and generated value for Austin Creative Reuse and its customers!
What could make this partnership even better? After touring JOSCO’s manufacturing facilities, the team at ACR discovered a way they could return the favor.
Because ACR is a donation-based retailer, they receive all sorts of materials. This includes lots of fabric. However, not all of it can be sold in their store. Some fabric is too small, too smelly or too dirty. So the question became: what to do with the unsellable fabric? Because of their existing partnership with Austin Materials Marketplace, the answer was clear. JOSCO would collect unsellable donated fabric and recycle it to make their signature, Eco Rags.
JOSCO has been an eco-minded business for 30 years and was eager to help another local business divert waste from landfills. This exchange is ongoing and has diverted 1,353 pounds from landfills while saving JOSCO a lot of money on materials!
These aren’t the only businesses committed to reducing waste; stay tuned for more Austin Material Marketplace Success Stories for inspiring tales of rescued materials and creative partnerships.