Back in the early 2000’s, I created a policy here at Green Design Center that all old product samples such as flooring or fabrics, get saved for the local interior design schools, for the students to use on their school projects. Not only did this help them out tremendously, but it also gave us a way to keep these materials from entering our waste stream. It was a small gesture, of course. We really didnt create much waste ourselves, but the students really appreciated having these materials available for them.
Four years ago, this small idea blossomed into an event…a movement, if you will. No longer was it a few boxes of our old showroom samples. No longer was it just Green Design Center doing their part. With the help of trade associations like USGBC-WI, ASID-WI, along with several hard working volunteers, RE_Purposeful became an annual event that folks around the great state of Wisconsin looked forward to.
In the past four years, RE_Purposeful has been responsible for collecting almost 130,000 pounds of viable materials such as fabrics, carpet squares, tiles and flooring, and repurposing over 98% of that material. People turned these unwanted, discarded samples into beautiful crafts, household projects and pieces of art. For this, I cannot express the how grateful I am to everyone who has made this event possible over the years.
Here in April of 2018, I have had to make a decision that saddens me deeply, but needs to be executed. RE_Purposeful for this year…and maybe beyond…is cancelled.
Why? Well, Its certainly not because of a lack of available materials. Hundreds of interior design studios, manufacturers and individuals around the country, have flooded our collection points over the years with endless supply. I see no reduction of that at any point soon. Its actually because of the operational expense of the event. The cost to collect, handle, and store the materials throughout the entire year, along with the logistical expenses of transportation and handling, have made this wonderful event collapse from its own weight.
Yes, we’ve had some wonderful sponsors of RE_Purposeful over the past few years, but 90% of the funding for this massive event was still coming from myself and the Green Design Center. Unfortunately, I just cannot carry the burden any longer.
We pray that somebody or some organization reaches out and offers to grab the torch and carry it for the next leg of this journey, as RE_Purposeful is loved by many and NEEDED in our industry.
On behalf of the RE_Purposeful family…Callie Rutherford, Kelsey Holtz, Kylie Osborne and myself, THANK YOU for making this event a success. THANK YOU for your support. We hope to see you all again in the future!
President of Green Design Center and founder of RE_Purposeful