Frequently Asked Questions


Event Background

Who or What is Re_Purposeful?

Re_Purposeful is an event hosted by Non-Toxic Environments to help remove design materials from the waste stream. Design showrooms, product reps and architectural offices see countless materials flow through their spaces each year with no home for the past materials. Often these materials get tossed into the landfill. So, we decided to collect them.

How are materials collected?

Storage PODs are placed around the state at different sponsor locations giving access to anyone with materials, a location to donate. Each drop off location is able to set their own availability for dropping off these materials.

What happens to the materials once they have been collected?

The Re_Purposeful event is held each year the weekend before Labor Day weekend. We started at The Green Design Center but are excited to announce that we will be holding it at the Waukesha Expo Center beginning summer 2017!

Teachers, non-profits, crafters and homeowners are invited to collect as much of the material as they would like at no charge. We will always accept monetary donations to be put towards future events!

What are the donated materials used for?

The donated materials can be used for whatever your imagination can come up with. Crafters have created everything from earrings to clocks. Homeowners have used tile to refinish a bathroom or foyer. Teachers and daycares of used the materials in place of other art supplies or used them to work on fine motor skills. We can’t wait to see what you create with the materials! (No, really we can’t wait. Send images of your creations and your story to [email protected])

How much material has been collected so far?

The event started in 2014 and has progressively grown, totaling over 128,000 pounds.

2014 – 11,000 pounds
2015 – 28,000 pounds
2016 – 50,000 pounds
2017 – 39,000 pounds

What happens to any materials left over?

Any materials left over will be stored for next year. We have also partnered with larger events and non-profits to supply their initiatives with materials as well. Do you have an idea of left over materials? Contact [email protected] for more information.


Attending? – Here is what you need to know:

Is there a way to get access to the materials before the actual event?

All of the materials are collected in PODs and then delivered to the event location just a few days in advance. If you would like to volunteer to help unload and sort the materials, you will have access to pull items aside at that time. Please contact [email protected] if you are interested.

What is recommended to wear day-of event?

Depending what type of materials you’re interested in taking home with you – we will have a lot of heavy or sharp materials with a lot of people digging through piles, alongside you.  It’s recommended to wear closed-toe shoes (tennis shoes) and clothes you wouldn’t mind if they got a little dusty or dirty.  Materials tend to sit in warehouses before they are shipped to the event.

*If you’re looking for tile or wood pieces it would be a good idea to bring work gloves.

What can I expect when attending this event?

Before we let you “rummage” through the materials, we will ask you to sign your name agreeing that you read the liability waiver.  This waiver is to let you know ahead of time that there will be heavy and sometimes sharp materials we are giving away, so please use caution.  Large tile samples might break when you are looking through the piles, so be aware of sharp edges.  Also, sometimes materials end up in unconventional places, and accidents might happen – please be aware of heavy materials, as we would hate to see a tile fall on your feet.  This is why we HIGHLY RECOMMEND wearing closed-toe shoes or boots to the event!

Aside from tile to dig through, there will also be endless amounts of fabric/vinyl samples and wall covering samples.  The samples are typically in large boxes and we let you dig until your heart’s content.  Larger carpet samples will be stacked in piles, too.  It would be wise to bring a pair of work gloves, in case you are interested in the sample at the bottom of the pile.  After a few hours of digging and rummaging through the design materials, your hands may become fatigued.

How early can I arrive?

In years past, we have had many eager event attendees arrive almost an hour before the event starts to get their spot in line, on the first day.  When this happens, we aim to complete the sign-in/waiver process as people arrive, so everyone in line is ready start the event right on time.

Stay tuned for Early Bird Access in 2018!

How do I transport my materials home with me?

Sturdy boxes, bins or totes would be best for larger and heavier items such as tile, stone, glass or wood.  If you are after a lot of fabric samples, reusable bags or smaller bins would be ideal for transporting fabric samples.

What kinds of materials can I expect to find?

Each year is different from the last, so no material is guaranteed to be available for the event.  Typically, there are endless amount of: fabric or vinyl samples, fabric books, wall covering samples, carpet sample books, carpet sample squares, larger tiles, and more!

How much stuff am I allowed to take home, or to my organization?

We do not limit the amount of materials anyone is allowed to take home with them.  We have even seen some people come back for a second haul.  All of the donated materials are given away for free.  We love seeing these materials being put to good use.  If it weren’t for Re_Purposeful, these materials’ final resting place would be a landfill after the design business is done with it.

What are other ways I can help support the event?
Re_Purposeful would not be possible without all of the many volunteers from both within and outside the design community. We have both monetary and volunteer time opportunities for those looking to get involved. Please see the ‘Get Involved’ tab of our website for more information.


Looking to Donate Material – Here is what you need to know:

What materials can be donated?

Those leftover, un-used or discontinued items in your resource library. If they are current, please try to get your product rep to take them. Sometimes however, there is a lower carbon footprint to drop those samples off at your nearest donation location, instead of shipping them across the country again.

Donations can include, but are not limited to the following:

Carpet samples or carpet tiles
Fabric samples and books
Glass samples*
Tile samples*
Stone samples*
Metal samples*
Wood & bamboo samples
Laminate samples

*Take care when packaging glass, tile, stone and metal samples – a group of volunteers will be moving these around; the less that get broken the better!

Please DO NOT donate: Sweets Catalogs, Code Books, product information – recycle these in your office please. We WILL take carpet books and boards with materials on them. The people using these items are crafty and they can re-use binders and rip materials off boards, etc.

What should we donate the materials in?

If you have access to boxes or large bags (for soft items only), that helps us keep everything organized.

As an A&D participant, can I have my donations picked up?

No. Unfortunately, Re_Purposeful does not own its own trucks. Please contact us if this presents a problem.

Can people other than the A&D participants donate materials to Re_Purposeful?

Yes. Manufacturers or representatives who wish to donate materials are welcome to participate.

What are other ways I can help support the event?
Re_Purposeful would not be possible without all of the many volunteers from both within and outside the design community. We have both monetary and volunteer time opportunities for those looking to get involved. Please see the ‘Get Involved’ tab of our website for more information.